Amazon, Cazoo, Channel 4: Everything that matters this morning

Good morning and welcome to Marketing Week’s round-up of the news that matters in the marketing world today.

Ad revenues jump at Amazon as machine learning pays off

Advertising revenue at Amazon rose by 23% during the first three months of 2023 compared to the same period last year, according to first quarter results from the brand.

“Our advertising business continues to deliver robust growth, largely due to our ongoing machine learning investments that help customers see relevant information when they engage with us, which in turn delivers unusually strong results for brands,” claims Amazon CEO Andy Jassy.

Strong sales of Amazon’s cloud services, along with a series of cost-cutting measures, combined with its growing ad revenue gave it an operating income of $4.8bn (£3.85nm) in the three months to the end of March. 

The figures were better than had been expected by financial analysts, suggesting Amazon’s reduced headcount is having the desired impact. The number of people working at Amazon has been cut by 10% since March 2022.

Cazoo chief customer officer departs

Darren Bentley Cazoo Chief Customer Officer 2Cazoo chief customer officer Darren Bentley is leaving the used car retailer. He has not yet confirmed his next move.

I could not be more proud of what the Cazoo team have achieved over the past four years: 130,000 happy customers, 80% national brand awareness, a five-star customer experience and over £1.2bn in annual revenues – all from a standing start in 2019,” Bentley said of his departure.

“It’s been a genuine roller coaster with some extreme highs and lows, but it’s been a huge privilege to have been able to lead in this business from day one. I’d do it all again in a heartbeat.”

The brand published its trading figures for the first quarter of 2023 yesterday. CEO Paul Whitehead said site closures and job cuts announced in January, in a bid to ‘right-size’ its workforce, had helped the brand to improve its unit economics.

Cazoo reported revenues of £247m for the quarter, selling 13,314 cars.

Channel 4 and Spotify join forces to recommend shows based on music

Channel 4 has launched a UK-exclusive campaign on streaming service Spotify in a bid to boost digital viewing among younger audiences. 

Called Streamland, the in-app campaign will provide Spotify users with five personalised recommendations of shows they might enjoy based on their music taste and listening habits. The listeners will also be able to listen to audio voice notes from broadcaster Nick Grimshaw and emerging artists including Miraa May and Mae Stephens, and access promotional content and personalised playlists based on their recommended shows.

Steamland is part of Channel’s 4’s shift to adopt one identity across all channels, dropping the All 4 name previously used for its streaming services. It uses a range of Spotify’s ad formats and will be available to listeners for an initial period of six months.

“Channel 4 Steamland will help new audiences to discover more of Channel 4’s extensive streaming library of new and archive shows, connecting them with content they didn’t know they’d love through the music they already do,” says Channel 4 marketing director Amber Kirby.

“Both Channel 4 and Spotify have a rich history of using innovation and technology to find exciting ways to do things, so it’s fitting that we’ve collaborated to create a unique discovery exclusive to the UK.”

Made by Dyslexia calls for workplace change

Global charity Made by Dyslexia has worked with Virgin, and its founder Sir Richard Branson, to launch a campaign that calls on companies to commit to empowering Dyslexic Thinking in the workplace.

The guerrilla-style campaign, DyslexAI, highlights how Dyslexic Thinking can innovate in ways that even the latest AI technology cannot.

It sees various AI tools challenged to think like famous creatives with dyslexia – with very mixed results. Branson – who has described his dyslexia as a superpower – acknowledges that AI advice on how to scale a record business is accurate and insightful, but maintains that his more intuitive strategy of extending the Virgin brand could not have been created by AI.

“AI is already transforming the way we work, live and interact. Used in the right way, AI is the perfect co-pilot for people with Dyslexic Thinking skills to move the world forward. But technology can’t replicate the spontaneous, human, creative instinct that can lead to incredible innovation” says Branson. “Dyslexics have the limitless power to change the world if everyone embraces their dyslexic minds.”

The charity is also encouraging companies to enrol on a workplace training course, free to access, that will launch later this year on LinkedIn Learning. It will help companies understand, support and empower Dyslexic Thinking.

“Research has been telling us that Dyslexic Thinking skills will be vital for future workplaces, and with the rapid advancement and adoption of AI, that future has arrived. Because while technology and AI has evolved to take over many skills, they can’t replace sought-after soft skills like innovation, lateral thinking, complex problem solving and interpersonal skills, which are Dyslexic Thinking skills,” says Made by Dyslexia CEO and founder Kate Griggs.

Mastercard says consumer spending remains resilient

Mastercard saw net revenues of $5.7bn (£4.57bn) in the first three months of the year, an 11% increase on the same period last year. 

“We delivered strong revenue and earnings growth this quarter, reflecting resilient consumer spending and the continued recovery of cross-border travel,” says Mastercard CEO Michael Miebach.

“We are actively managing the business to capitalise on the significant digital payment and services opportunities ahead, and stand ready to navigate through any headwinds. We are making sure people and businesses can use their Mastercard when and where they want, now surpassing 100 million acceptance locations worldwide. As we look to the future, I believe our focused strategy, diversified business model, and our relationships around the globe position us very well.”

As well as processing transactions, Mastercard saw increased demand for its data analytics, consulting and marketing services, says Miebach.

Thursday, 27 April

Meta bounces back from slump with Q1 results

Meta has reported an unexpected return to growth after months of decline.

The social media giant, which owns Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, posted first-quarter revenue of $28.10bn (£22.5m) which is up 3% year-on-year.

The company also revealed that more than 3 billion people used one of its apps daily last month, up 5% from this same time in March 2022

News of the growth calmed worried investors, who had seen the company’s gamble on the metaverse looking increasingly costly, as shares in the company grew more than 10% in after-hours trading.

There was also a growth in ad impressions (26%) across its range of apps though the average price continued to fall by 17%.

It’s positive news for the tech giant which has dubbed 2023 its “year of efficiency” and will cut 10,000 more jobs this year after cutting 11,000 in November.

“We had a good quarter and our community continues to grow,” says Mark Zuckerberg, Meta founder and CEO.

“Our AI work is driving good results across our apps and business. We’re also becoming more efficient so we can build better products faster and put ourselves in a stronger position to deliver our long term vision.”

READ MORE: Facebook shows signs of revival after slump

Microsoft brands CMA blocking of Activision deal ‘bad for Britain’

Microsoft senior leader Brad Smith has hit out at UK regulators after it blocked the tech giant’s $68.7bn (£55bn) takeover of US video game publisher Activision Blizzard.

Smith, Microsoft’s vice chair and president, told the BBC the decision was “bad for Britain” but the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) hit back and said its job was “not to serve the interests of merging firms”.

Smith went on to say, “there’s a clear message here that the European Union is a more attractive place to start a business than the United Kingdom” and that business confidence in technology in the UK has “been severely shaken” by the decision.

The deal, which would see Microsoft and its gaming platform Xbox gain the rights to popular video games such as Call of Duty, Candy Crush and World of Warcraft, was blocked on the grounds it would hit innovation and give gamers less choice in the cloud gaming market.

This came as a surprise to many who thought the idea of exclusivity, the ability to keep games from its rivals PlayStation and Nintendo, would be the bigger factor in getting the deal approved.

The CMA has defended its decision saying firms “large and small” can “continue to compete in this rapidly growing market”.

Microsoft and Activision will appeal the decision.

READ MORE: Activision Blizzard deal block is bad for Britain

Lovehoney teases ASA with new campaign

Source: Lovehoney

Sex positive brand Lovehoney has revealed a new OOH campaign encouraging customers to “scream your own name” just a few weeks after falling foul of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for an advert which referenced Prince Harry.

The billboard, which shows a hand gripping some bedsheets and was created in-house by Lovehoney, will be displayed at Westfield Stratford City for a limited time this week in honour of what the brand dubs ‘Masturbation May’ encouraging its customers to show themselves some self-love.

It comes after the ASA banned a recent billboard, which featured an image of a ball gag and the words “Silence is golden, Harry” in reference to the Duke of Sussex’s recent memoir Spare being released, for being displayed in an untargeted medium at London’s Clapham Junction station.

A decision which Lovehoney CEO Johannes Plettenberg described as “another example of the complete censorship of anything remotely sex positive”.

The new billboard, which does not show any Lovehoney product, will only be displayed between the hours of 7pm and midnight in an effort to get around the regulations.

“The widespread censorship of sex positivity means that we need to get creative with our advertisement,” says Friederike Lewin, global head of communications at Lovehoney.

“This time we are respecting the ASA ruling and doing the opposite of what a ball gag does, and asking people to scream their own names.”

Getir confirms store closures after Gorillas purchase

On-demand grocery company Getir has confirmed it has closed down UK stores months after purchasing its rival Gorillas for $1.2bn (£962m).

Getir, which purchased Gorillas in December, said it made the “strategic decision” to ensure the “successful integration” of Gorillas and to “boost the company’s overall strategic advantage”.

In a statement the company said: “As with every acquisition, we are optimising our combined store network with Gorillas, which inevitably leads us to closing down some stores as we become much more efficient.

“Getir’s goal is to make sure that anyone ordering from its app will benefit from the best possible quick commerce experience.”

Getir says it will continue to serve customers in London, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Southampton, Portsmouth and Brighton.

The news comes just weeks after reports the company was set to begin a round of UK redundancies following a 14% global staff reduction last year.

It has been a challenging time for rapid grocery shopping companies with demand waning as the pandemic eased. Where they go next has been a much-debated topic.

UK workers take record number of sick days in 2023

The total number of sick days taken by UK workers rose to a record high last year according to new data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

It reported a total of 185.6 million working days were lost to sickness or injury in 2022, a jump of nearly 25% on 2021 and the highest number since records began.

This means that 2.6% of all working hours were lost due to sickness of injury in 2022.

The vast majority of these sick days were for minor illness and women and older workers were the most likely to take absence.

ONS head of labour market and household statistics David Freeman says: “Sickness absence rose again in 2022, so that the proportion of working hours lost was the highest since 2004.

“This comes after it dropped to its lowest ever rate at the start of the pandemic, when lockdown and furloughing reduced people’s exposure to minor illnesses.”

Wednesday, 26 April


Pret A Manger expands loyalty proposition

Pret A Manger is rebranding and expanding its coffee subscription to form a new loyalty proposition, “Club Pret”, which will cover food as well as drinks sold in-store.

Club Pret subscribers will be able to access 10% off everything sold in Pret shops, as well as the up to five barista-prepared drinks per day currently offered under the coffee subscription scheme.

The rebranded proposition will cost £30 per month, an additional £5 on top of what coffee subscription members are currently paying. The coffee subscription service originally cost £20 per month, before Pret raised the price in March last year. The brand was awarded Marketing Week’s campaign of the year 2022 for its comms on the issue.

Existing coffee subscribers will be automatically enrolled in Club Pret, but will continue to be charged £25 for the first 40 days of the price increase. New subscribers will get the first month of the scheme for half price.

Those who sign up to the scheme in its first week will also have the chance to win one of 100 annual subscriptions, with one winner receiving a lifetime membership.

Pret is investing in its loyalty proposition to drive frequency of transaction. It reports that members of the coffee subscription scheme transact with the brand at an average of 28 times per month, compared to two times per month for non-members.

The coffee subscription service is currently used 1.25 million times per week, up 11% year-on-year, reports the brand.

Google search ads business returns to growth

Google achieved revenues which beat analysts’ expectations in the first three months of the year, boosted by a search ads business which has returned to growth.

Revenues for the company grew 3% in its first quarter of 2023 to $69.8bn (£56.1bn), versus $68bn (£54.7bn) in the same period in 2022.

Revenues for Google’s search business were up 2% versus the previous year at $40.4bn (£32.5bn) in the three months ended 31 March. This follows a period of decline in the final three months of 2022, which was considered a sign of a slowing digital ads business across the board.

Google chief business officer Philipp Schindler told investors on a call yesterday (25 April) that the growth in the search ads business reflected “an increase in the travel and retail verticals, offset partially by a decline in finance as well as in media and entertainment”.

YouTube’s ad revenue declined by 2.6% year-over-year to $6.69bn (£5.58bn). Despite the decline, this figure beat analysts’ expectations and Schindler said the ads’ business was showing “signs of stabilisation”.

The company told investors it sees YouTube as an area for long-term growth in its advertising business, alongside the areas of Google AI and retail.

Elsewhere, Google’s Cloud business was highlighted by CEO Sundar Pichai as a sign of “momentum” in the company, as it made a profit for the first time. Revenue in the Cloud business grew 28% year-on-year to $7.5bn (£6bn).

P&O Ferries expects to return to profitability this year

Source: Shutterstock

P&O Ferries, the shipping company which sacked around 800 of its workers last year, expects it will return to profitability as early as next month.

In a Companies House filing, the Dubai-owned company said it expected it could return to “positive earnings before interest, tax and amortisation generation in April 2023”. The business expects to be buoyed by tourism, as well as recovering freight volumes over the next few years.

The brand health of the business took a nosedive last year, after the abrupt sacking of its workers. overall index score on YouGov’s Brand Index platform – a measure of total brand health using an average of its impression, value, quality, reputation, satisfaction and recommend scores – tumbled by 18 points between 14 to 20 March 2023.

In the filing, the company said it made the sackings out of necessity for the “long-term financial health of the business”, it did acknowledge these were “perceived negatively” but maintained that the public sentiment would “gradually recover”.

It also expressed confidence it would not be fined over the sacking of its workers, describing the possibility as “less than remote”.

The company said it is pushing through “significant price increases” in both its tourist and freight businesses to tackle the impact of inflation.

READ MORE: P&O Ferries expects to head back to profitability this year

Digital ad market grows by double digits in 2022

The digital ad market in the UK grew by 11% last year, despite the impact of economic pressure and strong growth comparators in 2021, find figures from the IAB UK.

The UK digital ad market is now worth £26.1bn. The size of the market has increased by 56% since the pandemic began in 2020. In 2021, the market grew by 41%.

Spend on search ads accounted for over half of the market, with the spend worth £13.1bn last year, up 13% year-on-year. Meanwhile, display investment grew by 6% to £10.4bn, and video grew 9%.

The IAB’s digital ad spend report, produced with PwC, assessed the size of the retail media market in the UK for the first, finding it was worth £176.4m in 2022.

Last year was also the first full year with the impact of Apple’s changes to its identifier for advertisers (IDFA). 2022 saw more growth in desktop ad spend (which grew by 14%) than in mobile (which grew by 8%), for the first time since measurement began in 2008. However, mobile does continue to dominate the market, taking 58% of spending in 2022.

Another growing area for digital ad spend is podcasting, which was up by almost a third (32%) versus 2021. The UK ad spend market for podcasts was £76.3m, an almost threefold increase from when the IAB began measuring it in 2020.

“Not only was 2022 challenging for our industry, as it was for the entire UK economy, it also followed a year of stratospheric, pandemic-induced growth in 2021,” says IAB UK CEO Jon Mew.

“In this context, it’s testament to the resilience of digital advertising that the market has maintained double digit growth in 2022 – and astounding that it has grown by 56% since the pandemic began.”

Reckitt revenues boosted by innovation and price increases

Reckitt RebrandReckitt saw 7.9% like-for-like sales growth in its first quarter of 2023, boosted by price increases as volumes declined.

Total net revenue for the company, which owns brands like Nurofen, Vanish and Durex, was £3.92bn in the quarter. The company saw volumes decline in the period by 4.5%, which it mitigated by price increases. Price mix was 12.4% in the period.

Across Reckitt’s three business units, the hygiene sector saw the most significant volume decline of 10.4%, with products like Dettol seeing fewer sales post-pandemic. Health was the only segment which delivered volume growth in the quarter, seeing a 1.2% increase.

CEO Nicandro Durante highlighted innovation in the quarter, across brands including Air Wick, Finish and Durex. He told investors these are seeing “good early success”.

The company reported it expects to “significantly increase” its brand equity investment (marketing support) in the remainder of the year “to support an exciting innovation programme”.

Durante will leave the role of CEO next month. Today (26 April) he announced his successor Kris Licht, president of the health business unit and global chief customer officer.

Tuesday, 25 April

John Lewis and Waitrose

John Lewis hires first pan-partnership head of loyalty as it preps revamped member offer

The John Lewis Partnership has appointed its first head of loyalty as it looks to deepen relationships with customers across John Lewis and Waitrose.

Emily Wells joins from Tesco where she spent five years, most recently as head of loyalty strategy. She will report into pan-partnership and John Lewis customer director Charlotte Lock.

She will be responsible for developing and launching a new pan-partnership loyalty proposition in 2024, as well as bolstering the existing My Waitrose and My John Lewis loyalty schemes and teams.

As part of this drive to deepen customer relationships, the partnership has also signed a five-year deal with customer insights firm Dunnhumby, the company behind Tesco’s Clubcard, and marketing tech firm Eagle Eye Solutions Group.

The partnership relaunched its My Waitrose and My John Lewis loyalty programmes last year, which now have more than 9 million and 5 million members, respectively.

The partnership says it rewarded My Waitrose members with £100m in personalised money-off rewards last year. Meanwhile, My John Lewis members reportedly shop 2.5 times more frequently than non-members, with growth in the scheme boosted by the introduction of John Lewis Members Week, which it has held a number of times throughout the year.

Lock says the latest developments “show the ambition” the business has to “transform how our much loved brands can deliver a more personalised experience for customers”.

Aldi’s market share hits 10% for the first time

Aldi’s share of the UK grocery market hit 10.1% this month, the first time it has ever made double digits.

The discounter increased sales by 25% over the latest in 12 weeks to 16 April to reach the new landmark. However, rival Lidl just pipped it as the fastest growing supermarket, with its sales rising 25.1%.

It too hit a new record market share of 7.6%, as it inches closer to Morrisons which now has an 8.7% share of the market having increased its sales by just 0.1%.

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar, says: “Consumers are continuing to shop around, visiting at least three major retailers every month on average. The discounters have been big beneficiaries of this, with Aldi going past a 10% market share for the first time this month. That’s up from 5% eight years ago in 2015, so we can see just how competitive the market can be.

“Retailers are really battling it out to show value to shoppers, but if consumers feel their offer isn’t quite right then they’ll go elsewhere.”

The UK’s three largest supermarkets each increased their sales by around 8%, with Asda leading the way on 8.8%, followed by Sainsbury’s (8.7%) and Tesco (8%). Tesco still has the largest share of the market by some way (27%), but there is now less than 1% between Sainsbury’s 14.9% and Asda’s 14% share.

LVMH becomes first half a trillion dollar European firm

Source: Tag Heuer

LVMH, the company behind luxury brands including Louis Vuitton and Tiffany, has become the first European business to reach a $500bn (£400bn) market value.

Shares in the company have rocketed by 30% so far this year, reaching €902.00 (£798.30) on Monday to give it a market capitalisation of €454bn, equal to half a trillion dollars.

It is now one of the world’s top 10 most valuable companies.

The firm, which also owns brands including Christian Dior, Tag Heuer and Moët & Chandon champagne, has had a strong start to the year, seemingly unaffected by the cost of living squeeze.

LVMH reported a 17% boost in first quarter sales earlier this month, more than double analysts’ expectations. Meanwhile, last year it achieved record sales of €79.2bn.

Last week its luxury watch brand Tag Heuer released a five-minute short film starring Hollywood actor Ryan Gosling.

READ MORE: LVMH becomes first European company to reach $500bn valuation

Premier Inn owner hails brand marketing a ‘powerful tool’

Whitbread, the company behind hotel chain Premier Inn, has described marketing as a “powerful tool”, which has helped the business drive bookings, reduce customer acquisition costs and sustain its brand awareness scores.

The group has also integrated pricing into its digital marketing over the past two years as its pricing strategy is now managed centrally, which has helped it maximise revenues.

In the UK, Premier Inn saw total accommodation sales rise by 55% in the year to 2 March 2023 compared to its 2022 financial year, and 37% ahead of 2020, with the business claiming it continues to outperform the UK midscale and economy hotel market at a rate of 25.2pp.

Premier Inn’s UK adjusted profit before tax reached £492m in the year, up from £75m last year, a 556% improvement. It is also a 19% increase on its 2020 financial performance.

Adjusted profit before tax for the group, which also operates Premier Inn in Germany and a host of restaurant chains, was £413m compared to a loss of £16m in its 2022 financial year. Statutory profit before tax was £375m versus £58m after charging £39m of adjusting items.

Dominic Paul, Whitbread CEO, says: “While the recovery in market demand in conjunction with a structural decline in the independent sector has provided a helpful backdrop, it is the combination of our own initiatives and our clearly differentiated business model that has sustained our brand strength and delivered such an impressive operational and financial performance.

“These results reflect the strength of our business model and our persistent focus on delivering an excellent and consistent guest experience across all of our hotels and restaurants. That focus is embedded within our business strategy, that my predecessor, Alison Brittain, and the whole executive team executed brilliantly through one of the group’s most challenging trading periods. It has also created a platform for future growth, both in the UK and in Germany.”

WFA calls for fairer, safer, more transparent media ecosystem

The WFA has identified five areas the industry must focus on to improve the advertising ecosystem, as part of its Global Media Charter 3.0.

Competition and plurality, measurement and accountability, responsibility and society, sustainability and planet, and people and partners have all been singled out as key focus areas for improvement.

These are in addition to long-standing challenges, such as ad fraud, transparency in programmatic and talent outlined in previous iterations of the charter.

The WFA is now calling on media leaders to reflect on their role, the business decisions they make and the impact they have in order to address some of these concerns.

The new charter has been developed by the WFA’s media board, which features global media and association leaders from companies including AB InBev, BeamSuntory, Danone, Diageo, Goldman Sachs, Haleon, ISBA, Jacobs Douwe Egberts, L’Oréal, Lipton Teas & Infusions, LVMH, Nestlé, P&G, PepsiCo, Reckitt and Unilever.

Gerry D’Angelo, vice-president of global media at P&G, says: “The publication of the WFA Global Media Charter in 2018 was a seminal moment. It brought together the proposals of global advertisers for a safer and more transparent media ecosystem, and it made possible major advancements in brand safety and cross-media measurement.”

The last iteration led to the creation of the Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM) and the WFA’s Halo cross-media measurement software code, which is now being piloted in the US and UK.

“In 2023 clients are facing a new wave of challenges and concerns, including the climate challenge and the rise of AI so we need to kick start a new programme of governance with global industry leaders from the advertiser, agency, technology and media owner,” adds Stephan Loerke, CEO, WFA.


Monday, 24 April

Source: Shutterstock

Twitter accused of false advertising amid verification backtracking

Despite removing verification for hundreds of thousands of accounts last week, Twitter has reinstated its blue tick for some users.

On Friday (21 April), Twitter owner Elon Musk said he was paying for Twitter verification for Stephen King, LeBron James and William Shatner. However, over the weekend a slew of notable figures tweeted that despite their profiles showing a blue tick, they had not paid for the service.

It’s rumoured that users with more than 1 million followers are being verified, although this hasn’t been confirmed. Sir Ian McKellen, for example, posted to his account that “despite the implication when you click the blue badge that has mysteriously re-appeared beside my name, I am not paying for the ‘honour'”.

Twitter is facing criticism for its approach to verifying some figures, as verified accounts show a message that reads: “This account is verified because they are subscribers to Twitter Blue and verified their phone number”.

Suggesting the platform is carrying out false advertising by associating celebrities with Twitter Blue who haven’t paid the $84 (£67) a year fee for it, journalist Owen Jones tweeted: “Isn’t it some form of defamation to falsely make it look like people have purchased a product associated with being a total loser.”

READ MORE: Twitter restores ‘blue tick’ free of charge to celebrities in U-turn

Bud Light’s marketing boss takes leave of absence following backlash

AB InBev has changed Bud Light’s marketing leadership following a backlash after the brand sent a personalised can to TikTok star Dylan Mulvaney to mark her one-year anniversary of publicly identifying as transgender.

The brand has been boycotted by some customers as a result, with the company sharing it had faced threats and been criticised, including Kid Rock who posted a video of him shooting cans.

Alissa Heinerscheid, Bud Light’s vice-president of marketing in the US, has taken a leave of absence and is being replaced by Todd Allen, Budweiser’s global marketing vice-president. Heinerscheid started leading the Bud Light brand in June 2022.

Bud Light is also restructuring its marketing function to reduce layers between its team, so its “most senior marketers are more closely connected to every aspect of our brand’s activities”, a company spokesperson said.

According to Beer Business Daily, Bud Light case sales were down 10.7% for the week ending 8 April, following the post by Mulvaney on 1 April.

READ MORE: More Bud Light-Dylan Mulvaney Fallout: Marketing Executive Out Amid Far-Right Uproar

Drop in retail sales blamed on wet weather

Shoppers retailers retailThe UK witnessed a 0.9% drop in retail sales volumes between February and March, according to the Office for National Statistics. The drop is being blamed on the wet weather, with the UK witnessing its dampest March in 40 years.

In February, sales volumes grew by 1.1%, following a January rise of 0.9%. Economists had expected March’s figure to drop 0.5%.

Food shop sales fell by 0.7%, following a period where consumers were impacted by limits on fresh product such as cucumbers and tomatoes. Sales at non-food stores fell by 1.3% year-on-year in March, after rising 2.4% in February.

“Retail fell sharply in March as poor weather impacted on sales across almost all sectors,” says Darren Morgan, a director of economic statistics at the ONS. “In the latest month, department stores, clothing shops and garden centres experienced heavy declines as significant rainfall dampened enthusiasm for shopping.”

READ MORE: Retail sales in Great Britain dampened by poor weather

Cadbury ad takes aim at cereal bar rivals

Cadbury has launched a campaign, ‘But Actually Tasty’, to emphasise how consumers don’t need to sacrifice taste when it comes to buying cereal and nut bars, taking aim at its “beige” rivals.

The campaign, created with agency VCCP and production studio Girl&Bear, highlights Cadbury’s brunch bar range.

Cadbury has created three films to emphasise its three key ingredients, oat, nut and raisin. The campaign will run across social and digital out-of-home, as well as through audio with podcasts such as Off Menu.

“When it comes to snack bars, people want something tasty but expect something bland. Cadbury Brunch really delivers on taste, so it’s great that we get to celebrate it through this campaign,” says Maria Jackson, brand manager at Cadbury.

MoneySuperMarket brings back Dame Judi Dench for cost of living themed campaign

Dame Judi Dench has returned for MoneySuperMarket’s latest campaign which highlights the comparison website’s saving specialists characters’ work to help UK consumers.

The latest iteration of the campaign, which first launched with Dench in 2022, highlights the current cost of living crisis to try help people save money.

Since the ‘Mission £1 Billion’ campaign first launched in May last year, MoneySuperMarket claims its customers have saved £800m on their household bills.

The new integrated campaign, created with agency New Commercial Arts, will run across TV, video-on-demand, cinema, online video, out-of-home, audio and social.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Dame Judi back to lead the MoneySuperSeven as they work harder than ever to help households get the best deals on their bills,” says Lis Blair, chief customer officer at MoneySuperMarket.

“This is the third instalment of the MoneySuperSeven and just as the financial challenges facing households continues to grow, so too does the squad’s determination to save Britain serious money.”