Apple design chief departs after 23 years
Apple’s chief design officer Sir Jony Ive is leaving the tech giant after 23 years.
Ive, who designed the iMac, iPod, iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch, will launch independent design company LoveFrom, which will collaborate with Apple on “exclusive projects”.
Joining as head of Apple’s design studio in 1996, Ive is credited with sparking the company’s turnaround with the launch of the iMac in 1998. Apple’s late founder Steve Jobs described Ive as his “spiritual partner” in the company, while current CEO Tim Cook said that the design chief’s role in Apple’s revival “cannot be overstated”.
Ive’s decision to leave Apple follows the departure of retail boss Angela Ahrendts in April and comes amid wider worries around falling iPhone sales.
Reports in the Financial Times suggest LoveFrom will be based in California and could potentially work on wearable technology. Speaking to the publication, Ive says his friend and collaborator at Apple, Marc Newson, will join the firm, which will be a “a collection of creatives” spanning several different disciplines beyond design.
Nike fails to hit quarterly profits as marketing spend soars
Nike has missed quarterly profit estimates after splashing out on marketing and new product launches.
The sportswear giant’s ‘selling and administrative expenses’ rose by 9% in the three months to 31 May to $3.4bn (£2.7bn), while its marketing or ‘demand creation expense’ rose by 3% on the previous year to $1bn (£788.2m) due to global brand campaigns and activations around “key sports moments”.
As a result, Nike’s net income during the fourth quarter fell to $989m (£779.5m), from $1.14bn (£898.5m) a year earlier, although revenue rose 4% to $10.2bn (£8bn). While these figures mean expected earnings of 62 cents per share, analysts had predicted expected earnings of 66 cents per share.
It is worth noting that during the full year to 31 May Nike spent $3.8bn (£2.9bn) on marketing, 5% up on the previous year, due to “sports marketing investments, global brand campaigns, key sports moments and new product launches”.
Tesco backs disruptive brands with incubator project
Tesco is hoping to tap into the health and wellbeing trend as it backs nine entrepreneurial food, drink and general merchandise brands for its 2019 incubator programme.
Each brand will complete a year-long programme during which they will receive guidance on marketing products effectively, respond to Tesco customer insight and be mentored by the supermarket’s product team.
The nine disruptive brands chosen are: kefir drinks brand Biotiful, vegan and nut-free celebration cakes business Just Love Food Company, natural sparkling water brand Ugly Drinks, alternative to salt-based seasoning Mara Seaweed, cooking kit specialist SimplyCook, craft brewer Thornbridge, locally sourced pet food business Naturo, Aussie cosmetics brand MUD and premium nappy company Rascal and Friends.
With its choice of brands Tesco says it is responding to the fact two-thirds of customers are looking for supermarkets to help them live healthier lives and hopes to tap into the booming health and wellness trend.
“Our incubator programme is a really important part of the work we’ve done in recent years to build closer, long-term partnerships with our suppliers,” says Andrew Yaxley, Tesco’s group chief commercial officer. “There are so many brilliant brands out there and we’re proud to partner with some of those we believe are at the forefront of the latest consumer trends.”
Tesco’s announcement comes in the same week that Sainsbury’s rolled out a 14-week trial of 11 startup brands across 69 of its larger stores, as selected by its Future Brands team.
Two thirds of UK advertisers exposed to ‘non-brand safe environments’
Adverts from two thirds of the UK’s top 100 advertisers ran in places considered to be non-brand safe during the first quarter of 2019, according to a new report.
Some 65% of the UK’s top advertisers were exposed to potentially non-brand safe environments, risking long-term brand damage and commercial harm, according to research conducted by marketing consultancy Ebiquity and digital insight company zulu5.
An analysis of the UK programmatic market found that ecommerce brands are most likely to be at risk of exposure to ‘sexuality and nudity content’, while beauty, fitness and finance brands were most likely to be placed alongside extremist content.
The research also found that being exposed to non-brand safe environments could have a bigger impact on brand equity for a pharmaceutical brand, for example, than an ecommerce brand, even though the former is less likely to be exposed than the latter.
Furthermore, the research found that performance campaigns are at the highest risk of appearing in unsafe spaces due to their focus on conversion over environment.
Jaguar to show Wimbledon match highlights in ‘first of a kind’ outdoor sponsorship
Jaguar’s sponsorship campaign for Wimbledon will involve showing match highlights and real-time scoreboards on out-of-home screens for the first time in the tennis tournament’s history.
The campaign to mark Jaguar’s position as the official car partner of Wimbledon will see a sponsored show reel run across 28 large format digital screens in nine major UK cities every six minutes.
In addition, Jaguar plans to show live screenings of the first round matches of its brand ambassadors Johanna Konta, Kyle Edmund and Canadian Milos Raonic at Westfield Stratford, and the women’s and men’s singles finals at Westfield Stratford and Westfield London
The creative and experiential activations will focus on Jaguar I-PACE, the brand’s first all-electric car, supported by a social influencer campaign and Twitter sponsorship.
“We are incredibly proud to be the official car partner of Wimbledon for a fifth year,” says Markus Carlson, Jaguar’s marketing communications manager.
“Using digital out of home as a content distribution channel allows us to maximise our association with The Championship, connect with Jaguar prospects and bring the thrill of the tournament to tennis fans across the UK.”
The outdoor campaign was planned by dentsu X and location marketing specialist Posterscope, in collaboration with creative agency Spark44 and Ocean Outdoor.
Thursday, 27 June
Tesco follows Sainsbury’s as it trials checkout-free stores
Tesco is developing technology that will allow shoppers to fill their basket and pay without having to go through a checkout.
The move comes as it faces growing competition from Amazon, which is already trialling checkout-free stores with Amazon Go, and follows a similar trial by rival Sainsbury’s earlier in the year.
Tesco’s system features an artificial intelligence-powered camera network and sensors on shelves, which can detect what people are picking up and putting in their basket, enabling it to automatically change them for their shopping as they leave.
Customers will also be prompted to add their payment details to an app or use screens in-store that show a running bill so they can pay before leaving the store.
First Direct and Monzo come out on top for customer experience
Retail and finance brands are leading the way on customer experience, with First Direct, Monzo and Lush claiming the top three spots in KPMG Nunwood’s annual Customer Experience Excellence ranking.
Monzo is a new entry this year, along with Richer Sounds (4) and Lakeland (6). The rest of the top 10 is made up of John Lewis Finance (5), Nationwide (7), Virgin Atlantic (8), Ocado (9) and QVC UK (10).
This means several of last year’s leading brands have been pushed out of the top 10. Metro Bank (2 last year), John Lewis (5 last year), Boden (6 last year), Marks & Spencer (7 last year), M&S Food (8 last year) and Emirates (10 last year) are all no longer in the top set for customer experience.
Although they didn’t make the top 10, this year’s most improved brands are Mothercare, which moves up 119 spots to 57, Green Flag (up 95 places to 36), Yo! Sushi (up 85 to 41), Pizza Express (up 78 to 87) and Prudential ( up 73 to 54).
Overall, customer experience in the UK has improved for the second year running, according to the data, continuing to rise from a record low in 2017 when brands were failing to keep up with increasing customer expectations.
Brands are measured across six pillars – personalisation, integrity, expectations, resolution, time & effort and empathy – in order to give them a score out of 10, with the ranking based on the views of more than 13,000 British consumers.
Starbucks pays more tax in UK despite loss
Starbucks UK has made a loss in the UK for the first time since 2013 amid store closures, rising costs and the renegotiation of leases, but it has paid more in tax than last year.
The coffee chain saw its gross profits fall 21% to £56m for the year to September 2018, from a turnover that was up 4.1% to £387.1m. It made a pre-tax loss of £17.2m compared with a profit of £4.6m the previous year.
Starbucks UK paid significantly more in corporation tax too, which was up 22.9% on the previous year – which it said was primarily due to £20m of onerous lease provisions and one-off charges.
BMW expects electric profits to rival petrol-powered cars by 2025
BMW expects profits from its electric vehicles to reach that of its traditional cars before 2025, as consumers become more confident in eco-friendly options.
It is one of the first indications from a major automaker of when it will start to see returns from the major investment it has been making into electric technology.
Nicolas Peter, the brand’s chief financial officer told the Financial Times that it was “very challenging” to but an exact date on when this is likely to happen because of uncertainties around consumer adoption, but that it would be in 2025 but “hopefully sooner”.
BMW expects sales of electric cars to rise by 30% a year during this time, as consumers become increasingly confident in the practicality of the new technology as the number of charging stations rises and batteries start to last longer.
The car marque also plans to bring forward the launch of 25 electric or hybrid vehicles from 2025 to 2023 and says more than half of the new models it produces will be battery-only.
Instagram adds ads to Explore tab
Instagram will be adding advertising opportunities to its Explore feed over the next few month, which it says is the next logical step as it already sees people “actively looking to connect with brands they like”.
When tapping on a photo or video, users will begin to see ads as part of their browsing experience, in the same way they currently do in the main feed.
Instagram says 50% of accounts use the Explore function every month as a way of finding photos and videos that relate to their interests based on the accounts they already follow.
Plus 80% of people follows business on Instagram. The platform says: “As we continue to invest in Explore, we want it to be the best place for people to discover something new and for businesses to connect with people who might become meaningful customers.”
Wednesday, 26 June
Airbnb launches luxury teir
Airbnb is launching a “Luxe” sub-brand with a portfolio of 2,000 upmarket rentals worldwide – with some costing over £700,000 per week.
Rates for Airbnb Luxe properties will average around £1,500 per night and have been handpicked and verified against a 300-strong criteria. The Luxe portfolio was selected from the 5,000 properties Airbnb added to its repertoire when it acquired Luxury Retreats, a high-end vacation rental company, back in 2017.
The new tier is a big step above Airbnb’s Plus tier, introduced in February 2018, where homes undergo a 100-point inspection and average £118 per night.
Nick Guezen, Airbnb’s director of portfolio strategy, explains: “This is that next level that was necessary so we can fulfil our ‘anyone belongs anywhere’ model. There are luxury travellers out there who don’t want to stay in a shared room or one of the smaller properties on the site; this gives them an offering so anyone can travel with Airbnb.”
The launch follows research that shows a rise in demand for luxury properties. Airbnb reports rentals costing more than £788 per night increased by more than 60% in 2018 compared to the previous year.
The rental giant has ambitious plans for the brand and hopes to double the number of Luxe listings over the next 12 to 18 months.
“With Airbnb Luxe we are applying the same approach we’ve used since we launched Airbnb more than 11 years ago- creating local, authentic and magical travel moments now in amazing places to stay – to reimagine the way people think and experience luxury travel,” adds Airbnb co-founder, Brian Chesky.
The Body Shop creates agency roster to focus on brand purpose
The Body Shop has appointed a new agency roster as it looks to rejuvenate its brand and implement its new strategy.
Three new creative agencies have been signed up: Mother will run brand and creative strategy and above the line development; global PR strategy and creative delivery will be led by One Green Bean; and design agency, forpeople, will be in charge of delivering brand identity, global retail design and packaging design.
The Body Shop hopes the appointments and new strategy will help it bring its purpose to life through an omnichannel experience and encourage people to interact with the brand both online and offline. Part of the new strategy is to spark provocative conversation through social media while rolling out new store formats containing activism spaces.
The desire to encourage activism also extends to store staff across 70 countries who will campaign and lobby for The Body Shop’s social causes, encouraging customers to learn about key topics and join them in driving material and lasting change at both global and local levels.
Lionel Thoreau, global brand director at The Body Shop, says: “Our brand rejuvenation strategy will allow us to bring our commitment to business as a force for good to the very forefront of our interaction with customers throughout their experience with us.”
The announcement comes after The Body Shop was bought by cosmetic group Natura&Co that also owns Australian brand Aesop among others.
M&S launches fresh food marketing campaign with ITV Weather
Marks & Spencer has launched a six-week series with ITV Weather to highlight its fresh food credentials.
The ‘fresh market update’ campaign will show a new episode after the 6pm ITV news and weather update and will feature six M&S fruit, vegetable, meat and fish products, alongside ITV news presenters.
It is designed to highlight M&S’s food division’s “unrivalled quality, exceptional supplier relationships and leading standards in sustainable sourcing”.
An M&S spokesperson explains: “We know all eyes are on the weather during the Summer and our partnership with ITV gives us a nightly window into the nation’s homes to tell the stories behind our delicious produce and meat.”
There will be 24 episodes in total, created by agency Grey, with the series part of a wider of M&S Food’s wider campaign focusing on fresh food.
UK book sales fall for the first time in five years
Publishers have been hit by fall in print book sales – the first decline in five years – as audiobooks rise, but the industry is warning against catastrophic predictions.
According to the latest figures from the Publishers Association annual yearbook, sales of physical books fell by 5.4% (£168m) in 2018, down from £3.11bn in 2017 to £2.95bn, ending a sustained period of growth.
However, sales of printed books still account for over 80% of the combined print and digital UK book market of £3.6bn last year. Plus, the digital book market, which includes audiobooks, ebook sales and subscriptions to services, rose 4.6% to £653m.
Stephen Lotinga, the chief executive of the Publishers Association, explains: “I’m not concerned that this could be a watershed moment for the printed book, we are not there yet. We have not seen a huge shift into subscription services, piracy is low, people still love physical books. It is a trend halt, sales are still up 8% over the last five years.”
Audiobook sales rose significantly in 2018 by 43% with Amazon’s Audible service dominating sales. However Lotinga said this was not the sole reason for the decline in print sales and added that the rise in the popularity of podcasts, was indirectly helping the book market.
He explains: “We think that podcasting is helping to drive a resurgence in audio in general, including books. Publishers are investing a huge amount in building [recording] studios and securing the services of top quality actors to voice the books. We think the whole audio scene is showing huge opportunity.”
Apple buys self-driving car startup Drive.ai
Apple has bought self-driving shuttle firm Drive.ai as it looks to boost its self-driving plans and keep up with rivals.
Drive.ai has been running a small fleet of test shuttles in Texas but the San Francisco startup has been struggling and was just days away from firing 90 people.
In Silicon Valley, it is common for larger companies to acquire struggling start-ups to hire their engineers.
Apple is trying to keep up with rivals, such as Alphabet’s Waymo, as the race for self-driving cars continues. In the past year, Apple has revamped its efforts, bringing former Tesla engineering chief Doug Field to oversee its self-driving business.
Tuesday, 25 June
Unilever uses AI to improve staff skills
Unilever is introducing a new online talent marketplace that uses AI to help staff identify opportunities and learn new skills.
The marketplace, dubbed FLEX Experiences, uses technology from startup InnerMobility by Gloat. It uses artificial intelligence to help teams identify personalised opportunities across the business and then work on projects to increase the depth of their expertise in a current skill or build new skills and experience.
The AI helps people see opportunities that match their profile and aspirations, while also making all opportunities visible to all staff.
Unilever has been testing the platform with more than 20,000 employees over the past year. In the last two months alone, it has unlocked 60,000 hours and increased employee engagement and satisfaction.
Jeroen Wels, executive vice president of HR at Unilever, says: “With FLEX Experiences, Unilever is redefining the future of work, creating a flexible, networked, diverse and inclusive organisation which attracts the best talent and inspires the passion and commitment of its people.
“It is part of our vision to nurture a pioneering culture. We are driving new ways of working to gain rapid access to the best skills and business ideas available both internally and externally. FLEX Experiences helps people to identify opportunities across the business, in which they can develop new skills and gain experiences in a flexible way. We believe that our people are much more than their job title. If our people thrive, we thrive as a business.”
The full roll-out should be completed by 2020.
Coca-Cola and China’s Mengniu Dairy sign record Olympics sponsorship
The organisers of the Olympic Games have signed a joint sponsorship deal with Coca-Cola and China Mengniu Daity worth a reported combined $3bn (£2.35bn), one of the biggest sport sponsorship deals ever.
The two companies are to jointly sponsor the Olympics between 2021 and 2032, covering six summer and winter games. While Coca-Cola has been associated with the Olympics for more than 100 years, Mengniu is a new partner. Together, they will share the role as official non-alcoholic drinks partner of the games.
“With Mengniu, we saw an opportunity to expand the dairy aspect of the beverage category,” says Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey. “We will be activating our own individual marketing plans, but we are pleased to be a joint partner with a well-respected dairy company that is well known to us in China.”
For Mengniu, the sponsorship acts as a “catalyst” for its growth around the world. “This is a vital step in our international strategy and we are honoured to have the opportunity to build the positive reputation of Chinese food and beverage brands among consumers globally,” says CEO Jeffrey Lu.
Discounters look to London as supermarket sales growth slows
The German discounters Aldi and Lidl are investing to increase their presence in the London market as supermarket sales growth slows nationally.
For the 12 weeks to 16 June, grocery sales were up 1.4% year on year, marking three continuous years of growth for the sector, according to Kantar data. However, this “modest” growth has been impacted by a wet start to the summer and a difficult comparison with last year, when a heatwave and the men’s World Cup boosted sales.
Aldi attracted an additional 883,000 shoppers in the 12-week period, with sales up 9.3% and its market share increasing 0.5 percentage points to 7.9%. Lidl, meanwhile, saw sales rise by 7.5%, giving it a 5.7% share of the market.
Both are rolling out more stores in London: Aldi is looking to open its ‘Local’ formats in the capital, where it accounts for just £1 in every £30 spent, while Lidl is opening a flagship store on Tottenham Court Road. Grocery sales growth in London stands at 4% year on year, nearly three times the national rate.
Elsewhere, Co-op increased its market share to 6.2% while Iceland sales were up 0.6%. But it was Ocado that saw the fastest growth, with sales up 11.3%.
Both Tesco and Waitrose saw flat sales growth, while Sainsbury’s sales fell by 0.6%. Asda sales were down 0.1% and Morrisons saw a decline of 0.5% year on year.
Beats by Dre brings in Chris Thorne as CMO
Beats by Dre has hired Chris Thorne as its CMO, more than two and a half years after its former marketing boss Omar Johnson left the business.
Thorne, who will report into Beats president Luke Wood, will oversee global marketing efforts including driving customer acquisition, strengthening customer engagement and loyalty, and growing sales. He will also be responsible for creating integrated marketing campaigns, relying on pop culture to drive and shape its brand identity.
“I admire everything that Beats has accomplished over the past 11 years,” Thorne says. “Beats not only sits at the cross-cultural intersection of music, technology and sports, but it has defined the niche as a category in such a short time. The brand continues to dominate cultural conversation, and I’m excited to join the team and contribute to its successes.”
Thorne has worked in marketing for more than 15 years. He began his executive career as president of sports representation company CSMG Sports before moving to EA as global vice president of marketing, media and mobile. He has also worked as CMO at The Honest Company and chief growth officer at Forward.
He starts at Beats immediately.
Boots to phase out plastic bags in waste reduction push
Boots is phasing out all plastic bags in its stores from 2020 and replacing them with brown paper bags as it responds to a backlash over plastic waste.
Already, 53 stores have stopped offering plastic bags at checkout, with the policy set to be extended to all its almost 2,500 stores by early next year. Boots will instead offer brown paper bags at a cost of 5p, 7p or 10p, depending on size. All profits will be donated to BBC Children In Need.
Helen Normoyle, marketing director at Boots UK, says: “We have seen a significant shift in our customers’ attitudes towards plastics and recycling in recent years.
“Our new paper bags have been carefully tested to make sure that, over their entire life cycle, they are better for the environment, whilst still being a sturdy, practical option for customers who haven’t brought their own bags with them when shopping.”
Boots is not the only brand looking to cut plastic waste. McDonald’s is ditching plastic lids on its McFlurries and eliminating single use plastic salad bowls. The changes are expected to reduce plastic waste by almost 500 metric tonnes every year.
Beth Hart, supply chain director of McDonald’s UK and Ireland, says: “We are committed to listening to our customers and finding solutions with our suppliers that work for them. This is the latest example of that – but by no means the end.”
Monday, 24 June
Sainsbury’s trials ‘disrupter’ food range
Sainsbury’s is trialling ‘disrupter’ food and drinks products, including a vegan “meal in a bottle” and alcoholic kombucha, as part of a move to target millennials.
The 30-product range, which has been created by 11 startup brands, will run for 14 weeks from today in 69 of Sainsbury’s larger stores.
Shoppers are being asked which products they would like to continue, with shelf banners and labels reading: “If you love it, we’ll keep it”. Only the best-selling products will become permanent lines.
Other ‘disrupter’ lines being trialled include crisps made from salmon skin, seaweed-infused rapeseed oil and a pocket-sized elderflower spritzer.
Facebook calls for greater tech regulation
Facebook is arguing for greater regulation of tech firms but says it is not something these big companies “can or should” do on their own.
The social media giant’s vice president, Nick Clegg, says there is a “pressing need” for new “rules on the road” regarding privacy, election rules, the use of people’s data and adjudicating on what constitutes hate speech.
“It’s not for private companies, however big or small, to come up with those rules,” he says. “It is for democratic politicians in the democratic world to do so.”
However, he believes companies like Facebook should play a “mature role” in advocating regulation.
Clegg says there has been a shift from “tech utopia” – where the likes of Facebook can do no wrong – to “tech phobia”, adding that any excessive backlash against technology will make it “almost impossible for tech to innovate properly”.
“Technology is not good or bad,” he says. “Technology down the ages is used by good and bad people for good and bad ends.”
Simple teams up with Little Mix to tackle online bullying
UK skincare brand Simple is partnering with Little Mix and cyber-bullying charity Ditch the Label to raise awareness of the scale of teen online bullying.
Coinciding with Stop Cyberbullying Day, the Unilever-owned brand is launching a 60-second film, fronted by Little Mix, to encourage more teens to seek help and support.
Shot to the soundtrack of ‘Strip’, the film shows the popstars wiping away unkind words and revealing kind replacements.
Hosted on YouTube and Twitter, the film will be supported with paid social media support to amplify the campaign. Simple has also created a custom chat bot that provides fans with access to online bullying support tools and new video content from Little Mix. Simple and Ditch the Label have also co-created an online support hub.
“Cyberbullying continues to be a growing issue, and one that affects the young people that buy our products, which is why Simple has teamed up with Little Mix again as we believe it’s time to wipe away the hate and choose kindness,” explains Chris Barron, vice president for beauty & personal care, Unilever UKI.
“By partnering with Ditch the Label and Little Mix, we’re continuing to tackle the issue of cyberbullying amongst the people that buy our products and show that there is support out there.”
Game Digital agrees to Sports Direct takeover
Game Digital has accepted Sports Direct’s £52m takeover bid.
Game says it had little choice but to accept the offer, which could see the gaming chain integrated into House of Fraser stores.
“In coming to this recommendation, the board has considered the growing size of Sports Direct’s shareholding in the Group and the reliance Game has on Sports Direct for supporting its future growth prospects combined with the ongoing industry headwinds, current negative retail market outlook and the likely elongated current console lifecycle which are expected to impact the future financial performance of the group,” Game says.
Sports Direct, which is owned by retail tycoon Mike Ashley, already has a 29.9% stake in Game, but earlier this month increased that to 38.49%, which took it is above the 38% minimum threshold required to launch a takeover bid.
Sports Direct will now review Game’s 540 stores, focusing on whether the existing Game sites across the UK and Spain should be consolidated within the Sports Direct Group, including House of Fraser. This will also include whether there should be a reduction or relocation in employment of Game’s employees and management.
S4 buys Melbourne-based Biztech
Martin Sorrell’s S4 Capital has bought Melbourne-based marketing company Biztech.
The acquisition will see S4 merge its global content arm, Mediamonks, with Biztech, in a strategic move designed to deliver a “faster, better and cheaper” offer for clients worldwide.
“We are delighted with the proposed deal which will bring Michael, Tim, and the entire Biztech team to the S4 Capital family,” says Sorrell.
“Their highly specialised Adobe expertise and close-knit client relationships make Biztech the perfect partner to accelerate our business in Australia and beyond.”
S4 adds that the merger will allow Mediamonks and Mightyhive, a media consultancy that merged with S4 in December, to expand their existing relationship with Adobe, which Biztech has a close relationship with.
“S4 Capital already operates in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand through Mightyhive, but S4 Capital will now gain a fully integrated content and programmatic operation in Australia and Canada on which to build, as well as a global centre of expertise in customer experience and Adobe capabilities,” S4 says.