Tesco partners with Gorillas for co-branded delivery service
Tesco has launched a partnership with Berlin-based on-demand delivery brand Gorillas to pilot an instant-delivery grocery offer for UK shoppers.
The commercial and real estate deal will debut in Thornton Heath in London and be expanded to four further locations over the coming months. The two companies are to develop co-located warehouses within Tesco stores, applying the Gorillas business model of micro-fulfilment centres that enable delivery to customers within minutes.
The partnership will make an extensive range of Tesco products available to Gorillas customers through its app and offer a new delivery method for Tesco customers.
“We have established ourselves as a fast-paced company at the forefront of the on-demand grocery industry, whilst Tesco is the leading retailer in the UK and a trusted household name nationally,” says Gorillas COO Adrian Frenzel.
“The co-location partnership enables both brands to bring their strengths to the table and establish a quicker, higher quality, grocery offering to UK consumers. Customers will not only be able to get the best of Tesco within minutes via Gorillas, but will be able to make the most of Tesco’s extraordinary quality range via the Gorillas app.”
“The idea that we can reach our customers in just ten minutes is really exciting,” adds Tesco UK CEO Jason Tarry.
“We are committed to being easily the most convenient choice for our customers, enabling them to shop whenever and however they want. This pilot with Gorillas will help customers get their products right away, supporting those looking to buy food for tonight or last-minute forgotten items. We look forward to hearing what our customers think.”
C-suite marketing roles increasing, finds LinkedIn
Marketing and communications roles are among the fastest-growing C-suite positions in the UK, according to new figures from LinkedIn, which has created a top ten list of the job titles that have seen the most hires.
Chief marketing officer was the 10th most appointed role, chief communications officer came in 4th place, while chief growth officer was 5th. According to LinkedIn, the demand for marketing talent was a result of companies seeking help to navigate the Covid-19 pandemic while improving performance.
“This list provides a unique insight into how business priorities are changing, and the C-suite roles needed most to help companies adapt to a new world of work,” says LinkedIn Marketing Solutions senior director, Tunji Akintokun.
“There was a time when marketing budgets were the first thing to go in a crisis. Yet during the past 19 months, we have seen marketers massively step up in response to the pandemic. In a time of huge uncertainty where communication with customers was key, marketing teams delivered brilliant and important work, at speed, and again proved vital to the pandemic responses of their organisations,” he adds.
“This won’t have gone unnoticed and will have changed perceptions about the value delivered by marketing functions in many organisations. Moving forward, we expect to see more businesses continue to invest in top talent and leadership within their marketing divisions so they can continue to tap into the value that CMOs and skilled teams can bring – both in terms of growth and the reputational uplift for brands.”
Morrisons to develop solar farm to reduce emissions
Supermarket group Morrisons has committed to bringing forward the point where it will achieve net zero carbon emissions from its own operations to 2035. This is five years earlier than it had previously pledged to meet the goal and 15 years ahead of the UK government’s target.
The retailer has also committed to reduce its wider ‘Scope 3’ emissions – caused by indirect actions in its value chain – by 30% by 2030. It is working with suppliers to achieve the reduction.
As part of its plans Morrisons is to become the first supermarket to own and operate its own solar farm to generate clean energy. The facility will span nearly 125 acres by 2025, the size of more than 70 football pitches, and produce more than 100 megawatts of electricity. Almost all of the power will go directly to Morrisons’ stores and other sites.
“The climate crisis is the greatest challenge of our generation – and the time is now. As a supermarket we depend on a healthy planet to produce the goods we sell to customers,” says Morrisons CEO David Potts.
“We’ve committed to removing carbon emissions, rather than setting a carbon neutral target that would depend heavily on offsetting. We’re also investing resources to bring forward our net zero commitment by five years which is very ambitious but very necessary. Our new solar farm and net zero carbon agriculture programme are just two ways we’ll achieve our commitment.”
Oatly launches ‘most meta’ campaign
Dairy alternative brand Oatly has launched a multi-layered and self-referential new campaign, consisting of ten steps wrapped up in a single Instagram video.
The ad features a bus stop ad which is featured on a boat ad, which is then itself covered by an ad on a truck before being featured in a newspaper, then on a billboard behind an organ player who is shown on social media and covered in a mural. Viewers see the internal meeting to assess the ad and are taken through the steps.
“I must stay it feels good to finally tie things up with someone reading a summarising quote from an art director in an article about a film Oatly posted on Instagram that showed… sorry. Old Habit. We should probably end here,” says Oatly art director Oskar Pernefeldt.
The ad was shot in Amsterdam and Rotterdam by the Oatly Department of Mind Control.
New global marketing director for Seat
Automotive brand Seat has appointed Ignasi Prieto as its new global marketing director, including its Cupra performance car sub-brand. He has spent nearly two years as head of marketing for Cupra.
Preito replaces Jason Lusty, who has become head of brand strategy and group marketing at Seat’s parent company Volkswagen Group. Preito will report to Seat vice president of sales and marketing, Kai Vogler, and Cupra strategy director Antonino Labate.
“I would like to congratulate Ignasi for his new role as Seat and Cupra global marketing director. Over the years he has been a strategic asset in the positioning of the two brands and especially in leveraging awareness for the Cupra brand. Under his leadership we start a new phase,” says Seat and Cupra CEO Wayne Griffiths.
Seat is based in Spain but exports more than 80% of its vehicles, selling in 75 countries. It plans to invest €5bn in research and development projects by 2025, mostly on developments to electrify its range.
Thursday, 28 October
Co-op rebrands stores in run-up to climate conference
With the UK to host the COP26 Climate Change Conference in Glasgow this weekend, Co-op has rebranded six of its flagship stores as Co-op26.
The campaign hopes to get people asking questions about how they can impact climate change at a community level, and will see Co-op also take on its new name across its social channels for the duration of the event.
Additionally, all 2,600 of Co-ops food stores and its 830 funeral care homes will communicate the same in-store messaging via marketing materials, including hanging boards, shelf edge labels and bunting, exterior bollard covers and in-store radio takeovers.
The campaign celebrates the retailer’s recently announced partnership with ‘Count Us In’, which aims to encourage one billion people to take practical steps in their own lives to reduce carbon pollution.
“Climate action needs to be truly accessible and inclusive in order to make the difference that’s so urgently needed,” says Steve Murrells, CEO of The Co-Op Group.
“While the world looks to the COP26 conference to guide global leaders on how countries can accelerate change, we are shining a spotlight on how Co-op, our customers, members and colleagues can all play their part in the fight against climate change on a community level.”
Earlier this year the grocer published a 10 point climate action plan, promising to become a net zero business by 2040 and to become the first supermarket in the world to sell fully carbon neutral own brand food and drink by 2025.
John Lewis pulls ‘misleading’ home insurance ad
John Lewis has had to withdraw its ‘Let Life Happen’ advert for its new home content insurance, as the Financial Conduct Authority has deemed it “potentially misleading”.
The ad portrays a young child dancing to a Stevie Nicks song and knocking over household items, but it fails to specify that John Lewis’ accidental damage cover is only available as an add-on, and does not cover non-accidental damage. It ran between 11 and 27 October.
In a statement, John Lewis said it was “absolutely never our intention” to mislead customers.
“The ‘Let Life Happen’ John Lewis home insurance advert was created to show a joyful depiction of a young actor getting carried away with his performance, oblivious of the unintentional consequences of his actions,” the company said. It plans to contact every customer who purchased its home content insurance cover over the period to confirm they are happy with their purchase.
The ad has already been at the centre of a Twitter firestorm, accused by critics of pushing an agenda by featuring a young boy wearing a dress and make-up as he danced. It has also been criticised as sexist in its portrayal of the boy and his sister, and of misrepresenting the LGBTQ+ community. Others, however, have defended and supported the ad.
Lego Group to partner with UEFA’s Women’s Euro next year
The Lego Group has signed up as national sponsor of the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022, which is due to be the biggest women’s European sport event in history.
The partnership forms part of the brand’s ‘Ready for Girls’ campaign, which celebrates girls who are rebuilding the world through creative problem solving and challenging gender stereotypes.
The football tournament is to be hosted in England next July, and as national sponsor Lego is planning a series of initiatives to provide fun and interactive ways for fans to get involved.
There will be over 700,000 tickets available for the tournament across nine cities in England, with extensive coverage of every game on free-to-air television, radio and online.
“We know that different types of play are still heavily judged as being gender specific, which is why we are committed to championing inclusive play and ensuring that children’s creative ambitions – both now in the future – are not limited by gender stereotypes,” says Lego Group UK and Ireland’s head of marketing, Isabel Graham.
Indeed, a recent study from the group found that while girls feel less restrained by gender biases than boys when it comes to playing (74% of boys vs 62% of girls believe some activities are meant just for girls or just for boys), parents are almost five times as likely to encourage girls over boys to engage in dance (81% vs 19%), and dress up (83% vs 17%). They are also four times as likely to encourage boys to engage in sports (76% vs 24%) and program games (80% vs 20%).
“It’s fantastic to see the UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 tournament getting more and more prominence and we’re proud to help support this by being a National sponsor for 2022,” Graham adds.
Industry anticipates highest ever level of Christmas ad spend
With Christmas on the horizon, total UK advertising investment over the fourth quarter of 2021 is expected to reach £7.9bn, the highest level ever recorded and almost £1bn more than last year, according to the latest Expenditure Report from the Advertising Association and WARC.
The report has subsequently raised its growth forecast for UK ad spend overall this year to 24.8%, amounting to a total spend of £29.3bn. This is the largest annual rise on record, and marks a 6.6 percentage point increase on July’s growth projection of 18.2%. A 7.7% increase in spend is now expected for 2022, up to over £31.5bn.
This year Christmas ad spend will focus on online shopping, with search advertising – which includes ecommerce spend – forecast to be one of the quickest growing media in the fourth quarter. Search spend is forecast to rise 15.3% to £2.7bn over the period, and next year growth in search is expected to continue, with an anticipated rise of 11.4%.
Looking at spend over the second quarter of this year, all media saw a strong recovery as the nation emerged from its third pandemic lockdown. Out-of-home spend rose 276.8%, digital magazine brands saw investment up 155.5%, and direct mail grew 104%.
These figures suggest the UK is still on course to achieve the fastest ad trade recovery of any major European market this year, bouncing back from its £1.8bn decline in 2020, the report claims.
James McDonald, head of data content at WARC, says: “The latest data demonstrate bullish trade in the UK’s advertising sector despite potential inflationary headwinds and supply chain disruption in the run up to Christmas.
“Strong fourth quarter projections for TV – a medium heavily leveraged by retailers during the golden quarter – and search, which encompasses activity on eCommerce platforms, suggest it will be largely business as usual for the industry this year.”
New TfL campaign aims to stamp out sexual harassment
TfL wants offenders to know that sexual harassment is not tolerated on its services, as it launches a new multi-platform campaign aiming to raise awareness and de-normalise such behaviours.
Executed by Wavemaker, OTM and VCCP, the campaign will target all public transport users across the TfL network, as well as at key digital sites, in pan-London press, and in select regional press.
Digital display partners Stylist, Pink News and LADBible will house editorial content which will be amplified across their social channels, while Playbuzz will educate Londoners through interactive content that tailors advice to their input.
At the same time, podcast companies Acast and AudioPlus will feature bespoke stories across multiple shows, including Homo Sapiens, The Guilty Feminist and But Why, where the hosts will help educate and empower their audiences.
“This new campaign, combined with tactics to improve education and awareness, will be pivotal in demonstrating that any form of sexual assault will quite simply not be tolerated on our network,” says TfL’s head of customer marketing and behaviour change, Miranda Leedham.
“People may be reluctant to report an incident because they think it isn’t severe enough or won’t be taken seriously by authorities. But if someone’s behaviour has made you uncomfortable, it’s serious to us and we strongly encourage victims to report anything that makes them feel uncomfortable to a TfL staff member or via other available channels.”
Wednesday, 27 October
Twitter revenues rise, but lawsuit forces loss
Twitter saw revenue rise by 37% year-on-year to $1.28bn (£929m) during the third quarter, with advertising revenue also surging by 41% to $1.14bn. Advertising engagement increased by 6% and cost per engagement grew by 33%, over the period.
Chief financial officer Ned Segal says the social media platform drove value for advertisers through product innovation, progress on its brands and direct response offerings. He also notes there was a broad increase in advertiser demand, which correlates with major economies lifting pandemic restrictions.
Twitter did, however, post a net loss of $536.8m (£389.6m) for the third quarter compared to $28.6m (£20.8m) in the same period last year. The loss includes a charge of $766m (£556m) from a shareholder lawsuit, which alleges the company misled investors on user numbers.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey says: “I am proud of our third-quarter results. We’re improving personalisation, facilitating conversation, delivering relevant news, and finding new ways to help people get paid on Twitter.”
Alphabet posts revenue surge amid demand for online ads
Advertisers are showing more of an appetite for online advertising, pushing revenues up at Google’s parent company Alphabet by 41% to $65.12bn (£47.3bn) during the third quarter.
The revenue boost is Alphabet’s largest reported revenue figure in 14 years, while profits exceeded $21bn (£15bn), almost triple the figure reported before the pandemic.
Advertising revenue for the quarter grew to $53.13bn (£38.6bn), rising from $37.1bn (£26.9bn) last year.
Chief business officer Philipp Schindler said in an investor call the company is seeing some regions experiencing a fourfold increase in search activity, with many searches preceding a visit to physical stores. “Bricks-and-mortar isn’t dead. Instead omnichannel [shopping] is in full force,” he said. Schindler also noted retail advertising revenue was up 40%.
Alphabet chief executive Sundar Pichai added: “This quarter’s results show how our investments there are enabling us to build more helpful products for people and our partners.”
McDonald’s staff on strike over sexual harassment
McDonald’s employees have staged a walkout in US cities to protest against the brand’s handling of sexual harassment cases.
Organisers of the strikes, Fight for $15, says the company has “largely ignored” frontline workers who complain, despite five strikes over harassment being held since 2018. Walkouts were held yesterday in Chicago, Detroit, Houston and Miami among many other cities.
Fight for $15 say there have been more than 50 complaints and lawsuits alleging harassment at corporate-owned and franchise branches.
Campaigners have said the fast-food giant does little to get to the root of the problem particularly at franchise-owned chains, which make up the bulk of McDonald’s footprint. Staff have seen retaliation for making complaints, such as having hours cut or being let go.
A 2020 survey of 800 female McDonald’s workers found three-quarters of women said they were harassed while at work.
“Every single person working at a McDonald’s restaurant deserves to feel safe and respected when they come to work, and sexual harassment and assault have no place in any McDonald’s restaurant,” said the fast-food chain in a statement.
“We know more work is needed to further our workplace ambitions, which is why all 40,000 McDonald’s restaurants [worldwide] will be assessed and accountable to global brand standards.
“These standards prioritise action in multiple areas, including prevention of harassment, discrimination and retaliation.”
Ikea to take over former Topshop site on Oxford Street
Ikea plans to open a new store where Topshop’s former flagship space was on Oxford Street, after striking a deal worth £378m for the location.
Ikea UK and Ireland country retail manager and chief sustainability officer, Peter Jelkeby says: “We think this will complement the rest of our London network, and I also think we will complement Oxford Street.”
Jelkeby says the store is planned to open in autumn 2023. It will encompass 5,000 products on display and almost 2,200 products will be available to take home the same day. Home delivery will be available and customers will be able to speak to design teams.
A restaurant will also be opened in the space, selling dishes such as Swedish meatballs.
Topshop departed the store after parent company Arcadia Group entered administration last year. The space saw up to 400,000 visitors per week pre-pandemic.
ITV affirms commitment to addressing climate change
ITV has launched a campaign to showcase its commitment to climate change as the Cop26 summit approaches next week.
The broadcaster is launching the ‘Little Changes Big Impact’ campaign, with two TV ads central to the activation, made by ITV Creative. They take popular ITV shows The Masked Singer and Love Island, showing a humorous sustainable swap to a green energy tariff and a vegetarian burger.
The aim is to encourage viewers to make small sustainable changes in their day to day lives, which can have a big impact on the planet if enough people act.
The campaign marks the beginning of ITV’s Climate Action Week which launches on 1 November, during which the channel will promote a climate action focus across editorial, marketing and commercial.
Programmes will take on green themes from topical new commissions to coverage across live daytime shows, news and current affairs.
ITV has committed to being a net zero company by 2030 and will also further its environmental goals through commercial partnerships under ITV’s sustainable partnership brand, ITV Home Planet, including with Ebay, Polestar and Severn Trent Water.
The broadcaster states its 2020 campaign, ‘The Shows We Never Want to Make’, encouraged 1.3 million people to consider their carbon footprint.
ITV director of social purpose Susie Braun says: “These playful ads show that talking about sustainable behaviour doesn’t have to be dry or worthy – and that making a change to help the planet can be something small.
“If we all do it, it will have a big impact. We hope these ads, alongside the huge range of ITV’s Climate Action Week editorial content, will help ITV play our part in making a difference as the world comes together for Cop26.”
Tuesday, 26 October
Kimberly-Clark cuts marketing spend to offset rising costs
Kimberly-Clark, the FMCG giant behind brands including Andrex, Huggies and Kleenex, has seen gross profit fall 7% to $1.5bn (£1.1bn) over the third quarter of the year, as significant inflation and ongoing supply chain disruption drive up business costs.
Operating profit was also down, sliding by 1% to $657m (£477m). This is despite the business recording a 7% year-on-year increase in net sales, amounting to a little over $5bn (£3.6bn).
To help offset some of the rising costs, Kimberly-Clark reduced marketing, research and general spending over the quarter by 11% to $819m (£595m). While promising to continue investing its brands, chairman and CEO Mike Hsu says the company will be “disciplined” in its spending over the near future.
The business is now targeting organic sales decline of 1-2% for the end of 2021. The prior outlook was for organic sales decline of 0-2%. Adjusted operating profit is expected to decline 20-22% year-on-year, a notable drop from the previously anticipated decline of 11-14%.
“Our third quarter results reflect a dynamic and challenging macro environment,” Hsu says. “Our organic sales were strong, including double-digit growth in a number of our personal care markets, and improving performance in tissue and our professional business.”
However, costs increased “beyond what we anticipated”, he adds, and given the “significant and rapid” changes in the operating environment, the business has “reprioritised” investment spending.
“Our focus is to serve our consumers and we are investing in our supply chain to better meet the demand for our products. We have reduced spending in other areas such as advertising and general and administrative spending. We are being disciplined with the spending, ensuring we continue to invest in our brands and commercial capabilities around innovation, consumer insights, and digital for long-term growth,” he says.
“We will continue to invest in our brands and capabilities. Our strategy is working, and we remain confident in our future and our ability to create long-term shareholder value.”
Facebook profits surpass $9bn despite whistleblower scandal
The leak of tens of thousands of damaging documents has done little to slow Facebook’s growth, as the business saw profits rise 17% year-on-year to more than $9bn (£6.5bn) for the third quarter of 2021.
Total revenue was up 35% to $29bn (£21bn) thanks to a 33% increase in advertising revenues, hitting $28bn (£20.3bn). Daily active users rose by 6% compared to the same period last year, reaching an average of 1.93 billion for September, the company claims.
“We made good progress this quarter and our community continues to grow,” says founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. “I’m excited about our roadmap, especially around creators, commerce and helping to build the metaverse.”
Reports have suggested Facebook plans to change its corporate brand name this week, to better reflect its ambitions in the “metaverse”.
However, the business has been under intense scrutiny over recent weeks following the leak of thousands of internal documents by former employee and whistleblower Frances Haugen. Haugen yesterday testified in front of British MPs, calling for urgent external regulation to rein in the company’s management and limit societal harms.
Haugen said Facebook’s internal culture prioritised profitability over its impact on the world and accused management of having “no will” to make its platforms safer. In particular, she warned that Facebook-owned Instagram may never be safe for pre-teens.
“The last thing they see at night is someone being cruel to them. The first thing they see in the morning is a hateful statement and that is just so much worse,” she said.
She also laid blame for the world’s increasingly polarised politics at the door of social networks, claiming that small and intense communities formed on the platforms breed conspiracy theories and radicalisation. Facebook is “unquestionably making hate worse”, she said.
Tesla’s market value nears $1 trillion after Hertz order
Having received an order for 100,000 of its vehicles from rental company Hertz, Tesla is approaching a market valuation of $1tn (£727bn).
Following Hertz’s announcement yesterday (25 October), the electric car company’s shares rose by as much as 7% to as high as $973 (£707), according to the Guardian. To reach the trillion-dollar valuation, shares would have to hit $995.75 (£723).
Last quarter was a record three months for Tesla, with Model 3 becoming the bestselling car across Europe in September at 24,600 cars sold. Monthly sales charts across the region had never before been led by a battery electric vehicle.
Tesla also posted record profits over the quarter at $1.6bn (£1.2bn). The carmaker’s stock market value has climbed rapidly over the last two years as investors bet on electric cars in the build-up to government bans on petrol and diesel cars to meet climate targets.
Hertz, meanwhile, only filed for bankruptcy last year. The cars are to be delivered to the rental company by the end of 2022, as it invests in building the largest electric vehicle rental fleet in North America.
William Hill criticised over ‘loss leading’ hot food trial in betting shops
Anti-gambling campaigners have condemned bookmaker William Hill for introducing cheap hot food in its betting shops, accusing the brand of using the cafes as a tactic to keep customers in store longer.
Some items on offer are cheaper than at McDonald’s, with a sausage and egg muffin priced at £2 and a chicken burger costing £2.50, according to the Guardian. Campaigners said the new service appears to be a “loss leader”, a product that makes no money but is sold in order to attract customers.
Recovering gambling addict and founder of Clean Up Gambling, Matt Zarb-Cousin, said: “When the cheapest sausage and egg muffin on the high street is in William Hill, you start to wonder whether the food is there as a loss leader, in an attempt to generate new customers.”
In response, a spokesperson said William Hill is trialling ‘WH Cafes’ in five of its 1,408 UK shops, and currently has no plans for an estate-wide rollout despite positive early feedback from customers.
“The WH Cafe concept was born out of customer suggestions, and it is aimed at improving our customer experience and not at increasing the amount of time they spend in our shops,” said the brand.
The gambling industry is currently under increased scrutiny, as the government gears up to publish a whitepaper expected to introduce much stricter regulations.
Mars’s Thomas Delabriere departs for new role
Thomas Delabriere, global chief marketing officer at Mars’s lead healthy snack brand Kind, is leaving the company this week to take up an as-yet undisclosed role.
Delabriere joined the confectionery giant almost 10 years ago as a business unit director, based in the UK. Over the years he advanced through senior marketing roles across the world, in cities including Dubai, Beijing and Shanghai. He took over leadership of the Kind International brand in July 2018, before becoming global chief marketing officer in June last year.
Prior to Mars, Delabriere held roles including marketing director of Innocent Drinks, marketing director at PepsiCo, marketing manager at Danone and senior category manager at Unilever.
“This is my last week at Mars,” Delabriere wrote on LinkedIn. “When I joined the business in Slough, the ‘home of chocolate’, I would have never thought I would spend such [an] amazing 10 years at Mars.
“With its ‘Five Principles’, Mars is definitively a unique company which will stay close to my heart…I will start an exciting new job in another great company in a few weeks.”
Mars’ ‘Five Principles’ are the foundation of how the company conducts business, revolving around quality, responsibility, mutuality, efficiency and freedom.
Monday, 25 October
Tesco website and app restored after hack
Tesco’s website and app are back up and running, almost 48 hours after a potential hack saw customers unable to order goods or track deliveries.
According to the retailer attempts had been made to “interfere” with Tesco’s systems, beginning on Saturday morning. The supermarket first described the disruption as an “issue”, before explaining on Sunday that there was no reason to believe the issue had impacted customer data and it was taking “ongoing action to make sure all data stays safe”.
The statement added: “An attempt was made to interfere with our systems which has caused problems with the search function on the site. We’re working hard to fully restore all services and apologise for the inconvenience.”
Shoppers have since complained about the lack of information from the supermarket and sought refunds, as well as the option to cancel orders.
By around midnight on Monday morning the site was restored, with Tesco putting shoppers in a temporary virtual waiting room to help manage the volume of orders.
Earlier this month, Tesco credited its digital platforms for the supermarket’s strong performance during the first half of its current financial year. Online like-for-like sales were up by 2.3%, equating to a 74.1% rise compared to pre-pandemic figures from two years ago. More than 20 million households now have a Tesco Clubcard and there are 6.6 million users of the retailer’s app.
Tesco is not alone in experiencing website issues. Facebook suffered a six-hour outage across Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp earlier this month, due to what the social media giant described as a faulty configuration change.
The company insisted there was “no evidence” user data was compromised, although the cause of the outage impacted many of Facebook’s own internal systems, such as emails and messaging tool Workspace, complicating attempts to solve the problem.
Facebook whistleblower prepares to give evidence to MPs
Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen is set to testify in front of MPs today at the joint committee scrutinising a draft online safety bill proposed to protect users.
The online safety bill would place a duty of care on social media companies to protect users from harmful content and enable regulator Ofcom to fine those found to be in breach of the rules a maximum fine of 10% of global turnover.
Speaking to the Observer over the weekend, Haugen described Facebook CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg as failing to show any desire to protect users: “Right now, Mark is unaccountable. He has all the control. He has no oversight, and he has not demonstrated that he is willing to govern the company at the level that is necessary for public safety.”
The former Facebook product manager called for all shareholders to be given an equal say in a ‘one share, one vote’ system. However, Haugen believes Zuckerberg would not be open to this arrangement as it could mean they may “choose other leadership if they had an option.”
So far, Haugen has released tens of thousands of internal documents she says she took having realised “the company would not change otherwise”, which have been disclosed to the US Securities and Exchange Commission and Congress.
The latest revelations, reported by the New York Times, suggest workers repeatedly warned that Facebook was being flooded with false claims about the 2020 presidential election result being fraudulent and believed the company should have done more to tackle it. The information also raises concerns about the role the social media platform played in the Capitol riots in January, when a mob of Trump supporters stormed the US Congress.
In response to the latest claims exposed by Haugen, Facebook suggested the stories are based on a “false” premise: “Yes, we’re a business and we make profit, but the idea that we do so at the expense of people’s safety or wellbeing misunderstands where our commercial interests lie. The truth is we’ve invested $13bn and have over 40,000 people to do one job: keep people safe on Facebook.”
The social media giant is also expected to reveal a rebranded corporate identity on Thursday, with reports suggesting Facebook plans to change the name of its holding company – not that of the platform itself – to a new name linked to the word Horizon.
TSB rejects £1bn Co-op Bank takeover bid
TSB has rejected a takeover bid from the Co-operative Bank valuing the business at more than £1bn. According to Sky News, TSB owner Banco Sabadell does not wish to explore the transaction “at this moment”.
Co-operative Bank had initially wanted to buy TSB when the business was being floated by then owner Lloyds Banking Group in 2013. However, the deal fell apart after the scale of the financial crisis within Co-operative Bank was revealed. The bank was taken over by private equity firms in a break from previous owner, the Co-op Group. TSB was eventually bought in 2015 by Spanish banking group Sabadell for £1.7bn.
If a future takeover deal was to be approved by the TSB owner it would create a bank with 8 million customers, spanning mortgages, current accounts, credit cards and savings products, as well as 350 UK branches. A combined TSB and Co-operative Bank business would be larger in customer numbers than Virgin Money, at approximately 6.5 million.
Sabadell embarked on a review of its UK businesses earlier this year which, while it concluded the company should retain its British operations, also signalled the group could welcome takeover bids.
TSB is in the process of a turnaround, following its 2018 failed IT migration which cost the business £366m. Issues lasted for six weeks, with some customers gaining access to other customer’s accounts. TSB chief executive Paul Pester resigned four months later.
However, TSB appears to be turning a corner having posted a profit of £21.4m during the first half of this year, its first profit for a decade.
Las Iguanas owner to invest £50m in restaurant rollout
Owner of the Las Iguanas, Bella Italia and Café Rouge chains, The Big Table Group, is planning to open 50 new restaurants as part of a £50m investment in the UK casual dining sector.
The Times reports that the Big Table Group, formerly known as the Casual Dining Group, plans to pump £35m into opening new restaurants and a further £19m renovating the existing estate, with 70 projects planned. The rollout is expected to create 1,250 jobs.
A particular focus will be on Las Iguanas, with 35 of the 50 new sites set to be under the Latin American restaurant and bar brand, doubling the existing number. The Big Table Group claims that the chain, which was “thriving” pre-pandemic, has exceeded expectations since reopening post-lockdown. Las Iguanas joined the group in 2015.
In February, The Big Table Group also announced it was creating a new premium Italian restaurant brand, Amalfi, inspired by the food and drink served on the Amalfi Coast. The creation of the new brand formed part of an agreement to extend the group’s residency at Center Parcs holiday locations, where the business currently operates 12 restaurants.
The Big Table Group was formed in August 2020 by private equity firm Epiris, which acquired the Casual Dining Group from administration, preserving more than 4,000 jobs across the UK and over 150 restaurants. At the time the Casual Dining Group fell into administration in July 2020 it was forced to close 91 restaurants, with the loss of 1,900 jobs.
Tesco’s Alessandra Bellini named AA president
Tesco chief customer officer Alessandra Bellini is to become the new president of the Advertising Association (AA), following the end of the three-year tenure of former Unilever marketing boss Keith Weed.
As president, Bellini will guide the strategic direction of the association’s work as it delivers on its mission to promote the role and rights of responsible advertising and its value to people, society, businesses and the economy.
In her role, the Tesco marketing boss will work with AA chair and PHD worldwide CEO Philippa Brown, and AA chief executive Stephen Woodford, to lead the council, which comprises media owners, agencies, brands and trade bodies.
The association’s current workstreams include rebuilding public trust in advertising through its ‘Trust’ campaign, building a fully inclusive workplace through the ‘All In’ platform and taking action on climate change through Ad Net Zero. In addition, the president will support the direction of the association’s work around major regulatory issues and the promotion of UK advertising as a global hub for the world’s advertisers.
Bellini joins as the association holds its global Ad Net Zero summit next month to provide a platform around Cop26 for a conversation about advertising’s response to the climate emergency, backed by the launch of a new training qualification.
Furthermore, as the industry emerges from the pandemic, she will play a crucial role in advancing the position of advertising as a pillar of the UK’s £110bn creative economy, as well as continuing to engage with the government on proposals and regulations affecting the sector’s digital markets.
“At a time when the industry is emerging from the pandemic and customer behaviour is evolving, responsible advertising has never been more important,” says Bellini. “It’s a privilege to represent members and I look forward to working with Stephen, Philippa and the team as we build on the fantastic work over the last few years and set an example on the issues that really matter.”
Woodford notes the importance of Bellini’s international experience in board-level positions as making her “perfectly placed to advocate for the strength and economic position of the UK’s advertising industry”.
“Her strategic guidance on issues of key important facing the industry will be invaluable as we look to build out ‘All In’ work on inclusion, as well as push forward with support for Ad Net Zero, to ensure our workforce is best-equipped to respond to the climate crisis,” Woodford adds.
“It is a crucial time for the industry, as we face many challenges in the form of upcoming government legislation on gambling, along with a review into online advertising – all of this tempered with rising digital ad spend.”
Bellini joined Tesco as chief customer officer in March 2017, a role which spans marketing, advertising, innovation, loyalty and insight. Prior to joining the supermarket, she worked for Unilever for over two decades and in the advertising world, both in Italy and the UK, for 12 years.