Sky Bet, Klarna, Nokia: 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.

SkyBet Ad

Sky Bet’s Declaration of Hope on eve of new football season

British-based gambling brand Sky Bet is welcoming back domestic football with a ‘2021 Start of the Season’ campaign featuring famous Sky Sports presenters, former players and thousands of fans.

The campaign includes television, digital, social and CRM, with the fans taking part in an online ‘hope survey’ measuring expectations of the new season, which kicks off on 6 August with the Championship game between Bournemouth and West Brom.

In one sequence, former Liverpool player Jamie Carragher holds a red flower set alight like a torch as he declares the he hopes his old team “blaze back up top”, only for former World Cruiserweight champion and Everton fan Tony Bellew to drown him out with the help of a fire hydrant.

“We believe this is our most integrated campaign to date, with the role of paid, earned and owned, aligning perfectly behind the single idea of ‘hope’, helping us to really stand out at the start of season,” says Sky Bet’s head of brand and creative Ross Sewley.

Klarna aims to help SMEs with Small Business Support Package

Payments and shopping service Klarna has invested £3m in a Small Business Support Package to help British SMEs recover from the effects of the pandemic.

With research revealing that a quarter of respondents are worried that their business won’t survive the next two years and nearly a half (46%) saying that their main priority is simply to stay afloat over the next six months, the package will provide support to 100 retail-based SMEs.

That includes office space, customer acquisition and advertising support, as well as ‘All Access’ WeWork passes valid for three months, use of Klarna’s products for one year and £15,000 of Klarna media services.

The SME recipients of the package will be decided by a panel of judges that includes Matt Vickers MP for Stockton South and co-chair of the APPG on Future of Retail Matt Vickers, head of UK for Klarna Alex Marsh and WeWork’s general manager, UK, Ireland & emerging markets Mathieu Proust.

“SMEs are at the core of our economy and it’s vital that they’re given all the tools they need to survive,” says Marsh.

“At Klarna, we are determined to help small retailers navigate their way back to pre-pandemic levels and we hope that this fund, together with our Accelerator Program, will inspire and boost confidence across the SME sector.”

Nokia sets the ‘Toughest Test’ for life-proof phone

Nokia’s ‘Toughest Test’ ad for its XR20 phone features celebrated Brazilian footballer Roberto Carlos alongside world champion freestyler Lisa Zimouche.

The pair put the 5G smartphone through its paces, testing to the full its claims to be ‘life-proof’, including Roberto Carlos recreating his famous free kick against France in 1997.

The Nokia XR20 has been created to withstand extreme temperatures, 1.8m drops and one hour under water.

The two players took over a Madrid playground to kick, juggle, flip, spin and propel the headset through the air, before allowing it to have a well-deserved breather in a bucket of iced water.

The slot ends with Roberto Carlos setting a ball down, stepping back and letting fly with one of his trademark banana shots, aimed straight at a Nokia XR20 dangling invitingly from an open goal.

The phone duly crashes to the ground, but not before capturing the ball hurtling towards it on its 48MP ZEISS Optics dual camera.

BRC-LDV report finds one in seven shops still shuttered

The BRC-LDV vacancy monitor for the second quarter of 2021 has found that the overall British retail vacancy rate increased from 14.1% to 14.5%, continuing a trend of quarterly increases that has now stretched to three years.

Shopping centre vacancies now stand at 19.4% (up from 18.4% in Q1), High Street stores remain in line with the overall figure at 14.5% (up from 14.1%) while the figure for retail parks are up to 11.5% (from 10.6%).

“It comes as no surprise that the number of shuttered stores in the UK continues to rise, after retailers have been in and out of lockdown for over a year,” says BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson.

“While vacancy rates are rising across all retail locations, it is shopping centres, with a high proportion of fashion retailers, that have been the hardest hit by the pandemic.

Almost one in five shopping centre units now lie empty, and more than one in eight units have been empty for more than a year.

“The regional contrast is stark – the south of England, including London, has seen lower vacancy rates, while the North, where disposable income is lower, continues to have a higher proportion of closed shops.”

Dickinson warns that the rate could rise further now that the Covid business rates holiday has ended and is urging the government to review the current system to help reduce the cost burden for businesses.

“The longer the current system persists, the more jobs losses and vacant shops we will see, hurting staff, customers and communities up and down the country,” she says.

Subscription economy set to be worth £1bn next year

A report from City AM in conjunction with Finder concludes that the UK subscription economy is on course to be worth £1bn in market value by 2022.

With an estimated 6.3m of us aged 18 or over using subscription box services, the most popular include Amazon Prime, Graze and Nextunlimited, with sectors like food, razors and shaving, perfume and cosmetics and clothing all booming.

The report says that the increase is being driven by younger consumers, with 3.37m 18-34-year-olds signed up to subscriptions compared to just 616,000 over 55s.

READ MORE: Generation Amazon: Subscription lifestyle market to swell to £1bn by next year

Thursday, 29 July

Diageo ups marketing spend to unlock sales growth

Drinks group Diageo increased its investment in marketing by nearly a quarter to deliver strong sales growth for the year ending 30 June, according to its 2021 Preliminary Results published this morning.

The group reported net sales up by 8.3% to £12.7bn, for an operating profit of £3.7bn. It saw growth in all regions except for Europe and Turkey.

There was broad growth across all product categories and the group grew or maintained market share in off trade sales in all markets; on-trade sales were restricted in many markets due to Covid-19, with European beer sales hit hard by lockdowns.

While dealing with short-term uncertainty due to the pandemic Diageo opted to invest in long-term growth. Marketing spend was up by 23%, and the group increased investment to boost production capacity, digital capabilities, consumer experiences and sustainability.

“I believe that our foundation, built through outstanding brand-building, active portfolio management, consumer-led innovation, smart investment in data analytics tools and embedding a culture of everyday efficiency, has been a key competitive advantage for Diageo,” says chief executive Ivan Menezes.

“We were well-positioned to successfully manage the challenges created by Covid-19, we have responded quickly to changing consumer trends and we have emerged stronger.”

Facebook warns that growth set to slow after strong Q2

FacebookAdvertising revenue at Facebook increased by 56% in the three months to the end of June, compared to the same period last year, but the social media group has cautioned that its growth is set to slow in the second half of the year.

The company saw ad revenue of $28.5bn during the its second quarter, for total revenue of $29bn and profits of $10.4bn.

According to Facebook it benefitted from a 47% increase in the average price paid per ad and a 6% increase in the number of ads delivered as brands targeted consumers during lockdowns around the world. While it expects the growth in ad prices to continue Facebook says its growth rate will slow “as we lap periods of increasingly strong growth”. Changes to ad targeting caused by platform and regulatory updates will also create headwinds, the brand says in its results statement.

“We had a strong quarter as we continue to help businesses grow and people stay connected,” said Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. “I’m excited to see our major initiatives around creators and community, commerce, and building the next computing platform coming together to start to bring the vision of the metaverse to life.”

ASA calls for better ad targeting of alcohol, gambling and HFSS products

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is calling on advertisers to make better use of online targeting technology to minimise children’s exposure to age-restricted ads on mixed-audience websites.

Advertisers are not allowed to show age-restricted ads in children’s media, but they may show such ads in mixed-age media that are heavily weighted – over 75% – to adult audiences. The ASA’s latest proactive monitoring sweep has used avatar technology to assess the distribution of ads for alcohol, gambling and high fat, salt or sugar (HFSS) products in websites and YouTube channels that attract such mixed-age audiences.

The ASA used avatars to identify how these ads were delivered to adult, child and/or age-unknown audience groups. The avatars were constructed to reflect the online browsing profile of particular age groups although their automated actions – visiting 250 pages on desktop and mobile devices, twice a day – are not indicative of real world behaviour.

The study found that gambling ads were served in broadly similar numbers to child and adult avatars, though the neutral avatar was served fewer gambling ads in mixed-age media.

HFSS ads were served in similar numbers to both adult and child avatars, with more served to the neutral avatar. Alcohol ads were not served to any avatars.

“We call on advertisers to make better use of targeting tools to minimise children’s exposure to dynamically served age-restricted ads. And we call on third parties involved in the distribution of these ads to ensure the data and modelling on which those tools rely are as effective as they can be,” says ASA chief executive Guy Parker.

“Finally, we will be exploring whether the report should lead to more prescriptive measures relating to dynamically-served age-restricted ads. This latest monitoring sweep is just one part of a wider set of initiatives where we’re harnessing technology, all with the aim of ensuring children are protected online.”

Coca-Cola enters NFT market

Coca-Cola has launched virtual wearable items as its first-ever NFTs (non-fungible tokens) as part of a campaign to celebrate International Friendship Day tomorrow (30 July).

The NFTs, created with avatar and digital wearables specialist Tafi, will be auctioned on NFT marketplace OpenSea and can be worn in virtual world Decentraland.

“Coca-Cola is one of the most collectible brands in the world, sharing its rich heritage with consumers through simple moments of joy for decades,” says global Coca-Cola trademark president Selman Careaga. “We are excited to share our first NFTs with the metaverse where new friendships are being forged in new ways in new worlds. Each NFT was created to celebrate elements that are core to the Coca-Cola brand reinterpreted for a virtual world in new and exciting ways.”

“As digital artists ourselves, we recognize that the Coca-Cola brand and its enduring values have inspired innovators and artists across three different centuries. It’s a thrill to partner with people who are filled with such creative energy and care about building fans in the metaverse,” says Tafi CEO Ty Duperron. “This is truly history-in-the making and it is our hope that this inaugural collection of Coca-Cola NFTs will delight and inspire fans and collectors for centuries to come.”

Sports Direct celebrates going back to school

Sports Direct’s latest campaign, called ‘School Starts Here’ launches today. Starring TikTok celebrities Ollie Ball and Jacob Pasquill the campaign is described as an unfiltered and uplifting celebration of teenagers returning to school.

The £2.5m campaign will use TV, OOH, social media and in-store applications in a bid to capture the buzz of pupils returning to school – ready to show off the sporting skills they have honed during lockdown. The ads will launch during Love Island.

“School has been the starting point for countless inspiring sports careers. For many, Sports Direct is where they pick up their first pair of football boots, PE kits or school kicks to empower them on their journey,” says Sports Direct CMO Beckie Stanion.

“After what has been a tremendously difficult school year interrupted by lockdowns and time apart from friends, we wanted to launch a campaign that encourages young people to return to school feeling confident, invincible and ready to take on the world. With the biggest and best range of back to school kit on the market, Sports Direct has everything you need to start the new school year in style.”

Wednesday, 28 July

Apple, Alphabet and Microsoft see quarterly profits surge amid pandemic

Tech giants Apple, Alphabet and Microsoft have reported surges in profits as consumers under lockdown upgraded devices and cloud storage.

Profits for Apple almost doubled to $21.7bn (£15.6bn) in the three months ending 30 June, as customers bought more expensive 5G iPhones and signed up for its music and TV services.

The California-based tech giant highlighted China as its fastest-growing market, where consumers also bought accessories such as the Apple Watch.

CEO Tim Cook says: “This quarter, our teams built on a period of unmatched innovation by sharing powerful new products with our users, at a time when using technology to connect people everywhere has never been more important”.

Alphabet, the parent company of Google, has reported record highs in its sales and profits, as brands boosted online adverting spend due to the fact customers were stuck at home shopping online.

Its YouTube platform saw advertising revenue jump to $7bn in the three months ending 30 June, from $3.81bn in the year prior.

Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai noted the “rising tide of online activity in many parts of the world”.

Microsoft’s profits grew 47% year-on-year to $16.5bn as demand for personal computers, cloud services and gaming spiked.

READ MORE: Tech giants’ profits soar as pandemic boom continues

Mattel warns of higher toy prices before Christmas

Toymaker Mattel has warned it will raise prices in the run-up to the festive season as the industry is hit with rising costs.

The marker of the iconic Barbie doll blames the possibility of increased prices on the increase in raw material costs and shipping, as the global economy recovers from the pandemic.

The toy industry was hit by the shuttering of stores, but Mattel beat forecasts with sales of more than $1bn (£720m). Mattel chief executive Ynon Kreiz told the BBC the increase in prices will occur in the second half of the year and the company hasn’t detailed which lines will be affected.

Kreiz also points to rivals having to raise prices due to the global landscape: “We’re not the only ones who did it, in our industry everyone did – and no-one is surprised by [price increases].”

Mattel’s net sales in the second quarter grew by 40% year-on-year to $1.03bn (£742m), beating Wall Street forecasts.

READ MORE: Toy giant Mattel warns of higher prices as costs rise

Morrisons’ biggest stakeholder will not back takeover

MorrisonsMorrisons’ largest shareholder says it will not back the £6.3bn takeover deal for the supermarket chain.

Silchester International, which owns a 15.14% stake in Morrisons, said in a statement it is “not inclined to support” the agreed deal with fellow private equity firm Fortress.

It says there was “little in the recommended offer that could not be achieved by the supermarket as a listed company”. Silchester International added: “Silchester encourages Morrisons’ board to allow more time to respond to other parties who might offer better value to Morrisons’ public shareholders.”

Shareholders in the supermarket are to vote on the offer on 16 August. The retailer’s board of directors have backed the takeover, which is priced at 252p per share, and a conditional special dividend of 2p per share.

Morrisons’ is the fourth-largest grocer in the UK with almost 500 shops and over 110,000 staff. It previously turned down a takeover bid worth £5.5bn from US investment firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, stating this was an undervalued bid.

McDonald’s spices up campaign with first rapper collaboration

Fast-food giant McDonald’s UK has partnered with British rapper AJ Tracey on the launch of its new McSpicy burger by releasing a music video with the artist.

The rapper will sing his new track ‘Summertime Shootout’ in the video which also features US artist T-Pain. Previous music videos from AJ Tracey have peaked at number one and three on YouTube’s UK trending list, with the musician gaining over one million global streams.

The music video takes inspiration from 90s summer BBQs and shows AJ Tracey, T-Pain and other well-known faces such as TV personality and rapper Big Zuu.

McDonald’s launched the McSpicy burger on 14 July, it is a spicy chicken fillet with lettuce and mayo on a sesame seed bun. In a wider PR and media campaign, the brand has been encouraging people to join the #McSpicyDebate on social by asking: ‘How spicy is it for you?’

McDonald’s UK and Ireland marketing and media Steve Howells says: “This is our first-ever collaboration of this kind in the UK and featuring in the summer’s hottest music video seems perfect for our hottest ever burger. We’re delighted to partner with AJ Tracey on this campaign and cannot wait to see the full video later this summer.”

Pizza Hut launches Beyond Meat pizzas

Pizza Hut Delivery and Beyond Meat have partnered up to launch three new meat-free pizzas as the fast-food brand aims to tap into the rising demand for plant-based and meat-free choices.

Creative agency Iris worked with both brands to offer customers meat-free twists on menu staples.

A 30-second ad shows Pizza Hut’s ambassador Parker J Patterson sitting in a ransacked office with a Lion, which foregoes eating Patterson for a meat-free pizza, alluding to how the plant-based alternatives are indistinguishable from meat pizzas.

Pizza Hut chief brand officer Amelia Riba says: “Here at Pizza Hut Delivery we’re so excited to be bringing Beyond Meat Pizzas to our menu permanently, which we’re confident deliver the same amazing taste of our classic menu that our customers know and love.

“That’s why we’ve enlisted Parker, but it only felt right that we paired him with the King of all carnivores – Clarence – to bring to life just how delicious the new meat-free pizzas are, with a taste so meaty and alluring not even a lion can resist.”

Tuesday, 27 July

Just Eat Takeaway at risk of hostile takeover, warns major investor

One of Just Eat Takeaway’s (JET) largest stakeholders has warned the recently formed business it must consider further mergers or risk a hostile takeover.

Cat Rock Capital, which owned a stake in both Just Eat and prior to the £6bn merger last year, has called for the group to act now to boost its share price.

It has blamed the 27% drop in the group’s share price on “broken communication” with investors, according to the Financial Times.

It was Cat Rock that first pushed Just Eat to consider the merger with in 2019 and it is now urging the firm to explore other options with global players given its “high strategic value” as Europe’s largest food delivery business.

Cat Rock founder and managing partner Alex Captain believes Just Eat Takeaway should consider an all-stock merger with companies such as DoorDash, Delivery Hero, China’s Meituan or Amazon, suggesting if it doesn’t “take action” now it will leave itself “vulnerable to a lowball bid in the near term”.

Captain adds: “While we have been pleased with JET’s strong operational performance under CEO Jitse Groen and his team, we have been deeply disappointed by the company’s poor handling of its relationship with investors.

“JET’s deeply flawed communication has made it the worst-performing online food delivery stock over the past two years despite strong operational performance.”

Cat Rock’s decision to make its warning public, follows a complaint made by activist shareholder, Oceanwood Capital Management, in a private letter to the management team last month. It too raised concerns about unwanted takeover interest.

READ MORE: Just Eat Takeaway risks hostile takeover, warns activist investor

Virgin Media O2 launches databank to help end data poverty

Virgin Media O2 has created a National Databank to provide free mobile data to those who need it as part of a tie-up with the Good Things Foundation.

It comes as the newly merged business says more than 7 million people across the UK do not have access to mobile data or broadband at home.

The National Databank will launch with 7.5 million GB of O2 mobile data worth £12.5m, with the aim of helping more than 200,000 people get connected by the end of 2023. It will be open to all mobile operators, with Virgin Media O2 calling on other networks to join the initiative.

Data will be distributed to community organisations via Good Things Foundation. Its network of 5,000 community groups will be able to access free data voucher codes and SIM cards, with those receiving free data also eligible for additional support such as digital skills training.

Virgin Media O2 says it’s donation is enough to provide 319 million hours of internet use. In addition to the £12.5m worth of data it has pledged, it is also donating £500,000 to Good Things Foundation to cover the operational cost of running the databank.

The initiative will be trialled with 10 community organisations in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland for three months initially before being rolled out nationwide

Lutz Schüler, CEO of Virgin Media O2, says he wants to “build a lasting legacy from the pandemic” and is asking competitors in the mobile industry to “help end data poverty for good”.

“The pandemic has escalated the UK’s data poverty crisis like never before – and with many millions of people facing digital exclusion, now is the time to come together and close the gap on digital inequality,” he says.

“Our industry has done remarkable things in recent months to keep customers connected when they needed it most, but it can’t stop there.”

Selfridges goes up for auction with £4bn starting price

Luxury department store chain Selfridges is being put up for auction, with its owners putting a £4bn starting price on the business.

The chain, which is owned by the Weston family – one of Canada’s wealthiest – received an anonymous bid for its European assets last month, after which it said it might consider a sale. It follows the death of 80-year-old W Galen Weston – the head of the family – who oversaw the £628m acquisition of Selfridges in 2003.

Selfridges’ four UK stores, alongside Brown Thomas and Arnotts in Ireland and De Bijenkorf in the Netherlands will be part of the deal.

The Weston family has appointed Credit Suisse to manage the auction.

READ MORE: Selfridges to be auctioned off with £4bn starting price

Tesla’s quarterly profits pass $1bn for the first time

TeslaElectric car maker Tesla has recorded a quarterly profit of $1.1bn (£796m), the first time it has passed the milestone in its history. It is up from $104m during the same period last year, thanks to a boost in sales of its cheaper Model 3 sedan and Model Y.

It comes as revenues more than doubled to $12bn (£8.6bn) in the three months to the end of June, ahead of the $11.3bn forecast by analysts.

The firm says it delivered a record 200,000 vehicles during the period after overcoming supply chain issues and a shortage of semiconductor chips.

The company, which is led by billionaire Elon Musk, added that public support for greener, electric vehicles “seems to be at a never-before-seen inflection point”.

READ MORE Tesla profit surge driven by record car deliveries

Tesco Bank to shut all current accounts

Tesco Bank is set to close all 213,000 current accounts after admitting very few customers are still using them, saying most show “limited activity”.

It also says just 12% of customers are using its current account as their primary account and most people are using them for “other purposes” such as a “savings pot”. Savings accounts will remain open.

The decision comes after the bank recorded a £175m loss in April compared to the £193m profit it make in the year before. Tesco Bank stopped accepting new business in December.

Customers will receive a letter in the next two weeks informing them their accounts will be closing on 30 November. It says it will help customers find a “suitable alternative” depending on their circumstances.

READ MORE: Tesco Bank to close all its current accounts

Monday, 26 July

Activision Blizzard sued over ‘frat boy culture’

Following a two-year investigation, California is taking video games company Activision Blizzard to court over allegations of sexual harassment, unequal pay and discrimination against its female employees.

The company behind Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and Candy Crush has been accused of cultivating an internal “frat boy culture” by the state’s department of fair employment and housing (DFEH).

The complaint, filed last week, claims female employees at Activision Blizzard started on lower pay and earned less than male employees doing similar work. The company has also been accused of allowing male employees to play video games while delegating their responsibilities to women.

Women were allegedly subjected to “cube crawls”, in which inebriated male employees crawled through office cubicles and engaged in inappropriate behaviour. The DFEH’s investigation also found male employees joked about rape and their sexual encounters.

Women of colour were particularly discriminated against, while formal complaints were dismissed and not kept confidential.

The government agency said it had tried to resolve the issue with Activision Blizzard without resorting to litigation, but had been unsuccessful. It is now seeking punitive and compensatory damages, penalties under the Equal Pay Act, and back pay.

“Female employees are subjected to constant sexual harassment,” the DFEH alleged. “High ranking executives and creators engaged in blatant sexual harassment without repercussions.”

In an initial statement responding to the allegations, Activision Blizzard called the complaint “distorted” and “in many cases, false”. The company said the accusations did not reflect the workplace “of today” and pointed towards new anti-harassment trainings and a confidential line for employees to report violations.

Subsequent internal emails from Blizzard president J Allen Brack and Activision president Rob Kostich admitted the allegations were “unacceptable” and “disturbing”, though did not affirm that such behaviour had occurred.

Over 20 Activision Blizzard employees have publicly criticised the response, with some refusing to work for a day in solidarity with the victims.

According to the DFEH, only 20% of Activision Blizzard’s 9,500 employees are women, with leadership primarily white and male.

Former Burger King CMO Fernando Machado took on the CMO role at the company earlier this year, after seven years with the fast food business.

READ MORE: California sues Activision Blizzard over alleged harassment

BT unveils ‘Wall of Hope’ to memorialise Rashford messages

Under the banner of its ‘Hope United’ campaign, BT has commissioned a ‘Wall of Hope’ to preserve the tribute messages left to England squad member Marcus Rashford.

The virtual wall will house all the supportive messages left on the Marcus Rashford mural in Withington over the last two weeks, which were added as the footballer endured racist abuse on social media following the final of the Euros 2020.

A physical ‘Hope Beats Hate’ mural has also been created on the walls of Kingsway Football Club, in close proximity to the Rashford artwork. The mural, created and designed by local artists and commissioned by Withington Walls, includes a QR code for visitors to scan and access the Wall of Hope.

The move comes as Manchester City Council removes the messages on the Marcus Rashford mural to protect them from the weather and safeguard them.

“The Marcus Rashford mural has become an amazing, colourful wall of tributes and a symbol of hope to so many people,” says the CEO of BT’s consumer division, Marc Allera.

“We felt it was important to keep the positive messages alive and create a digital platform for everyone across the country to be able to share the messages of hope.”

BT launched the Hope United campaign in May to tackle online hate. The concept, developed by ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi, sees a diverse team of male and female footballers from across the Home Nations come together for the first time in a multi-million pound marketing campaign. The team includes the likes of Rio Ferdinand and Karen Carney.

Saatchi & Saatchi worked with digital agency Digitas in building the Wall of Hope, while physical ideation, activation and PR has been handled by Pitch Marketing Group.

Ecommerce and online video to fuel adspend recovery

Global advertising expenditure will grow 11.2% in 2021, driven by increased demand for ecommerce and online video, according to the latest Advertising Expenditure Forecasts from Zenith.

A total of £522bn is expected to be spent on advertising this year, £31bn more than was spend before the pandemic in 2019.

In the UK alone, adspend is expected to grow 13.5%, 8.5% higher than 2019. Three quarters of that spend will be on digital advertising, Zenith says, rising to 77% in 2023. This puts the UK well ahead of the global market, where digital is to take a 58% share this year.

While ecommerce growth is expected to slow as pandemic restrictions ease, Zenith expects the channel to continue to pull in advertising spend around the world, driving 13% growth in social media spend and 12% growth in search in 2022.

However, online video advertising is forecast to be the fastest-growing digital channel in 2021, with spend rising 26% globally to reach £49bn.

Meanwhile, Zenith predicts global social media advertising will expand by 25% this year to reach £107bn, overtaking paid search in scale for the first time. Paid search will grow by 19% to reach £105bn.

“As spend continues to follow fragmenting attention across channels and demographics, marketers are going to have to be really focused on understanding where the incrementality is coming from,” says Zenith UK’s chief strategy officer, Richard Kirk.

“Fail to solve this challenge and the danger is brands will simply erode their margins advertising to consumers who were on their way to buy anyway.”

Tobacco company Philip Morris calls for UK cigarette ban

Philip Morris International (PMI), the company behind the Marlboro cigarette brand, has called on the UK government to ban all cigarettes within the next 10 years.

CEO Jacek Olczak said cigarettes should be treated like petrol cars, which are to be banned from sale from 2030. Speaking to the Sunday Telegraph, Olczak claimed government action would end confusion about whether alternatives to cigarettes, such as vapes, are in fact “worse”.

“Give them a choice of smoke-free alternatives… [and] with the right regulation and information [an end to smoking] can happen 10 years from now in some countries. You can solve the problem once and forever,” Olczak said.

Earlier this month, Philip Morris acquired British pharmaceutical company Ventura for £1bn. Anti-smoking campaigners blasted the move and accused the tobacco firm of hypocrisy, as Ventura is known for producing asthma inhalers and other respiratory treatments.

However, PMI has said it plans to make $1bn in revenues from non-nicotine products by 2025 and has identified respiratory drugs as a key focus. The business is aiming for tobacco revenues to account for less than half its total income that year, as it transitions into a “health and wellness company”.

READ MORE: Marlboro maker calls for cigarette ban in Britain

Old El Paso hopes to score slam dunk with new summer challenge

Mexican food brand Old El Paso is bringing back its #MessFreeChallenge campaign to help fight food insecurity.

Partnering with FareShare, the UK’s largest charity fighting hunger and food waste, Old El Paso will challenge customers of its Westfield Stratford food truck to score a slam dunk with a tortilla pocket.

Every dunk scored will allow the brand to donate 10 meal products to FareShare. Participants can double the donation by sharing their ‘dunk cam’ moments on Instagram.

People can also take part in the challenge from home or at local courts. Kicking off on July 28, the brand hopes to donate over 35,000 products to support UK families in need.

The campaign will be supported by basketball-themed social media activity and a pop-up billboard in the Westfield Stratford shopping centre. Old El Paso has also brought in members of the Diversity Dance Troop, Ashley and Jordan Banjo, to take on the challenge and promote it through Instagram.

“We at Old El Paso are thrilled to take our Slam Dunk #MessFreeChallenge up a notch this year, extending the reach of the campaign in the UK with our interactive billboard activation and having the support of influential sports and cultural figures,” says head of brand experience Sarah Hanley.

The campaign is part of a wider global initiative, which last year saw the brand donate 20,000 meal kits to people in the UK and over 100,000 worldwide.

Hanley continues: “We cannot wait to see the Slam Dunk gather momentum across social media. The more people that get involved, the more donations we can make to support vulnerable UK families, which is a key tenet for us as a brand and company to be a real force for good.

The concept for the campaign was conceived by Australian agency Thinkerbell, with Space delivering the UK experiential activation.



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