Sports Direct, Lavazza, Guinness: 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.

Sports Direct

Sports Direct launches campaign for UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 tournament

Sports Direct has launched its “Girls Don’t Like Football, We Love It” campaign for the 2022 Women’s Euro tournament, as the brand aims to “make sport equal for all”.

The new multi-million campaign features TV, OOH, in-store, content, media and influencers as it aims to use the “energy” of the tournament to increase the visibility of its sporting figures.

It also aims to “re-establish” football as an inclusive sport for everybody, to show the “next generation” of women that the game is for them.

The campaign features a range of football figures, from current players to England’s first female players from 1971. Sports Direct worked with COPA90 on the campaign to research the women’s football landscape “from the bottom up”.

“Back in the day, only little boys were allowed to dream of being ballers. In modern Britain it’s the dream of young girls too. As we have seen, the cycle of momentum around the women’s game is driven by international tournaments, and in the past couple of years every aspect of the game has hit the accelerator,” says Sports Direct CMO Beckie Stanion.

“We wanted to create a campaign that used this tournament as a catalyst for a new era of women’s football in the UK,” she adds.

Lavazza in talks with retailers amidst cost of living crisis

Coffee brand Lavazza is talking to retailers about how to manage rising costs, as prices continue to rise amidst the cost of living crisis.

A 1kg bag of Lavazza whole beans rose by £2 in the last 14-16 months to around £12, the brand told the press association (PA).

“It has been very tough in terms of supply,” says Lavazza’s UK general manager Pietro Mazzo. “We’ve seen an 80% average increase in the cost of green beans in a year.”

“The situation is troubling and will be for some time, so we need to keep the conversation with retailers as free and open as possible,” he adds.

Mazzo also says that these costs are down to retailers setting the prices rather than the company itself.

For the brand, instant coffee still makes up more than 60% of its UK market, but its sales of beans have grown 30% across the last three years.

The company warns that inflationary pressures will continue to at least the end of 2023, but that it was working to take on costs rather than putting them onto customers.

READ MORE: Lavazza in talks with UK retailers as coffee bean costs jump 80%

TV ad breaks could become longer as Ofcom reviews rules

Advertising breaks during UK television could become longer, and more frequent, as Ofcom reviews broadcasting rules, reports the BBC.

Current rules mean that for ITV1 and Channel 5, the “total amount of advertising in any one day must not exceed an average of seven minutes per hour of broadcasting”. In contrast, other channels can have up to nine minutes during prime time.

The regulator needs to “strike the right balance between protecting viewers’ interests and sustaining our traditional broadcasters,” according to an Ofcom spokesperson.

The review on advertising length and frequency was suggested in an Ofcom report to culture secretary Nadine Dorries.

“These rules are complex, with limits in place for public service broadcasters that are stricter than the rules set for commercial broadcasters,” says the report.

Further action is expected later on this summer, and the public service broadcasting licences are set to expire in 2024, but the regulator has advices Dorries there was a “good case” to review.

READ MORE: TV ad breaks could get longer as rules reviewed

Guinness launches new ‘Lovely day for a Guinness’ campaign

Beer brand Guinness has launched a new advertising campaign, ‘Lovely day for a Guinness’ as Summer sets in across Ireland.

The film plays on insight that when warm weather kicks in for Ireland, “people will go to extreme lengths to make the most of summer”.

The brand’s inspiration came from Ireland’s “bubbling of energy” during summer, where consumers “grab every little moment of fun” alongside Guinness.

Created with AMV BBDO, the campaign comes a month after the brand added to its ‘Looks like Guinness’ campaign.

“We are so proud to share this new Guinness ad which captures a summer feeling like no other over a creamy, cold pint of Guinness. We are so excited for Guinness to make waves this summer with the campaign,” says Diageo marketing manager Jeanette Levis.

AMW BBDO art director Alicia Cliffe adds: “The idea was based off a truth that (almost) all of us share – when the shade catches up, we move into the sun. A really fun brief to work on with a great team.”

Gala Bingo launches new brand campaign to bring ‘joy back to bingo’

Gala Bingo has launched a new integrated campaign, consisting of TV, radio, digital and OOH to “inspire the UK with the fun of bingo”.

The campaign aims to ‘bring the joy back to bingo in Britain’ with its multiple assets. The 60 second film highlights a group of friends searching five hot air balloons spelling ‘bingo’ in the sky.

Gala Bingo has also hidden bingo images throughout the film for ‘viewers to discover’, playing on ‘iconic’ bingo calls.

The brand says the campaign aims to “re-establish” Gala as an “iconic British brand” and also to re-connect with its core audience of women aged over 45, “who hadn’t been connecting” with the brand’s previous work.

The brand’s OOH efforts feature bus and taxi wraps across London, with the campaign continuing into the summer with upcoming PR events promoting the brand.

It’s the first campaign from neverland, who took over the Gala Bingo account earlier this year.

Thursday, 30 June


Deliveroo launches advertising platform

Deliveroo is launching an advertising platform which will allow brands to advertise to its customers across its app, website and as part of social media, email and push notification campaigns.

Launching in July, Deliveroo Media and Ecommerce will also offer advertising on the food and grocery delivery service’s order tracker page for the first time, with new formats to come over the coming months.

At the moment, Deliveroo’s existing advertising services – such as sponsored positioning in the app – are reserved for its restaurant and grocery partners. With this new platform, consumer FMCG brands will also be able to advertise to customers of Deliveroo’s grocery delivery proposition.

According to chief operating officer Eric French, advertising revenue is currently a “small” part of Deliveroo’s model, but represents “a big opportunity”.

“Deliveroo has over eight million monthly active consumers, many of whom are ordering with us on a weekly basis, so we have an engaged and valuable audience for brands to connect with,” French explains.

“Our new advertising platform will enable restaurant and grocery partners to tell their story emotionally and effectively whilst ensuring Deliveroo customers continue to receive a food-first experience.”

Deliveroo teased the launch of an advertising platform earlier this year, as the business laid out plans to reach profitability in 2026.

The launch is the latest in a string of new retail media propositions. Last year Tesco and Boots launched media platforms to allow brands to advertise on their ecommerce websites, and in May Asda talked up the “massive opportunity” retail media offers.

PZ Cussons anticipates revenue boost after re-focusing on ‘building brands’

The CEO of British FMCG company PZ Cussons says he is “pleased” with the progress the business has made in returning to sustainable and profitable revenue growth, after re-focusing on its “core job of building brands”.

This financial year is PZ Cussons’ first under its new strategy, ‘Building brands for life. Today and for future generations’. In a trading update this week, the company behind brands including Carex, Imperial Leather, Original Source and Radiant says it is anticipating group like-for-like revenue growth of 3% for its full financial year, to approximately £590m.

Growth has been driven primarily by improvements in pricing and product mix, with “limited” impact on volume sales, the business says.

Its ‘Must Win Brands’, which include Carex and Cussons Baby, grew 4% in the fourth quarter, reflecting the “ongoing benefit of marketing and executional focus”, a normalising in supply challenges in the US, and a “significantly lower rate of decline” in soap brand Carex post-Covid.

CEO Jonathan Myers says: “With a new team in place, we have re-focused on the core job of building brands and have started to unlock value through dramatically reducing complexity in our business.”

While the trading environment remains “challenging” amid inflation and the rising cost of living, Myers says the business has plans to mitigate the impact of this and to “continue to deliver great value for consumers, whilst also investing behind more premium innovations”.

The launch of new brand Cussons Creations for value-conscious consumers, as well as the recent re-launches of Sanctuary Spa and Imperial Leather, are “good examples” of such initiatives, he adds.

“We have great brands and great people and, whilst there is more to be done to deliver against our strategy, we remain excited by the long-term opportunities ahead of us.”

Tesco and Heinz in dispute over ‘unjustifiable’ price increases

Heinz has paused supply of its products to Tesco in a row over price increases, leaving shelves bare of the brand’s baked beans, ketchup and salad cream, among other products.

First reporter by The Grocer, a Tesco spokesperson said the supermarket “will not pass on unjustifiable price increases to our customers”, as household budgets come under “increasing pressure” from price inflation.

“We’re sorry that this means some products aren’t available right now, but we have plenty of alternatives to choose from, including Branston Baked Beans and our own-brand ranges,” the spokesperson said. “We hope to have this issue resolved soon.”

Meanwhile, a Kraft Heinz spokesperson said the company is “working closely with Tesco to resolve the situation as quickly as possible”, adding: “We always look at how we can provide value through price, size and packs so consumers can enjoy the products they love and trust at a price point that works within their budgets, without compromising on quality.”

In February, Kraft Heinz announced further price rises across its snacks and condiments to offset soaring costs, after posting stronger-than-expected quarterly earnings.

READ MORE: Heinz SKUs disappear from Tesco in trade dispute over price increases

Unilever sells Ben & Jerry’s business in Israel to end West Bank boycott

Unilever has sold its Ben & Jerry’s business in Israel, a year on from the ice cream brand’s announcement that it would no longer sell its products in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Ben & Jerry’s business in Israel has been sold to Avi Zinger, owner of current Israel-based licensee American Quality Products (AQP). The brand will now be sold under its Hebrew and Arabic names through Israel and the West Bank under the full ownership of AQP, with the same flavours and similar artwork.

According to the Guardian, Ben & Jerry’s board had planned not to renew the licence with AQP upon its expiry at the end of this year.

In July 2021, Ben & Jerry’s said continuing to sell its products in the West Bank would be “inconsistent” with its values. The brand faced considerable backlash from within Israel, with foreign minister Yair Lapid blasting the move as a “shameful capitulation to antisemitism”.

In January 2022, Ben & Jerry’s and Unilever also came under fire from fund manager Terry Smith, one of the FMCG giant’s major investors, who took aim at the ice cream brand’s decision as an example of Unilever’s “ludicrous” focus on brand purpose.

Ben & Jerry’s was acquired by Unilever in 2000, but as part of the acquisition agreement has always been allowed to make its own decisions around its social mission. However, Unilever reserved primary responsibility for financial and operational decisions, leading to this divestment decision.

In a statement, the company said it has used the past year to “listen to perspectives on this complex and sensitive matter”, including a consultation with the Israeli government, and believes this to be the “best outcome” for the brand in Israel.

“Unilever rejects completely and repudiates unequivocally any form of discrimination or intolerance. Antisemitism has no place in any society. We have never expressed any support for the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement and have no intention of changing that position,” the company said.

Amazon restricts LGBTQ+ searches in United Arab Emirates

Amazon is restricting search results for LGBTQ+ products and issues on its ecommerce platform in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) after coming under pressure from authorities, the New York Times reports.

The news comes as Pride month, a month dedicated to celebrating LGBTQ+ communities around the world, comes to an end. This year Amazon marked the occasion with a series of workshops, events and celebrations for employees organised by its LGBTQ+ affinity group, Glamazon.

The online retail giant also curated lists of books that represent the experiences of LGBTQ+ people, and music playlists celebrating LGBTQ+ artists and anthems.

However, the company has been threatened with penalties by the UAE government, as one of the 69 countries in the world where being gay is criminisalised.

Search terms now banned on Amazon in the country include broad teams such as ‘LGBTQ’ and ‘pride’, as well as product searches such as ‘transgender flag’, ‘chest binder for lesbians’ and ‘LGBTQ iPhone case’. All of those terms returned “no results” on Tuesday and Wednesday this week, according to the New York Times. Several book titles were also blocked.

“As a company, we remain committed to diversity, equity and inclusion, and we believe that the rights of L.G.B.T.Q.+ people must be protected,” an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement.

“With Amazon stores around the world, we must also comply with the local laws and regulations of the countries in which we operate.”

READ MORE: Amazon restricts L.G.B.T.Q. products in United Arab Emirates (£)

Wednesday, 29 June


Moonpig praises ‘always on’ marketing strategy amid personalisation push

Moonpig says the scale of its UK business has enabled the card and gifting brand to adopt an ‘always on’ approach to above the line marketing. This is compared to a “previous concentration” of marketing activity during peak trading periods.

Choosing to invest in marketing to “underpin awareness”, the focus has been on new customer acquisition in the brand’s first full year since its 2021 IPO. Moonpig says its marketing strategy has “remained effective following the end of lockdown”, driving higher revenue from new customers than pre-pandemic.

On a two-year basis, group revenue for the year to 30 April rose 75.8% to £304.3m, reflecting “significant growth” in the customer base, higher purchase frequency and a further increase in gifting. However, year on year revenue is down 17.3%, reflective of a comparison to periods of severe lockdown restrictions in 2021, which benefitted the online card and gifting brand.

Over the year Moonpig delivered 39.8 million orders, down from 50.9 million in 2021, but up from 24.3 million in 2020. The app now represents more than 43% of Moonpig orders, compared to 37% in 2021 and 16% in 2020.

The brand says its “consistently strong” marketing performance over the year has enabled it to acquire new customers at a faster rate than pre-Covid. Moonpig also points to the “very high retention of customers”, including those acquired over the past two years. Some 87% of total group revenue was derived from existing customers, compared to 75% in 2021 and 79% in 2020.

Moonpig says success in engaging customers and “encouraging them deeper” into its data-driven ecosystem enabled the brand to “extend its leadership position” in UK online cards. The company reports its market share in the 2021 calendar year is 4.4x larger than that of its nearest online competitor.

The brand claims to be progressing towards offering “hyper-personalised” customer journeys, including personalised landing pages for customers who click on a reminder, upcoming occasion reminders on the homepage and personalised search results.

Moonpig has also launched a personalised promotions engine providing targeted offers to incentivise first-time use of the app and personalised offers on the cross-sell page to drive gift attachment for specific purchases.

In addition, the company is looking ahead to its proposed £124m acquisition of UK gift experience platform Buyagift, which Moonpig says will “deliver a step-change” in its gifting proposition. Over the year gifting reached its highest ever share of total revenue at 48%, reflecting what Moonpig describes as “further progress” in its strategy to become the ultimate gifting companion.

Over the year Moonpig launched 500 new branded gifting SKUs (stock keeping units) and rolled out a UK jewellery range.

CEO Nickyl Raithatha describes the year as a “transformational period” for the group financially, operationally and strategically, adding that Moonpig has “significantly outperformed” the targets set out during its IPO. Raithatha also points to a “step-change” in the size of the customer base, with each customer “purchasing more often than before.”

Government campaign urges brands to slash prices by cutting marketing

The government is set to launch a campaign aimed at getting businesses to divert marketing spend into cutting prices to help mitigate the cost of living crisis.

Launching in early July, the taxpayer-funded campaign will seek to “amplify and channel” the efforts of brands looking to curb rising costs, encouraging other companies to follow suit, the BBC reports. It is thought businesses which agree to introduce cost-cutting measures will be able to add the campaign name and logo to their branding.

The slogan, which is reportedly still in the works, looks likely to promote a message of helping in tough times, cutting prices for consumers using money brands “would otherwise use on marketing.”

This message chimes in with comments made last week by the newly appointed cost of living tsar, Just Eat co-founder David Buttress, who urged brands to “refocus” marketing spend in a bid to bring prices down for consumers.

Speaking to business leaders on Monday evening, Buttress cited examples of schemes he believes work well, from apps selling discounted food that would otherwise go to waste, to Gregg’s move to offer free breakfast to some school children.

According to the BBC, Buttress also identified four points in the year when businesses could introduce price cuts – summer holidays, the start of the new school term, rising inflation in the autumn and Christmas time.

A government source told the BBC no additional funding will be provided to help brands slash prices. The plans have been branded a “slap in the face” for SMEs, with the Federation of Small Businesses telling the BBC the notion struggling firms can “soak up” the additional costs “isn’t realistic”.

READ MORE: Businesses urged to slash prices by cost of living tsar

Walgreens calls off £5bn sale of ‘successful’ Boots business

Source: Shutterstock

Walgreens has decided to call off the £5bn sale of Boots, claiming no third party has made an offer which reflects the “high potential value” of the pharmacy chain.

Despite entering into “productive discussions” with several parties, the “unexpected and dramatic change” wrought on the global financial markets since Boots was put up for sale in January has forced Walgreens to reconsider. Reportedly among the potential buyers were Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani and US firm Apollo Global Management.

The decision to retain Boots and the No7 Beauty Company has also been informed by the “ongoing strong performance and growth” of both brands, which Walgreens says has “exceeded expectations despite challenging conditions.”

The company intends to retain Boots and No7 to focus on the “further growth and profitability” of the two businesses, committing to invest in the “unmatched assets and unparalleled potential” of both brands.

In its second quarter results in March, Walgreen Boots Alliance pointed to the share gains Boots had made across all major categories, with retail comparable sales up 22%. Meanwhile, online sales rose by 60% on pre-Covid levels during the second quarter.

“We have now completed a thorough review of Boots and No7 Beauty Company, with the outcome reflecting rapidly evolving and challenging financial market conditions beyond our control,” says Walgreens Boots Alliance CEO Rosalind Brewer.

“It is an exciting time for these businesses, which are uniquely positioned to continue to capture future opportunities presented by the growing healthcare and beauty markets. The board and I remain confident that Boots and No7 Beauty Company hold strong fundamental value, and longer term, we will stay open to all opportunities to maximise shareholder value for these businesses and across our company.”

READ MORE: Walgreens abandons Boots sale after market turmoil

Consumers in ‘flight to value’, says Poundland boss

Poundland is to increase the number of products it sells for £1 to cater to the “flight to value” among consumers struggling to cope with the cost of living crisis.

While currently half of products in Poundland sell for £1 or less, this number will rise to 60% by the end of this week. It is reported two thirds of the products will be branded goods.

Poundland managing director Barry Williams told the BBC the business is seeing a definite shift among consumers away from the major supermarkets to discount alternatives. Compared to the same period last year, Poundland’s customers are up 5% to 10%.

“I think you’re seeing a shift, a flight to value, if you like, from the traditional grocers, the major multiples, into the discount channel where we operate. Most discounters are performing better at the moment,” he says.

Williams believes consumers are shopping around as a means to control spending and prioritising “essential areas of spend” in terms of FMCG products and food, resulting in smaller basket sizes. Sales of frozen food are also rising, he notes.

This opinion is shared by Sainsbury’s chief executive Simon Roberts, who told the Guardian shoppers are turning to cheaper frozen foods in a bid to save money. He also claims consumers are making more shopping trips, but buying less on each visit and monitoring spending to avoid “till shock” at the checkout.

Describing these as “unprecedented circumstances”, Roberts has also seen evidence of shoppers opting for own brand products and buying “for now” to avoid waste.

READ MORE: Poundland boosts £1 items in battle for shoppers

Retail prices hit highest level since 2008

Prices in UK shops have hit their highest rate of inflation since 2008 amid surging supply chain costs and contracting consumer spending.

According to the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and NielsenIQ shop price index, UK retail prices are up 3.1% on June last year and up from 2.8% last month. Food inflation surged to 5.6% in June, with the highest price rises seen for fresh food – up 6.2% on June last year.

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson points to the impact of inflation reaching 9.1%, as measured by the consumer prices index, the highest level since 1982. She notes that food prices, particularly for fresh foods such as cheese, have been affected by the “spiralling costs of fertiliser and animal feed.”

Dickinson says retailers are “focused on” protecting customers, with fierce competition forcing them to “absorb as much of these costs pressures as possible” and chase efficiencies in their own businesses. She highlights the decision taken by supermarkets to expand their value ranges to provide a wider choice for shoppers “trading down” and the rollout of discounts to vulnerable customers.

However, Dickinson believes if costs continue to spiral the government “may need to find ways to help retail businesses support their customers.”

Claiming the FMCG sector is “more insulated from any downturn” than food retail, head of retailer and business insight at NielsenIQ Mike Watkins expects to see more consumers cutting down on “out of home consumption”, a worry for the hospitality sector.

Watkins also predicts greater numbers of consumers will shop to fixed budgets, switching to cheaper private label items and opting for retailers offering the lowest prices.

READ MORE: UK shop prices hit highest rate of inflation since 2008

Tuesday, 28 June


Nike doubles down on DTC transformation despite profit dip

Nike CEO John Donahoe has said he is “very confident” in the company’s long-term strategy despite a 5% dip in profits over the quarter to May 31, as the company’s direct-to-consumer business continues to grow.

In 2020 Nike launched its company-wide ‘Consumer Direct Acceleration’ strategy, accelerating the shift in its business model away from wholesale distribution and concentrating on selling more merchandise direct to consumers.

Over its 2022 fiscal year, company revenue increased 5% to $46.7bn, with revenue for the Nike brand up 5% to $44.4bn. This growth was driven by double-digital growth in Nike Direct, the company said, partially offset by declines in wholesale revenues.

Nike Direct revenues for the year were up 14% to $18.7bn, led by Nike brand digital growth of 18% and a 10% growth in Nike-owned stores revenue. Wholesale reported revenues declined 1% to $25.6bn.

“It’s clear that our strategy is working and that Nike’s unique competitive advantages continue to drive the business. Today, we’re better positioned to drive sustainable long-term growth than we were before the pandemic,” Donahoe said on a call with investors last night (27 June).

“Over the past two years, we’ve transformed our business, building a muscle that won’t just help us navigate future adversity, but one that gives us the ability and agility to continue to drive our growth.”

Meanwhile, selling and administrative expense increased 14% to $14.8bn over the year. This included a 24% rise in demand creation expense to £3.9bn, which Nike attributes to a “normalisation of spend against brand campaigns” and continued investment in digital marketing to support “heightened” digital demand.

Nike’s digital business grew 18% in 2022, while in its most recent quarter its app ‘ecosystem’ grew into a “greater share” of total digital demand, helping Nike’s digital share of the business reach 24% in Q4.

“As other companies have pulled back, our investments have made us stronger. And we’re excited by what we see as we look at our growth opportunities and the strong consumer demand we continue to enjoy,” Donahoe said.

“As we look ahead to fiscal ’23, we remain very confident in our long-term strategy and our growth outlook…We continue to have a competitive advantage in digital as one of the few brands that can connect with and directly serve consumers at scale.”

Grocery sales volumes shrink as cost of living rises

Total till grocery sales at UK supermarkets grew 1.5% to £10.4bn over the four weeks ending 18 June, boosted by the long Jubilee weekend and hot weather, according to the latest data from NielsenIQ.

However, volume sales declined by 5.5% as inflation and the rising cost of living puts shoppers under pressure to manage their spending. Volume sales were in decline in all FMCG categories, the data reveals.

Shoppers are also considering cheaper meal alternatives, with sales increasing for dry pasta (+31%), frozen poultry (+12%), rice and grains (+11), canned beans and pasta (+10%), and canned meat (+9%). In contrast, sales of beers, wines and spirits fell 9.7%, while general merchandise fell by 6.1%.

Meanwhile, while store visits grew 7%, online sales fell 12% compared with last year.

NielsenIQ’s UK head of retailer and business insight, Mike Watkins, says it is “no surprise” that with budgets squeezed, some households are “less willing or less able” to spend on a large online shop.

“Moreover, with no restrictions on visiting stores, this is encouraging shoppers to shop around for the best prices as well as shopping little and more often to help manage the weekly food budget,” he explains.

According to Watkins, one in four households are monitoring the overall cost of their shopping basket as prices rise, opting for private label brands, waiting for offers, or seeking out their favourite brands at value retailers such as Home Bargains or Poundland to mitigate the impact of inflation.

For the 15% of households which now consider themselves to be ‘strugglers’, almost a quarter will stop buying certain products altogether and 28% will shop more at Aldi and Lidl, Watkins adds.

Indeed, Aldi and Lidl remain the fastest growing food retailers, with their combined market share now as high as 19.1%. Tesco is the only one of the ‘big four’ supermarkets to have grown over the period, while M&S also has “strong momentum”.

“The outlook for the next four weeks is for further pressure on shopper spend and whilst there are some major sporting events over the next few weeks, such as Wimbledon, the F1 and the Women’s Euros, incremental volume growths to the end of July will probably remain subject to the vagaries of the weather. And in the meantime, as shoppers remain cautious, retailers will continue to offer differential price cuts and savings for their most loyal shoppers,” Watkins concludes.

Telecoms brands including BT, Virgin Media O2, Vodafone agree plan to help customers

O2The telecoms industry has agreed a five-point plan to support customers struggling with the rising cost of living, including allowing such customers to move to cheaper packages without a penalty fee.

Brands including BT, Vodafone, Three, Virgin Media O2, Sky and TalkTalk attended the Downing Street summit where the deal was agreed, with proceedings co-chaired by culture secretary Nadine Dorries and the government’s cost of living business tsar David Buttress.

Other action points include allowing customers to move on to manageable repayment plans if they are struggling, launching and promoting more social tariffs, agreeing to treat struggling customers with “compassion and understanding”, and making sure the most vulnerable do not get cut off.

The agreement comes following some of the brands, such as BT, Vodafone and O2, introducing higher-than-inflation price increases earlier this year.

According to Ofcom research, up to a fifth of UK households have struggled to pay their TV, internet and phone bills in the last year.

READ MORE: UK telecoms industry agrees plan to help struggling customers

Declining discretionary income takes toll on energy usage, Christmas plans and healthy eating

The average household saw discretionary income decline by 10.6% in May compared with the same month last year, leaving households with £127 less to spend on non-essential items, according to the latest data from the Retail Economics – Hyper Jar Cost of Living Tracker.

Retail Economics estimates this to have wiped out around £3.5bn of cash available for discretionary purchases for the month overall. The least affluent households are seeing the worst impact, with their spare cash in May down by 13.9% on average.

More than eight in 10 households (84%) feel they still need to reduce their non-essential spending this year, with more than three quarters (77.3%) planning to reduce their Christmas spending this year. Two in five plan to spend “a lot less” this Christmas.

Some 92% of households also plan to reduce their energy consumption over the coming autumn and winter, with almost half (49.4%) planning to reduce their energy use “a lot”.

Meanwhile, new nationally representative IPA Touchpoints data reveals a notable drop in the number of adults preferring to buy organic and non-GMO food compared to pre-2020 lockdown data. The number of adults preferring to eat organic foods has dropped by almost a third, particularly among women and younger generations, while the number of adults preferring to buy food that has not been genetically modified has dropped by almost 40%.

The number of adults saying they are coping on their current salary has also fallen, down 5.5%, and almost 85% of adults are aware of the price of goods and services increasing. Over a quarter of adults and 40% of 15-34-year-olds feel their level of debt will increase in the next few years, while the number of adults feeling confident about the economy has fallen from 25.6% to 12.9%.

“We can only imagine with rising inflation levels and the clouds of a recession beginning to bubble up, that such stats will become bleaker,” says IPA research director Belinda Beeftink.

“And so for any brands and their agencies navigating this – whether food-related or not – it may be prudent to focus their comms activity on asserting value for money, on staples vs luxury items, and on being seen to be in tune and supportive of their consumers at this tough time.”

Big Issue launches five-year strategy alongside major rebrand

The company behind street newspaper The Big Issue is rebranding as Big Issue Group, as it unveils a five-year strategy focused on creating “innovative solutions through enterprise” for the growing number of people living in poverty across the UK.

The new value proposition, ‘Changing Lives Through Enterprise’, includes a ‘group impact goal’ which sets out that by 2027 the organisation will engage with and positively impact up to 11 million people every year.

The group is currently comprised of Big Issue Media (including Big Issue Magazine), Big Issue Invest, Big Issue E-Bikes, Big Issue Foundation and Big Issue Shop. As part of the new strategy, the group will look to launch new programmes and ventures focused around three pillars: innovation, investment and prevention.

This autumn the group will be launching Big Issue Recruit, a person-centred recruitment service aimed at those who face barriers to employment and offering support pre- and post-employment through training and development.

The rebranding has been led by pro bono agency partner Jones Knowles Ritchie (JKR), with support from FCB Inferno, 10up, december19, Rocketmill, Kokoro and Bold. The brief was to create a “progressive and cohesive” brand identity that was inclusive of all the different sub-brands of the Big Issue Group.

“This is an exciting and important next step for the Big Issue brand – not only have we modernised our brand but we are expanding in new ways to create opportunity for more marginalised people than ever before,” says group chief marketing officer Zoe Hayward.

“Our new-look and branding has been designed to mirror this new and more innovative outlook. Our new value proposition, Changing Lives Through Enterprise has always been at the heart of what we do, but by highlighting this focus across the Group, we hope to impact even more lives for the better.”

Monday, 27 JuneM&S

Dispute over M&S redeveloping its flagship store

Landlords and property investors in the West End have written to minister Michael Gove expressing concern that a planned redevelopment of Marks & Spencer’s flagship store could undermine the area’s status as a place of economic importance in London.

M&S plans to redevelop the 100-year-old store on Oxford Street, reducing the size of the store and adding in offices and a gym. It says the changes are needed due to changing consumer habits.

However, last week minister Gove ordered a planning review into the site, due to concerns over carbon emissions from bulldozing the building. M&S said it was “bewildered” over the decision.

Now, further consternation about the retailer’s plans have emerged after a group of landlords and property investors sent a letter arguing that the redevelopment could undermine “the appeal of the West End as an international centre”. Signatories to the letter include Sir Peter Rogers, the chairman of the New West End Company, which represents retailers and hoteliers.

The letter also says flagship stores in London help support marginal shops across the UK.

M&S says the store in its current state is unattractive and does not offer a pleasant experience for customers or staff.

Its director of property, technology and development, Sacha Berendji last week accused Gove of blocking “the only retail-led regeneration in the whole of Oxford Street”.

M&S CEO Stuart Machin wrote in The Telegraph that the area faces becoming a “dinosaur district” unless it embraces innovation. He adds that since the pandemic, the Oxford Street area has been “on its knees” and taken over by “tacky candy stores”.

READ MORE: Row over M&S plan to redevelop flagship store

Companies like Disney, Amazon and Meta say they will cover staff abortion travel expenses in US

In the US, companies like Disney, Amazon and Meta have pledged to cover any expenses incurred by staff who travel to access abortion.

A ruling by the US Supreme Court on Friday (24 June) overturned Roe vs Wade, which granted the constitutional right to abortion. The decision means that abortion bans will come into effect in a number individual states across the US.

Since the decision, major brands like Levi’s, Netflix and Disney have confirmed that they will cover the costs incurred by employees who need to travel to another state to access abortion. This will mostly be facilitated under employees’ healthcare plans.

Disney said that it “remain committed to providing comprehensive access to quality and affordable care” for all its staff, which includes family planning and reproductive care, “no matter where they live”. Florida is one state where the governor has signed into law a ban on abortion after 15 weeks. Disney employs 80,000 people in its resort in the state.

Ride hailing companies Uber and Lyft have confirmed similar policies. Lyft added that it would also would legally shield drivers in abortion cases, with a spokesperson stating that “no driver should have to ask a rider where they are going and why”.

READ MORE: Disney, other U.S. companies offer abortion travel benefit after Roe decision

Santander ad sees Ant and Dec attempt to teach children about money confidence


Santander has launched an advert which sees Ant and Dec return as CEOs of fictional bank, the ‘Bank of Antandec’. This time the duo is attempting to teach children about money confidence.

The actual bank behind the advert, Santander, have partnered with online educational platform Twinkl to provide free, curriculum-friendly materials for children to learn about financial confidence. In contrast, the Bank of Antandec CEOs take a “questionable” approach to teaching money confidence, with the advert depicting the pair bursting into a classroom attempting to impart their wisdom.

Ant and Dec arrive into the classroom to find that Santander and Twinkl have got their first with their ‘The Numbers Game’. The Numbers Game, was originally developed by Santander and Sidhu & Simon, and will be accessible to over 30,000 UK schools, comprising of 600,000 teachers and 8 million children and young people aged between five to 16.

Research shows money habits start forming between the ages of three and seven, and long-term financial outcomes can be predicted from behaviours in children as young as five. Despite this, over six in 10 UK children and young people say they haven’t yet received any financial education at school.

In order to help counter this financial education gap, Engine and Sidhu & Simon’s campaign has produced introductory videos and learning for teachers, parents and carers to use in classrooms and at home.

“The CEOs of the bank of Antandec are back on our screens, this time trying to impart their financial wisdom on children and young adults. But while their know-how only stretches to Match Attax cards, we’re already working hard with Twinkl to improve financial education for everyone by providing free, curriculum compliant resources,” says Santander director of marketing, Dan Sherwood.

“I’d encourage anyone with young family members to download the Numbers Game learning packs and to tell friends and family to do the same.”

Cath Kidston put up for sale two years on from collapse

Cath KidstonCath Kidston has been put up for sale, more than two years after it fell into administration, which saw all of its high street shops close.

The brand, which was taken over by Baring Private Equity Asia (BPEA) in 2016, has operated as a wholesale-led company since it was taken into administration in April.

Around 900 jobs were lost as part of the insolvency deal struck by BPEA. It does retain a handful of stores in Saudi Arabia.

Now, owner BPEA has instructed PwC to find a buyer for the brand, which was founded by Cath Kidston in 1993. The brand is inspired by vintage fashion, and sells clothing, homewares and accessories.

There are reportedly a number of interested potential buyers, although none of their identities has been reported.

The brand expanded from a single store in West London. On its collapse in 2020, it had 60 stores in the UK. At its height in 2014, it had over double that, with 136 stores across the UK. In 2010, Cath Kidston reportedly sold a stake worth £100m in her eponymous brand to private equity firm TA Associates.

READ MORE: Cath Kidston up for sale two years after collapse cost 900 jobs

Waitrose introduces toilet roll packaging to raise bowel cancer awareness

Waitrose is updating its toilet roll packaging to raise awareness of bowel cancer symptoms. The retailer has signed up to the initiative after charity Bowel Cancer UK launched its #OnARoll campaign.

The charity’s campaign calls upon all UK supermarkets to implement packaging to raise awareness of the cancer’s symptoms on their own-brand toilet rolls, which is “where people need to see them most”.

M&S and Aldi, as well as leading brand Andrex have already announced they will add bowel cancer symptoms to their toilet roll packaging.

In addition to adding the symptoms to packaging, Waitrose will also introduce point of sale information for customers on bowel cancer symptoms to raise awareness and include coverage of the symptoms in its magazine, Waitrose Weekend.

The retailer says the packaging update will be implemented in the autumn.

“We want all of our customers to recognise the symptoms of bowel cancer. We’ve been inspired by what Dame Deborah James has done to raise awareness and we want to play our part in this really important campaign in partnership with Bowel Cancer UK,” says Waitrose’s director of own brand, Natalie Mitchell.

Bowel Cancer UK’s CEO Genevieve Edwards adds: “Awareness of the red flag symptoms of bowel cancer remains worryingly low, so it’s fantastic that Waitrose has signed up to our #GetOnARoll campaign to help people recognise the signs.”



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