Deliveroo, Disney, Sainsbury’s: 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.


Deliveroo launches rapid grocery delivery service

Deliveroo is entering the highly competitive rapid delivery market with the launch of Deliveroo Hop, offering grocery deliveries in as little as 10 minutes.

The food delivery firm has opened a delivery-only store in Central London in partnership with Morrisons to enable it to fulfil orders.

Hop will sit alongside Deliveroo’s existing on-demand grocery service, through which it delivers groceries from more than 4,600 stores across the UK.

Will Shu, CEO and founder of Deliveroo says: “Deliveroo Hop will enhance our on-demand grocery offering for both consumers and our grocery partners. We are pleased to launch the service with Morrisons, one of our largest partners.”

David Potts, Morrisons’ CEO, adds: “Morrisons has enjoyed a strong and growing partnership with Deliveroo since March 2020 which now covers more than 320 stores.

“The rapid delivery grocery sector is developing quickly and is highly valued by customers. The launch of Deliveroo Hop represents another key moment, enabling customers to choose from a wide selection of groceries from Morrisons and have them delivered by Deliveroo in as little as 10 minutes.”

Disney and Scarlett Johannsson settle lawsuit

Disney and Scarlett Johansson have settled a legal dispute over the release of Marvel Studios superhero movie Black Widow on Disney+ while it was still showing at cinemas.

The actress filed a law suit in July claiming the move to offer it on the streaming service would result in a potential loss of earnings and was a breach of contract.

At the time she said she understood the movie would be a “theatrical release” which she took to mean a “window” of time – traditionally 90 days – would pass before the movie would be available on Disney+.

Details of the deal have not been released but both parties say they are pleased to have resolved the issue and look forward to future collaborations.

Black Widow was released in cinemas and on Disney+ on the same day (9 July), grossing $218m (£161m) during its first weekend and setting a box office record for a release during the pandemic, but box office takings then fell sharply. Global box office receipts now gross more than $378m, according to film tracking service Box Office Mojo, while Disney claims it has generated around $60m through streaming purchases during the first 20 days of release.

“I’m very pleased that we have been able to come to a mutual agreement with Scarlett Johansson regarding ‘Black Widow,'” says Alan Bergman, content chairman for Disney Studios.

“We appreciate her contributions to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and look forward to working together on a number of upcoming projects, including Disney’s ‘Tower of Terror’.”

Shortly after the lawsuit was filed, Marketing Week columnist Mark Ritson said he thought Disney was playing a bigger game in its box office battle with Johansson as the move would enable it to get closer to consumers and gain valuable insight.

READ MORE: Black Widow: Disney and Scarlett Johansson settle lawsuit

Virgin Money shuts 31 stores as customers opt for digital

Virgin Money is shutting a fifth of its branches following a drop in footfall as customers shift to digital services and plans to “evolve the role” of its existing stores to meet consumers’ changing behaviour.

The bank will shutter 31 outlets, nearly all in Scotland and the north of England, meaning it will have just 131 left, down from 245 when it merged with Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank in 2018.

It is the latest UK bank to retreat from the high street since the start of the pandemic, with HSBC, TSB and Co-op Bank all closing branches over the past 18 months.

Virgin Money says people’s shift to online and mobile app-based banking has reduced the profitability of physical branches. It expects to make 112 jobs redundant because of the closures.

Fergus Murphy, Virgin Money’s group customer experience director, says “As our customers change the way they want to bank with us and conduct fewer transactions in-store, we must continue to evolve the role of our stores into places where we showcase our products and bring our digital services to life.”

READ MORE: Virgin Money to close 31 branches across Scotland and north of England

Churchill teams up with Nickelodeon for road safety push

Insurance brand Churchill is partnering with Sky Media to teach road safety essentials to families across the UK.

The campaign, which will run across the Nickelodeon kids channel, features characters from cartoon Paw Patrol and aims to entertain children while also educating them about the importance of being safe on the roads.

The ad funded programme, called ‘Stay safe with Paw Patrol: Mission Road Ready’ will be shown on Nick Jr and be available via an online hub, which also features assets from Premier Education’s Game of Actual Life that is being rolled out in schools as part of the campaign. The Nickelodeon and Churchill co-branded hub also offers a road safety quiz and other activities for kids.

In addition, Nickelodeon is creating a series of three-minute music videos featuring Paw Patrol characters, which cover all aspects of road safety from crossing roads to being visible on the street.

The campaign, which has been developed in partnership with media agency MediaCom, launches this month and comes as analysis by Churchill reveals there are around 23 injuries each week in 20mph zones involving under 18s.

Kirsty Hoad, head of marketing for Churchill, says: “Road safety is an absolute priority for our business, and this is a great opportunity to help make a difference by educating children and reassuring parents.

“We hope by using the popular Paw Patrol characters and the Game of Actual Life we will inject some fun, but more importantly give memorable messages that children will carry with them as they are out and about and ultimately keep them safe.”

Sainsbury’s to hire 22,000 seasonal staff to meet higher demand

Sainsbury’s is preparing to meet higher demand this Christmas with the hire of 22,000 seasonal staff.

The supermarket, which also owns Argos, plans to hire store staff, delivery drivers and logistics workers as part of its “biggest ever recruitment drive”.

It is hiring seasonal staff four weeks earlier than last year as it looks to get ahead with preparations for the period, which looks set to be disrupted by supply chain issues and shortages.

In addition to the 14,500 Sainsbury’s and Argos store roles, the supermarket is hiring 500 customer and trading manager positions. It is also recruiting for 3,000 online delivery drivers and 4,500 warehouse and logistics operators, and 180 staff for its contact centres.

READ MORE: Sainsbury’s looking to hire 22,000 people in supermarket’s biggest-ever recruitment drive

Thursday, 30 September

KFCKFC brings in new global CMO in management reshuffle

Sabir Sami, who will take over as global CEO of KFC on 1 January next year, has named his global leadership team.

Valerie Kubizniak, currently general manager of KFC Restaurants Asia, will be global CMO. She has been in her current role since 2018, having previously been CMO for Asia. Prior to that Kubizniak held a marketing director role for KFC at parent group Yum Restaurants International, and she is a former marketing director of Pizza Hut.

The reshuffle will see a number of senior moves. Rob Swain, COO at KFC UK & Ireland, has been promoted to become CCO for KFC Global. In the UK Jack Hinchliffe remains as CMO, having been promoted earlier this year after predecessor Meghan Farren left for Asda.

Sabir Sami is currently CEO of KFC in Asia. He is replacing current CEO Tony Lowings, who is retiring. Sami will take on responsibility for the fast food brand’s brand strategy and performance around the world, reporting directly to David Gibbs, CEO of Yum.

M&S resets its environmental objectives

marks & spencerMarks & Spencer has reset its Plan A environmental objectives, with a new pledge to cut its carbon footprint by a third by 2025, as part of a commitment to achieve Scope 3 net zero status by 2040.

Scope 3 emissions are those not directly controlled by the reporting organisation, so M&S will be working with customers, employees, suppliers and the wider industry in a bid to drive reductions in emissions.

M&S has set out detailed plans to reach its objective, using science-based targets aligned to United Nations goals to limit global warming to 1.5c. If achieved, the plan would see M&S achieve full net zero status a decade ahead of the government’s UK-wide strategy.

The original Plan A was launched by M&S in 2007 and it was the first major retailer to reach carbon neutral status, in 2012. M&S CEO Steve Rowe has now written to the company’s global supplier base to stress the urgency of tackling climate change.

“We launched Plan A 14 years ago, because we knew then there was no Plan B for our planet. We now face a climate emergency, and in resetting Plan A with a singular focus we can drive the delivery of net zero across our entire end-to-end supply chain. This won’t be easy. We need to transform how we make, move and sell our products to customers and fundamentally change the future shape of our business,” says Rowe.

“This is not a far-away promise; we must act now to rapidly cut our footprint. To deliver this, we need our colleagues to better understand the carbon impact of our products and processes, we need to back our suppliers to innovate and adapt to the changing environment and we must work together to help customers enjoy lower carbon lives.”

According to the latest M&S Family Matters report, climate change concerns are increasing among UK families. More than two thirds (64%) of 5,000 respondents name it as a top concern, marking a 3% increase in just three months.

Key M&S initiatives will include projects to build ‘carbon literacy’ among its colleagues, helping suppliers to innovate and find sustainable solutions, and collaborating with the wider retail and manufacturing sectors to reduce emissions.

Ellesse to launch new collection by shoppable TikTok concert

Italian sports and lifestyle brand Ellesse has partnered with TikTok for a new global campaign that will seek to bring together the best of the digital and physical worlds in a shopping event.

Ellesse will use TikTok for the launch of its Autumn/Winter ’21 collection, which will take place as the first shoppable livestream concert on the digital platform. Branded hashtag challenges are among activities which have been used to drive advance awareness of the concert.

The event will be hosed by Swedish singer-songwriter and Ellesse brand ambassador Zara Larsson, who has achieved more than 6bn streams worldwide. She will perform for the TikTok community tomorrow (Friday 1 October) in an event that will be shown live.

Viewers will see clickable items of clothing appear on-screen based on what Larsson is wearing. Tapping these items will provide more detail and allow them to be purchased directly via the TikTok app. The creative direction for the event will reflect Larsson’s latest album, Poster Girl.

“We couldn’t think of a more natural digital destination than partnering with the world’s most popular entertainment platform to launch our latest collection, which pays homage to our spiritual home in Perugia. We’re a brand that keeps pushing, tapping into culture, leveraging our music heritage whilst engaging our audience in a bold disruptive way,” says Ellesse brand director Simon Breckon.

“With more than 20 million views of #ellesse hashtag to date, we can’t wait to see how participation from the TikTok community will further elevate the campaign and drive awareness of the new collection. Our ambition for this unique collaboration is to create an event that seamlessly blends entertainment and shopping experiences to create an incredible cultural moment for our community whilst also supporting Ellesse’s commercial goals,” says TikTok agency partnerships manager Gemma Britton.

Sport England launches content to inspire girls into sports activities

Sport England has funded the launch of Studio You, described as a free Netflix-style PE resource for teachers, as part of the This Girl Can campaign to help women and girls be more active. The video-on-demand platform focuses on girls’ enjoyment during PE, rather than competition.

Teenage girls experience more obstacles to engaging with exercise than teenage boys, creating a gender gap in activity that lasts into adulthood. Self-consciousness (57.2%), a lack of confidence (52.9%) and not finding an activity they enjoy (32.4%) are key barriers, according to Sport England.

Studio You is available to all schools in England. It has been designed to break down barriers to engaging with sports and activities, and features more than 100 videos with both traditional and non-traditional activities that include yoga, dance, Pilates and boxing. The content is linked to the national curriculum for PE and led on-screen by 10 professional young coaches.

Sport England has invested £1.5m of National Lottery funding in the project. Its research shows that more than half of girls aged 13-16 are not achieving the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity every day.

“Many girls grow up to have a negative relationship with exercise. Studio You is the resource we need to help them have a positive relationship with it instead,” says Sport England’s This Girl Can campaign lead Kate Dale.

“For some girls, PE at school is their only chance to get active – so it’s important to make it fun and get the experience right for them. We know PE teachers want all their students to enjoy PE, but the pressures of school life and being a teenager make this challenging. Studio You is here to help teachers to get girls enjoying exercise, to close the gender activity gap and to help girls build healthy habits for life.”

UK consumers face growing energy bills as more suppliers collapse

Households in the UK face a £30 per month increase in costs if their energy supplier goes out of business, report The Guardian.

A further three energy brands – Igloo Energy, Symbio Energy and Enstroga – collapsed yesterday. A total of 12 companies have now fallen because of rising wholesale costs. Regulator Ofgem is transferring 2m customer accounts to surviving suppliers.

Customers will not face disruption to their supplies, and will be able to transfer any credit in their accounts to their new supplier. However, many customers on cheap fixed-rate tariffs, which small suppliers used to attract new customers, will see a steep rise in their bills.

“Ofgem will choose a new supplier for you, and while we are doing this our advice is to wait until we appoint a new supplier and do not switch in the meantime,” says Ofgem director of retail Neil Lawrence.

READ MORE: ‘Desperate choices’ this winter as three more UK energy suppliers toppled by price surge

Wednesday, 29 September


Next ups online marketing spend after raising profit guidance

Having credited the role of marketing in driving a 40% increase in its online customer base, Next plans to increase its investment into online marketing by a further £15m next year.

This year the retailer expects to spend “at least” £100m on online marketing overall, having progressively increased investment over the last few years in marketing professionals, data scientists and marketing software. The result of these investments has been a “sustained increase” in the measurable returns delivered by digital marketing, the business said in its half year financial report today (29 September).

In fact, over the last six months marketing has “outperformed” Next’s expectations, delivering on average around £1 of net cash profit for every £1 invested. The business has therefore increased its marketing spend by £10m this year, and plans to test how much further it can push expenditure without compromising its rate of return.

Next’s online customer base now amounts to 8.4 million people. Comparing on a two year basis due to the unprecedented impact of Covid-19 last year, statutory total group sales were up 5.2% over the period to £2.1bn, while full price sales were up 8.8%.

In the last eight weeks alone, full price sales were up 20% versus 2019, “materially exceeding” the retailer’s expectations of 6%.

Profit before tax over the six month therefore reached £347m, a 5.9% rise. Next is increasing its forecasted profit before tax for the year to £800m, up 6.9% on 2019 and a £36m ahead of its previous guidance of £764m.

Broken down, online sales increased 52% over the two years, from £1bn to £1.52bn. Demand has been particularly high in home and childrenswear, Next said.

Online growth therefore offset a 38% drop in in-store retail sales, which fell from £874m to £540m. Nevertheless, retail sales have performed better than expected, Next said, as the bounce-back after the reopening of non-essential retail in April was “far stronger than we anticipated”. Online sales have also fallen back less than expected.

However, the retailer warned that underlying conditions are “almost certainly” not as good as they currently appear. The combined effect of pent-up demand for clothing, record saving ratios and far fewer overseas holidays has materially boosted sales in recent months, an impact which “must inevitably diminish as time goes on”.

Nevertheless, Next said it is optimistic about returning to long term growth, as it banks on the development of its own product ranges, the accelerated increase in its customer base, the growing success of its third-party brands proposition Label, and the launch of its Total Platform business.

Earlier this month Next acquired a 51% stake in Gap in the UK and Ireland in return for running its online business through Total Platform. Gap joins Victoria’s Secret, Aubin, and Reiss, in which Next also claims sizeable stakes.

Costa Coffee unveils new value focused loyalty proposition

After more than 10 years and with over six million existing members, Costa Coffee’s loyalty scheme has been overhauled in a bid to boost brand love and preference.

Renamed from the ‘Costa Coffee Club Scheme’ to the snappier ‘Costa Club’, the new proposition sees the café chain move away from a points-based scheme in a push to provide increased value. Instead, members receive a free drink after purchasing eight coffees and, as part of sustainability efforts, Costa will offer a free drink to anyone who uses a reusable cup to purchase four drinks until the end of March 2022.

Members can also choose any cake for free on their birthday, as well as enjoy a “host” of other exclusive rewards.

Created in partnership with M&C Saatchi, the Costa Club claims to offer a “simplified, frictionless and easy to understand digital-first experience”. A select group of 17,000 consumers were asked to provide input during development.

The retailer says its “ultimate ambition” is for Costa Club to act as a platform to boost brand love and preference, plus drive growth and market share.

The loyalty programme is being launched with a new brand identity and strategic positioning, developed with Pablo London. The new positioning celebrates the feeling of getting something for free, the brand says, illustrated with a range of quirky and diverse characters.

“M&C Saatchi and Pablo have been amazing partners in creating and reimagining what loyalty means for Costa Coffee,” says Costa Coffee’s head of digital UK, Jon Fisher, as he brands the new proposition “simple and more generous”.

“It will continue to build on the love that our customers have for the Costa Coffee brand,” he adds. “We are excited for the evolution of the programme as we continue to listen and learn more from our customers.”

TalkTalk falls foul of advertising regulations

A TV ad and an email promoting TalkTalk’s broadband service have been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for making misleading claims, after the business upped its prices during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The TV ad, seen in March 2020, stated that a TalkTalk Faster Fibre contract would be “fixed until 2022”, while the email, received in January 2020, said: “No mid-contract rises on your Fixed Price Plan.”

However, nine customers complained about the ads after being informed that the price of their broadband was in fact to increase during their fixed contract period.

According to TalkTalk, its plans were designed and priced for a “reasonable environment” pre-pandemic. The brand told the ASA it believed it was “reasonable” to assume that neither consumers nor TalkTalk expected broadband usage, and the price thereof, to cover “persistent long-term high usage” as a result of lockdowns, including working from home, home schooling, and keeping in touch with friends, family and colleagues.

TalkTalk therefore said the claims were “justified” and not “materially misleading” at the times they were made, and that consumers would likely have understood the claims did not cover “exceptional circumstances”.

But the ASA disagreed, stating that consumers would expect the price they agreed to pre-pandemic to be honoured.

“Consumers were likely to understand that some limitations would exist in many cases to advertising claims, and we agreed that a one-off incident would not undermine a general claim such as ‘next-day delivery’, for example,” the watchdog said.

“However, in the context of the price of a contract which was described as ‘fixed’, we considered that consumers would expect to be able to rely on that price during the period for which it was claimed to be fixed.”

On top of a ban on the ads appearing again in the same form, TalkTalk has been told that it must not claim prices are ‘fixed’ or that there will be no mid-contract price rises if that is not the case.

Ladbrokes and Coral open new-look digital shops

Entain, the parent company of gambling brands Ladbrokes and Coral, is undergoing a “digitisation initiative” across its retail business, converting shops in key locations across the UK into a format which aims to more closely align the in-store experience with customers’ experience online.

The business has run 18 successful trials across the country since retail re-opened on April 12. By the end of the year, Entain plans to have a total of 30 redesigned Ladbrokes and Coral shops open in cities including Leeds, Birmingham, London, Portsmouth, and Newcastle. By the end of 2024, that number is to rise to 200.

Initially, converted “digital hubs” will contain the latest gaming machines and interactive displays, which the business says will give customers “a more engaging and dynamic experience”. There will also be a wider choice of interactive sports and gaming content.

The converted stores will also have digital window displays and additional interior screens to share live events and new promotions with customers across retail locations.

“Entain is a global online operator, but we are focused on delivering a great local experience for our customers. This investment allows us to give a more immersive and joined up online omni-channel experience to our customers,” says CFO and deputy chief executive Rob Wood.

“Since high streets re-opened, our retail customers have returned in large numbers which reflects the continued demand from customers for an engaging in-shop experience. This digital makeover of shops, together with ongoing investments into our industry leading tech platform and £100m of innovation investment over the next three years, are important drivers of our future growth.”

Andy Hicks, retail MD for Entain in the UK and Ireland, adds: “We want to bring the experiences customers have with us online into our shops, also making them more digital and contemporary environments. We want to offer local customers a place to socialize, enjoy sports, bet and play games in a relaxed and enjoyable way.”

Ad Association’s AdGreen releases carbon calculator for production

As part of ongoing efforts to drive down emissions involved in advertising production, AdGreen has today unveiled a bespoke carbon calculator to help agencies, production companies and brands to collaboratively measure the impact of their projects.

The free-to-use tool has been designed with support from practitioners from companies including Unilever, adam&eveDDB, Havas UK & Havas Studios, and Biscuit. It is funded by the AdGreen levy, a 0.25% charge on production spend, paid by participating advertisers and collected by their agencies.

Companies backing the project include Unilever, Sky, Google, Publicis Groupe UK, WPP and MullenLowe, among others.

Designed by Alchemy Digital and developed by BAFTA Media Technology Limited – the same duo to create the carbon calculator for the film and TV industry – the AdGreen calculator allows users to enter information in four key areas that relate to production, including travel and transport, energy and fuels, and materials and catering. Brands and agencies can thus establish a picture of the carbon impact of their production.

Planned future developments include bid process functionality, so projects can be compared by not just budget and treatment, but environmental impact too. A reporting dashboard will also be added, allowing users to pull information required for company carbon reporting.

AdGreen is a part of the Advertising Association, the UK’s trade body for the ad industry. The need to track, measure and reduce carbon emissions involved in ad production is an “essential” part of Ad Net Zero, the industry’s plan to reach net zero by the end of 2030.

“As an industry, we have to take responsibility for the carbon emissions involved in advertising production activities and take rapid steps to reduce them,” says Sebastian Munden, executive vice-president and general manager at Unilever UK and Ireland, and chair of Ad Net Zero.

“The AdGreen carbon calculator is a brilliant tool for every ad professional involved in the process of producing ads – we will be embedding its use into production of Unilever ad productions going forward. I urge everyone to register for the tool, collect the levy and embed the use of a carbon calculator like this in their working practices.”

Tuesday, 28 September

JD Sports expands into beauty with premium haircare acquisition

JD Sports has outlined plans to branch out into beauty, after acquiring a majority stake in premium haircare brand Hairburst.

In addition to buying Hairburst and turning into a multichannel beauty business, the sportswear retailer has ambitions to make further inroads into the market through the acquisition of other “complementary entrepreneurial businesses”.

JD Sports plans to take advantage of Hairburst’s strong social media presence, with 1.5 million followers on Instagram alone, which it believes will help drive digital growth.

Hairburst was founded in 2014 by Jimmy Hill, Henry Gwilliam and Matthew Cragg, with its core focus on strengthening products such as shampoos, vitamins, accessories and growth and volume serums, which are scientifically formulated.

The brand, which is most popular among millennials and Gen Z consumers, sells direct to consumer via its own website in France, Italy, the US, the Middle East, North Africa and South East Asia, as well as via beauty retailers including Boots, Superdrug, Sephora, Holland & Barrett and Lookfantastic.

JD’s executive chairman Peter Cowgill, says: “We are pleased to have made this initial acquisition in the beauty sector and have been impressed by the capabilities of the management team, who have a strong identity and connection with millennials and Gen Z consumers.”

Hairburt’s Hills adds: “We are very excited to partner with JD for the next stage of our growth. JD has already excelled in capturing the Gen Z market in the sports fashion industry giving us many synergy opportunities. We are very proud to be the first beauty business to partner with JD on its venture into the beauty industry.

“With our ability to create amazing products and market through social media, supplemented by JD’s consumer connection, financial power and global scale, we see great potential to build the Hairburst brand and acquire other brands within the sector.”

Octopus could be worth more than Centrica after $600m boost from Al Gore fund

Octopus Energy has received a $600m (£437m) cash injection from Al Gore’s investment fund to help it develop its global green energy strategy.

Generation Investment Management, which was set up by the former US vice president and environmental activist, has bought a 13% in the UK-based renewable energy specialist. The $36bn fund manager is focused on sustainability and tackling climate change.

The deal values Octopus, which was set up just five years ago at $4.6bn, meaning it would be worth more than British Gas owner Centrica by the time the investment is complete.

Octopus says it will use the funds to scale up the business and drive the growth of its green energy platform Kraken, which is used by 17 million accounts – both those of Octopus customers and those of rival suppliers such as npower, E.ON and Good Energy – to manage power use more efficiently.

Through the investment it aims to support 100 million energy customers by 2027.

Over the weekend Octopus agreed to take on 600,000 customers from collapsed energy firm Avro (see below), increasing its customer base to 3.1 million.

READ MORE: Octopus secures up to $600m from investment fund set up by Al Gore

Activision Blizzard agrees to settle £18m harassment lawsuit

Video games company Activision Blizzard has agreed to pay £18m to settle a lawsuit against the firm alleging sexual harassment and discrimination.

The company, which owns Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and Candy Crush, says it has reached a settlement agreement with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in the US, which filed a complaint yesterday.

As part of the settlement, Activision Blizzard has agreed to create an $18m fund to compensate employees who claim damages, with the remaining amount to be given to charity.

The company has been accused of having a “frat boy culture”, with female employees earning less than male employees doing a similar job, and being subjected to sexual harassment. This included “cube crawls”, in which inebriated male employees walked through office cubicles and engaged in inappropriate behaviour.

“There is no place anywhere at our company for discrimination, harassment, or unequal treatment of any kind, and I am grateful to the employees who bravely shared their experiences,” said Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick.

“I remain unwavering in my commitment to make Activision Blizzard one of the world’s most inclusive, respected, and respectful workplaces,” he added.

READ MORE: Activision Blizzard says it will pay $18 million to settle harassment lawsuit 

Whitworths launches first TV ad in 40 years after increasing marketing investment sevenfold

Dried fruit and nut brand Whitworths is launching its first TV ad in 40 years as it looks to communicate its new positioning as a healthier snacking brand and expand its reach.

The brand has increased marketing investment by seven times compared to last year as it looks to drive mass awareness.

The ‘Good by Nature’ campaign aims to showcase the variety of products available as well as offering suggestions for different occasions to enjoy them, such as a breakfast topping or a post-workout snack.

The TV campaign, which has been created by Chapter and will air on ITV over the next six weeks, will be supported by in-store and online promotions. The brand hopes to reach nearly 4 million households.

Phil Gowland, commercial director at Whitworths says: “Achieving our goal to dramatically increase Whitworths’ consumer reach requires a step change in investment. We’ve increased our brand investment by seven times year on year to support the TV campaign launch, following a journey to reposition the brand over the last five years towards a natural based healthier snacking and eating brand, suitable for multiple consumption occasions.

“By doing this, we’re tapping into the biggest consumer trend – health – making it the perfect time to launch a TV campaign aimed at celebrating how flexible and amazingly tasty natural food can be. We look forward to monitoring the success of our first TV campaign in four decades, which alongside our other comms investment in PR and influencer marketing, look set to continue the incremental business growth seen so far.”

Whitworths reported a 19% increase in revenue growth for 2020, driven by “significant business wins, brand innovation and expansion towards a more diversified customer base”.

The media planning and buying for the campaign is being managed by John Ayling & Associates, using ITV’s Backing Business initiative, which aims to allow businesses of all sizes to use TV advertising to help drive growth.

Facebook halts Instagram Kids over mental health concerns

Facebook is “pausing” work on Instagram Kids to address concerns raised by parents, experts and regulators about the impact it could have on teen mental health, but stands firm that the project is not a “bad idea”.

It follows reports in the Wall Street Journal that the social network had commissioned research, which revealed Instagram could impact girls’ mental health around issues such as body image and self-esteem.

Instagram Kids was being developed for children aged 10 to 12 who are too young to use the regular app, which doesn’t allow under-13s.

Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri has defended the concept, saying Facebook continues to “stand by the need to develop this experience” but would be working with working with parents, experts, policymakers and regulators to “listen to their concerns, and to demonstrate the value and importance of this project for younger teens online today”.

“Critics of Instagram Kids will see this as an acknowledgement that the project is a bad idea. That’s not the case. The reality is that kids are already online, and we believe that developing age-appropriate experiences designed specifically for them is far better for parents than where we are today,” he added.

READ MORE: Facebook pauses work on Instagram Kids after teen mental health concerns

Monday, 27 September

The Guardian kicks off marketing effort for new Saturday magazine

The Guardian has unveiled a multi-platform marketing campaign to promote its new weekly magazine, Saturday, with activity to run throughout the rest of September and October.

Developed in partnership with in-house creative agency Oliver and media agency PHD, the campaign asks consumers whether they have ‘Forgotten how to Saturday?’ and presents the new magazine as a way for readers to rediscover the potential of the weekend ahead.

A 30-second ad will run across Channel 4’s on-demand platform All4 and in cinemas, while supporting activity runs across podcasts, organic and paid-for social media, outdoors in London, Manchester, Bristol and Brighton, in retailers, and across print and online the Guardian’s channels.

The magazine is to be included with the Guardian newspaper on a Saturday, with more than 100 pages including interviews, picture stories, book reviews, and lifestyle features.

“We began with a very clear idea of reintroducing our readers to the joy and excitement of the weekend and, through our collaboration with Oliver, have landed on a set of bright and visually-striking creatives that represent our vision for the new magazine,” says Guardian News & Media head of brand Joel Midgley.

“The campaign is deeply rooted in Saturday’s journalism, showcasing the weekly magazine as a way for readers to make the most of their weekend; uncovering new ideas and discovering different perspectives and ways of living that will enrich their lives.”

Octopus to take on Avro’s 580,000 customers in energy crisis

Energy regulator Ofgem has ordered Octopus Energy to supply the 580,000 customers left without an energy provider last week when Avro Energy ceased trading.

Avro Energy and Green became the latest energy companies to collapse due to rapidly increasing gas prices, bringing the total number to six. Nearly 1.5 million customers have been affected overall.

On Sunday, Octopus – a challenger brand in the sector offering 100% renewable energy – said it had offered to supply power to Avro’s customers and has promised customers there will be “no interruption or impact” to their energy supply, with any outstanding credit balances to be honoured.

“Our responsibility is to ensure that Avro’s customers are well looked after. We offered to take on this responsibility because we believe that our technology platform (Kraken) will make the change as smooth and straightforward for their customers as possible,” the business said.

The supplier said it would be contacting all Avro customers over the next 48 hours. Before the announcement, Octopus claimed 2.5 million customers. Its total will now be taken to around 3.1 million.

Octopus has also been subject to speculation as a supplier that could consider bidding for rival challenger brand Bulb. The brand made a £63m loss in the year to 31 March 2020, so is reportedly looking for fresh investment.

With Bulb’s 1.7 million customers, a tie-up could create a supplier with almost 5 million customers, a much stronger competitive threat to those businesses that currently dominate the energy sector.

READ MORE: Gas price crisis: Octopus ordered to take on Avro’s customers

Global supply chain plight hits Nike and Costco

As global supply chain problems continue to challenge businesses, both Nike and Costco have warned they are facing product shortages and delays.

Production and delivery of Nike’s shoes is expected to be impacted until next spring, as the firm’s factories in Vietnam and Indonesia have been hit by local lockdowns. According to the BBC, this has cost the firm 10 weeks of production in Vietnam this year, while the amount of time it takes to ship products from Asia to North America has doubled to 80 days.

Meanwhile, Costco has reinstated limits on purchases of key items such as toilet paper, both due to a resurgence in panic buying and its struggles to find the trucks, drivers and shipping containers needed to bring goods to its stores.

To help tackle the lorry driver shortage in the UK, the government yesterday (26 September) announced a temporary visa scheme to make it easier for foreign lorry drivers to work in the UK. Some 5,000 visas are to be issued during the scheme, which will run for three months until Christmas Eve.

However, the British Retail Consortium has warned that 5,000 visas will be too few to alleviate pressures on retailers.

“While we welcome the visa scheme to allow HGV drivers from abroad to help temporarily fill domestic shortages in food and fuel logistics, the limit of 5,000 visas will do little to alleviate the current shortfall,” says director of food and sustainability, Andrew Opie.

“Supermarkets alone have estimated they need at least 15,000 HGV drivers for their businesses to be able to operate at full capacity ahead of Christmas and avoid disruption or availability issues.”

Despite disruption, Nike reported a 16% surge in revenue over the first quarter of the year, driven by a 25% growth in digital, direct to consumer sales.

READ MORE: Nike and Costco warn of product shortages and delays

Cadbury puts real Australian on billboards in Caramilk campaign

The latest instalment in Cadbury’s ‘Just Ask An Aussie’ campaign series has seen the brand place an Australian and Caramilk “mega fan” on billboards across the country, calling on consumers to literally ask why the chocolate bar is so popular Down Under.

Devised by VCCP London, the campaign premiered at Birmingham’s Custard Factory yesterday (26 September), while further installations are to go live in Manchester’s Cross Street and The Truman Brewery Dray Walk in London.

Until recently, Cadbury Caramilk was only available to buy in Australia and gained a dedicated fanbase in the country. The brand claims demand was so high, it had to be rationed by shops.

Consumers who cannot visit a billboard in person can instead speak to the Australian mega fans about Caramilk through an Instagram Q&A.

Supporting activity is to be provided by a media partnership with LADBible and Wildfire memes, alongside a dedicated influencer campaign featuring comedians Sideman, BashTheEntertainer and Star Holroyd.

“We’re super excited to be putting real Aussies on billboards to help spread the word of just how delicious the new Cadbury Caramilk bar is,” says senior brand manager at Cadbury parent company Mondelez, Beatrice Berutti.

“We wanted to do something which naturally channelled the Cadbury Caramilk character, whilst standing out from other new product launches. We were committed to doing something a little bit different, albeit whacky to welcome Caramilk to British shelves, and we’re super excited that our mad plan of pinning a real, live Aussie was pulled off.”

Revolution Beauty reports strong sales growth following IPO

Global beauty business Revolution Beauty Group has recorded £78m of revenue in the six months to 31 August 2021, representing a 35% increase on the same period in 2020.

In a trading update ahead of its interim results, the business also claims to be making “good progress” on its direct to consumer (DTC) model, having formed a partnership with ecommerce platform TBH Ingenuity in late 2020 to accelerate its DTC localisation plans.

The site was launched in the USA in January 2021 and in Australia and New Zealand in March 2021, and as a result Revolution claims to have seen triple digit percentage increases in sales. The business also added over 200,000 new customers in the first half of the year.

Meanwhile, Revolution saw its skin care category grow revenues by over 34%, while the launch of its haircare ‘Plex’ range in Boots, Superdrug and online is showing “promising” 203% growth year-on-year.

To continue driving growth through the latter half of the year, the business plans to “rapidly” expand its brands and categories through its global digital and retail distribution platforms. Its flagship makeup brand, Makeup Revolution, is to enter over 350 of the largest Boots stores in early 2022, while the business also has plans to expand into new countries and territories over the next six months and onwards.

Revolution Beauty Group became listed on the London Stock Exchange in July 2021, just over two months ago. CEO and joint founder of the business, Adam Minto, says he is “pleased” by the growth it has experienced and the execution of the digital first strategy it set out in its IPO.

“As we said at IPO, the long-term growth opportunity in mass beauty remains vast with more consumers switching to online, while the market as a whole continues to grow rapidly globally,” he says.

“Revolution Beauty is well positioned to take advantage of these trends through its innovative influencer led marketing strategies and on-trend products that deliver quality at an accessible price point. As we look ahead to the second half, we remain focused on delivering our ambition to build a new era of consumer centric beauty brands around the world. “