Vodafone, Haribo, Pinterest: 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.


Tom Daley and Vodafone want to improve flexibility

Vodafone has teamed up with British diver and television personality Tom Daley to promote what it calls ‘VodaYoga’, encouraging people to get off their sofas and back into a more flexible shape.

Created with healthcare charity Nuffield Health, the VodaYoga routine has been created to combat a rise in aches and pains caused by a year of working from home and is available for free on the brand’s website.

Daley and Nuffield Heath yoga instructor Zoe Simms talk viewers through a range of exercises, including posture-improving poses and breathing techniques for a more balanced body and mind.

The concept has been devised to promote the Vodafone EVO, with its flexible contracts and upgrades, as Vodafone UK customer director Max Taylor explains: “EVO is all about flexible mobile at what is a really difficult time for many people.

“VodaYoga takes that one step further. People have been stuck at home, and home working is set to continue for a lot of us, so it’s vital that we stay fit and flexible. We’re injecting some flexibility back into the nation – to people’s wallets, bodies and minds.”

Haribo deliveries held up due to shortage of drivers

German confectionery brand Haribo says it is “experiencing challenges” with deliveries to the UK due to a shortage of lorry drivers.

A double blow of Brexit and the global pandemic has resulted in a shortfall of some 60,000 drivers, according to the Road Haulage Association, with an estimated 30,000 HGV driving tests cancelled last year due to lockdown.

And that has meant a lack of drivers and staff, forcing Haribo to admit that they might not be able to meet demand from sweet-toothed Britons until the situation improves.

The company said in a statement that it was “working with partners across the food and drink industry” to try and address the problem.

READ MORE: Lorry driver shortage threatens Haribo sweets

Pinterest ad policy embraces body neutrality and acceptance

Pinterest Body NeutralityImage-sharing platform Pinterest has updated its weight-loss ad policy to ban any weight loss imagery or language, any testimonials regarding weight loss or weight products and any language or imagery that idealises or denigrates certain body types.

The move comes after Pinterest research found that 41% of Britons said that they felt pressure to get themselves in shape for the summer and nearly a third (28%) admitted that mainstream cultural representations of bodies made them feel self-conscious.

Pinterest says that it will be blocking any searches for keywords on its platform that relate to eating disorders, with users instead encouraged to search #pinterestwellbeing to find various emotional health and wellbeing tips and activities.

“People of all ages are facing challenges related to body image and mental health, particularly as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic and kick-off the summer season,” says Pinterest’s head of policy Sarah Bromma.

“We believe updating our ad policy globally to prohibit all ads with weight loss language and imagery is an important step in prioritizing the mental health and well-being of our Pinners and fostering a place on the internet where they can be themselves, embrace their bodies regardless of shape or size, and feel comfortable with who they are.”

Nissan to open £1bn battery factory in Sunderland

Japanese car manufacturer Nissan will be opening a “gigafactory” in partnership with the Chinese Envision brand to increase production of electric vehicles at its Sunderland car plant, which is to be rechristened EV36Zero.

The move will mean the creation of a reported 6,200 jobs, including 900 in the north east, where the Sunderland factory is expected to be able to produce enough batteries for 100,000 vehicles a year.

Nissan is also committing £432m to produce an electric vehicle in the UK, with its CEO Ashwani Gupta telling reporters that, “This is a landmark day for Nissan, our partners, the UK and the automotive industry as a whole.

“Nissan EV36Zero will transform the idea of what is possible for our industry and set a roadmap for the future for all.”

READ MORE: Nissan announces £1bn ‘gigafactory’ boosting electric car production and creating thousands of jobs

Uber campaign promotes benefits for drivers

Ride-hailing and delivery brand Uber’s ‘Only On Uber’ OOH campaign has been created to highlight the guarantees that the app’s drivers now receive as part of a commitment to treat them all as employees.

In April of this year, a Supreme Court ruling found that the US-based company had to pay all of its UK drivers the national minimum wage and holiday pay and allow rest breaks, amid growing unease among the public about the gig economy.

Now, with Uber bookings getting back to pre-pandemic levels as lockdown restrictions ease, the campaign targets potential and existing drivers, informing them of extra benefits, including a pension, access to Open University courses and union membership.

“As cities open up and people start moving again, we are encouraging new drivers to sign up,” says Uber’s regional general manager for northern and eastern Europe, Jamie Heywood.

“We are proud to offer every driver the rights and protections they deserve – a guaranteed wage, holiday pay and a pension – but we’re not the only player in town. Drivers work with multiple operators and deserve the same standard of work on every trip.”

Wednesday, 30 June

gap retailGap to close all UK stores in move online

US fashion group Gap is to close all of its stores in the UK in a move to online-only trading, reports the BBC.

The retailer has confirmed it plans to close all 81 UK stores “in a phased manner” between the end of August and the end of September, with a consultation process with staff due to start. The company had already announced the closure of 19 stores where the leases were due to expire.

A strategic review of its European business will also see Gap offload stores in France and Italy.

Gap has been reliant on constant discounting to hold up UK sales for some years. It blames marketing dynamics, including the wider shift to online shopping, for the closure of the stores.

“We believe in Gap’s global brand power. We are executing against Gap’s ‘Power Plan’ and partnering to amplify our global reach,” says a spokesperson. “We are not exiting the UK market. We will continue to run and operate our Gap ecommerce business in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland.”

The store closures represent a further blow to the UK’s high street retail sector.

READ MORE: Gap to close all 81 stores in UK and Ireland

Asda launches one-hour delivery service for full online range

asdaAsda has launched a one-hour Express Delivery service, becoming the first UK supermarket to offer its full online product range for such rapid provision to consumers.

The service has been launched at three Asda branches after a trial. More than 30,000 grocery products are available within an hour for customers within a three-mile radius of the Halifax, Rotherham and Poole stores. Up to 70 items can be ordered per delivery. A larger basket – with no limit on size – can be delivered within four hours of ordering.

A new feature also allows customers to track deliveries to their doors in real time. Each delivery costs £8.50 on a flat rate, with no minimum order. The retailer says it will be able to quickly introduce the service at further stores if it is popular. It is also extending its partnership with Uber Eats from 200 to more than 300 stores, offering an edited range of 500 products for rapid delivery.

“After successfully trialling an Express Delivery service, we know this is something that our customers want as part of our online grocery proposition and we are delighted to be able to offer this service to even more customers,” says Asda vice-president of online grocery Simon Gregg.

“The launch of our new Express Delivery service and extension of our existing partnership with Uber Eats to 300 stores means that customers can get their order delivered to the doorstep at market-leading pace.”

Malibu celebrates growth with ‘Funshine’ summer campaign

Coconut rum brand Malibu has launched a #LetTheFunshine immersive experience and augmented reality (AR) game to capitalise on its growing popularity this summer.

A pop-up event at London’s Truman Brewery this week, and in Manchester’s Spinningfields Square next week, will feature summer-themed photo booths inspired by Malibu cocktails, DJs and a bar. ‘Malibu moments’ will be brought to life with 4D technology. Malibu has also created a ‘Pick up a piña colada’ AR game to celebrate Piña Colada Day on 10 July. The event is free to attend with advance booking.

“Malibu is committed to liberating the fun spirit of summer and our #LetTheFunshine experience is our way of bringing moments of joy to consumers. Nothing beats the feeling of sipping a cold cocktail on the beach, and with travel restrictions still in place, our immersive experience will transport Generation Z to their personal paradise as Malibu once again delivers the true taste of summer,” says Pernod Ricard UK brand director Marnie Corrigan.

Malibu has been experiencing 49.7% value growth, which is ahead of the wider category.

Gambling brands ousted as top sports sponsors

A demand for sports teams to be more socially responsible has seen a shift away from gambling industry sponsors according to new data.

A study by sponsorship intelligence company Caytoo show gambling, which was the top sponsorship sector just two years ago, has seen its share across all sports sponsorships almost halve, from 15.3% to 8.1%. The drop has been driven by football, where gambling sponsors have reduced from 32.7% of the total to 15.2%, with 17 gambling brands ceasing to be sponsors.

Across professional football, rugby and cricket teams sponsors from the construction and engineering, automotive and financial services sectors all now outnumber gambling brands. However, if football is taken alone gambling remains the top sector, while financial services is dominant in rugby, and automotive and construction lead the way in cricket.

“This change has been driven by the greater demand from society for professional sports to be more socially responsible when it comes to their fans and communities. In addition to gambling’s drop, alcohol has seen the second biggest reduction in prevalence while environmental services and healthcare are among those with the biggest increases,” says Caytoo head of research and analysis Alex Burmaster.

“A prime example of this change is Norwich City FC. At the beginning of our research the club signed a deal with Asian betting firm BK8 but by the time the research finished Norwich had terminated the deal due to public pressure over the sexualised nature of BK8’s marketing activity and replaced it with Norfolk-based Lotus Cars who recently announced a £2.5bn investment to move to producing only electric vehicles.”

Construction and engineering brands accounted for 11.2% of total sponsors in the study, automotive for 9.4% and financial 8.5%. Gambling accounted for 8.1%.

The increased digitisation of commerce has seen IT services/software become the fast-growing sponsor sector, with eight new sponsors entering the market. Six of these are among women’s teams, where there has been a 600% rise in IT sponsors.

WFA forums for key marketing issues

The World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) has launched three new forums so global and regional marketers can share peer-to-peer learning on key issues.

The forums each address an area of key concern for WFA members: Marketing capability, agency management and in-housing. They will be chaired respectively by Becky Verano, Reckitt global director of marketing operations; Tammy Hourigan, Unilever global agency relations director; and Tracy Stallard, AB InBev global vice-president of experiential and in-house agency.

“We’re delighted that three such senior marketers have stepped up to expand our range of specialist groups addressing major challenges that many regional and global companies can struggle with,” says WFA CEO Stephan Loerke. “In bringing our best-in-class peer-to-peer learning environments to these increasingly critical areas, we hope to equip our members with the knowledge they need to tackle their individual challenges.”

“The Marketing Capability Forum will look to share learnings around how you drive the data driven marketing agenda and enable a marketing culture for embracing diversity and inclusion as well as measuring the performance of engaging capability building programmes,” says Becky Verano at Reckitt.

“Accelerated by the pandemic, many advertisers are evolving the role of their agency partners to drive inclusion and better connect their brands with culture and communities. In the coming months, the work of the Agency Management Forum will be focused on sharing knowledge around the transformation of agency roster models, pitching and integrated briefing to drive best practice,” says Tammy Hourigan at Unilever.

“In-housing has become a major part of the marketing organisation model, so moving forward we’ll be prioritising agile ways of working, internal structures and how brands measure performance and success in what is a rapidly growing areas for many brands,” adds Tracy Stallard at AB InBev.

Wednesday, 30 June


Dixons Carphone online sales soar as business preps for Currys rebrand

Dixons Carphone saw online electrical sales surge by 103% to £4.7bn in the year to 1 May, as the retailer sought to accelerate its “omnichannel transformation”.

Total group revenue rose by 2% to £10.3bn, as like for like growth was offset by the impact of high street store closures across its mobile business. Group statutory profit before tax hit £33m, compared to a loss of £140m in 2019/20.

In the UK alone online sales surged by 114% to £3.4bn, as the company grew its online market share by six percentage points. Dixons Carphone also increased the number of UK customers actively engaging with the brand from 3.5 million to 9.6 million over the period.

Internationally, online sales were up 79% to £1.3bn, contributing 28% of sales. However, in UK and Ireland mobile revenue fell by 55% to an adjusted loss £117m following the decision to close standalone Carphone Warehouse stores in March 2020.

The company also confirmed it had repaid £73m of furlough money paid to UK and Ireland employees over the year to 1 May.

Reflecting on the results, group chief executive Alex Baldock says Dixons Carphone’s omnichannel business model has helped the retailer tap into the growing importance of tech in consumers’ lives under lockdown.

The company is also on the cusp of a major rebrand that will see Currys PC World and Dixons, mobile phone retailer Carphone Warehouse and service partner Team Knowhow, all brought under the Currys brand by the end of October.

“New technology platforms will add more fuel to our growth and to innovation that customers love and no-one else can get close to, whether getting them their amazing technology ever-faster, or helping them 24/7 with live video shopping,” says Baldock.

“This year, we move to one brand in the UK (as we have in each international market), and Currys can become evermore the first choice for all things tech, electrical and mobile, products and services alike. The start of the financial year has seen continued strong trading in all our markets and I’m more confident than ever in our prospects.”

Facebook launches newsletter platform in response to ‘media ecosystem’

Facebook BulletinFacebook has launched a standalone newsletter platform mixing free and paid-for content, in what CEO Mark Zuckerberg describes as a response to the “media ecosystem”.

The social media giant insists that any writers using the Bulletin newsletter platform will have “complete editorial independence”. Facebook says it will not take a cut of the writers’ earnings and they will be able to share their content and subscriber lists on different platforms, as well as choose their own subscription prices. The subscription payments will be handled by Facebook Pay, allowing users to pay by credit card, debit card or PayPal account.

Paid subscribers to the Bulletin platform will gain access to extra features, such as dedicated Facebook groups, exclusive content and the ability to comment on articles. Tools will be added enabling writers to share podcasts alongside articles, including podcasts hosted externally to Facebook, and they will be able to use Facebook Live or Live Audio Rooms to connect with their readers.

Bulletin has its own website and branding, and readers will not need to be logged into Facebook to read free content. Each writer will have their own “standalone website” under their brand, which they can customise with their publication’s name, logo and colour palette. The newsletters will, however, also be integrated into the author’s Facebook pages and can be viewed via the news feed or on the news section of the app.

The company says it built Bulletin on a separate website to enable writers to grow their audience in ways “not exclusively dependent on the Facebook platform”.

READ MORE: Facebook’s standalone newsletter platform ‘Bulletin’ launches today

Diageo’s Distill Ventures pledges $5m to improve diversity in the drinks industry

SeedlipDiageo-backed accelerator Distill Ventures is launching a programme aimed at early stage founders from underrepresented groups, part of a $5m (£3.6m) drive to increase diversity in the drinks industry.

Distill Ventures, which since 2013 has invested $120m (£87m) in more than 15 drinks brands including non-alcoholic spirit Seedlip and German aperitif Belsazar, will initially identify potential founders in the UK and US. Interested entrepreneurs are also being encouraged to apply for funding. Those selected will be supported to develop a six-month business plan, which they will present to Distill Ventures and Diageo.

Successful applicants will be awarded initial funding, typically between $250,000 and $500,000 (£180,000 to £360,000) and will work in collaboration with Distill Ventures to bring their business plan to life. After this the founders will be guided through a broader pitch process, with the potential to create a longer-term partnership with Diageo.

Internally Distill Ventures is embarking on six-month educational programme focused on unconscious bias and other key inclusion barriers, spanning workshops and coaching. The accelerator also plans to broaden its search process beyond its existing industry network in order to reach a wider array of founders.

“We are committed to championing inclusion and diversity to ensure our employees, suppliers and partners are representative of the people around the world who enjoy our products,” says Diageo group strategy director Liz Brown.

“We have ambitious 2030 goals and today’s announcement from Distill Ventures supports our commitment to growing a more diverse drinks industry, supporting innovative entrepreneurs and building a sustainable long-term business.”

New Google policy calls on financial services advertisers to be FCA verified

In a bid to address online scams, Google will now insist any advertiser promoting a financial services product on its platform is certified by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority.

The new policy, enforced from 6 September, will require advertisers wanting to display financial services ads to complete an updated verification process and applies to brands showing ads to UK users actively seeking financial services. The requirement covers financial services products both regulated by and not regulated by the FCA.

Google says it has been working with the FCA over the past 18 months to help tackle this issue, including restricting the rates of financial return a firm can advertise and banning the use of terms that make unrealistic promises of large payouts with minimal risk, effort or investment.

In May the search giant became the first major tech company to join the Stop Scams UK group and donated $5m (£3.6m) in advertising credits to UK public awareness campaigns designed to help consumers spot the tactics of online and offline scammers.

However, Google has been under fire for not doing enough to protect users from financial fraud. In September 2020, FCA chairman Charles Randell argued that the number of fraudulent adverts appearing online was “deeply frustrating” and claimed that whatever Google was doing was “not working”.

According to FTAdvisor, the FCA splashed out £326,334 on paid search ads between January and June 2020 against common investment keywords to target consumers and “directly attack” online promotions for illegal or unsuitable financial products.

Twitter and Gucci shake up top marketing teams

Twitter is shaking up its top team with the promotion of Sarah Personette to the role of chief customer officer.

Charged with heading up the social media platform’s global ad sales, content partnerships and revenue operations, she joined Twitter in 2018 as vice-president of global client solutions. Assuming her new role on 1 August, Personette’s promotion follows the exit of global vice-president of revenue and content partnerships Matt Derella after more than eight years at the company.

Personette will report to chief executive Jack Dorsey and oversee Twitter’s “emerging businesses”, including ad tech platform MoPub. Prior to joining the company, she served in various roles at Facebook, including as vice-president of global business marketing, as well as chief operating officer at publisher Refinery29.

Elsewhere, the US arm of Italian fashion house Gucci has appointed former Diageo and Away marketer Selena Kalvaria as its new senior vice-president of brand engagement.

Kalvaria joins the brand from DTC travel luggage brand Away where she has worked for more than three years, ascending to the role of senior vice-president and CMO. Prior to that, she served as senior director of flavoured malt beverages at AB InBev and as an associate brand manager on the Smirnoff Ice brand at Diageo.

Reporting to Gucci Americas CEO Susan Chokachi, Kalvaria will lead on the brand’s marketing and communications strategy. The luxury fashion house says it wants to tap into Kalvaria’s experience in developing “innovative, brand-led strategies”.

Kalvaria takes over from Christine Iacuzzo who left Gucci in April. She kicked off her 20-year career at the luxury brand as a media planner in 2001, rising to the role of director of advertising and marketing, before latterly taking on the position of senior vice-president of brand engagement.

READ MORE: Twitter names new chief customer officer amid revenue push

Tuesday, 29 June

BrewDog called out for false ‘solid gold’ claim

A disappointed winner of one of BrewDog’s “solid gold” beer cans has called out the Scottish brewery after finding out his prize was actually gold-plated brass.

The cans were advertised as part of a promotional competition between November 2020 and March 2021. Both the company and CEO James Watt claimed the gold cans to be worth £15,000.

Ten of the cans were hidden in 12-packs of the brewer’s flagship Punk IPA beer. Those who found them were also to win £10,ooo in BrewDog shares and a VIP tour of the brewery.

BrewDog told the Guardian it stands by its £15,000 valuation, but could not guarantee their value on the open market.

A spokesperson also said BrewDog had immediately removed the “erroneous” mentions of solid gold in its marketing as soon as it realised the mistake, though tweets from Watt’s official account referring to the “solid gold” cans remained online until yesterday afternoon (28 June).

“Importantly, the phrasing in question was never included in the detailed terms and conditions of the competition, nor in the wording informing the lucky winners of their prize,” the brewery said.

The Guardian claims to have seen emails between BrewDog and the disappointed winner, showing that initial attempts to contact customer services to ask about the discrepancy were blocked.

The news comes just weeks after BrewDog was called out by former employees of creating an internal “culture of fear”, as well as using “lies, hypocrisy and deceit” to generate positive PR for the brand.

In an open letter, more than 250 ex-staff members accused the business of lying about a number of stunts, including sending anti-homophobia protest beer to Russia and about founders Watt and Martin Dickie changing their names to ‘Elvis’ in response to a legal challenge by the Elvis Presley estate.

However, while BrewDog’s reputational health took a battering from the allegations, purchase intent remained largely unaffected in the aftermath of the scandal.

READ MORE: Winner of BrewDog’s ‘solid gold’ beer can finds prize is made largely of brass

M&S Kids teams up with Clarks in string of new brand partnerships

In the first of a series of new brand partnerships for its children’s clothing range, M&S will begin selling Clarks shoes on its website and in eight destination stores this week.

Other children’s clothing brands to launch on M&S.com this summer include accessories brand Hype, Jack & Jones Junior, Little Joule, and Somebody’s Child.

This latest partnership under ‘Brands at M&S’ comes as the retailer shifts its clothing strategy away from ‘special occasion’ and towards everyday style and value. M&S Kids is therefore growing its casual ranges, from joggers to jeans, while hoping to retain its reputation as a provider of school uniform.

As such, next month M&S will launch a major ‘back to school’ campaign, highlighting Clarks shoes and Hype’s range of schoolbags and water bottles.

“Our kidswear mission is to remain the “go to” for Back to School whilst growing our daywear offer and that’s all about being more fun for everyday – more comfortable, more colourful, more casual,” says M&S’s director of women’s, kid’s and beauty, Jill Stanton.

“As part of this we have a great opportunity to introduce curated brands to complement our offer – from our exclusive “mini-me” Ghost dresses which have been flying off the shelf, to the new brand from Nobody’s Child – Somebody’s Child. It’s a really exciting time for M&S Kids and we’re looking forward to hearing our customers’ feedback.”

M&S began to introduce third party brands to its clothing business in March, marking a radical strategic shift that the retailer hopes will “turbocharge” online sales.

M&S now sells products from a host of other labels, with Hobbs, Jack & Jones, Joules, Phase Eight, Seasalt Cornwall, Selected Homme, Selected Femme, Sloggi, Sosandar, Triumph, White Stuff and Y.A.S ranges sold via the website.

Greggs’ sales growth ‘stronger than anticipated’

greggsGreggs has reported a “continued strong recovery” in its latest trading update for May to June, following the easing of restrictions on non-essential retail across the UK.

“Pent-up demand” for its products have reduced over recent weeks, the bakery chain says, but nonetheless like-for-like sales growth in company-managed shops has remained in the range of one and three percent compared to the same period in 2019.

According to Greggs, this level of sustained sales recovery is “stronger than we had anticipated” and will have a positive impact on its expected financial result for the year if it continues.

In March, Greggs revealed plans to increase investment in digital channels as it doubled down on its marketing strategy, after posting its first-ever loss as a result of the Covid-19 crisis.

The bakery chain recorded a drop in sales of 30.5% to £811.3m in 2020 and posted a pre-tax loss of £13.7m, significantly down from the £108.3m profit it made in 2019.

Grocery sales hold steady as UK lockdown eases

With a drop of just 2.4%, total till grocery sales for the four weeks to 19 June has remained largely unchanged, according to new data from NielsenIQ, while growth over the last 12 weeks is flat.

Despite the lack of growth, the data reflects a “strong performance” for grocery sales, Nielsen says, indicating that supermarkets are holding sales levels well as lockdown restrictions ease.

Online grocery sales saw a more significant decline, falling by -6.9% over the four week period. However, eight million shoppers (or 28% of all households) continue to shop online every four weeks, suggesting that online shopping will remain at a much higher level than pre-pandemic. Online share of FMCG sales is currently 13.1%.

Of the ‘big 4’, Sainsbury’s was the only supermarket to have grown market share in the last 12 weeks. Sales at Lidl soared by 20.4%, driven by new store openings, while M&S increased its food sales by 11.3%.

Sales for Co-op and Iceland remain in decline compared to pandemic levels, although the increase in visits to these retailers continues to mirror the market.

“With some lockdown restrictions still in place, British consumers have maintained spend at UK supermarkets, with sales remaining relatively buoyant over the last four week period against the high spend during the lockdown last year,” says NielsenIQ’s UK head of retailer and business insight, Mike Watkins.

“Staycations for most families this year and the anticipated relaxation of remaining restrictions in July, are expected to be catalysts to a change in retail spend.  Whilst more food spend will shift back to hospitality, the increase in seasonal travel and families and friends finally able to join together without restrictions, will give an added boost to food and drink categories at supermarkets.”

WACL launches gender pay gap toolkit for businesses

Having successfully campaigned for the reintroduction of mandatory gender pay gap reporting, WACL (Women in Advertising & Communications Leadership) has launched a toolkit to help businesses use their pay gap data to the best effect.

The toolkit includes tips on how to convince businesses with under 250 employees that measuring the pay gap still matters, how to influence from the inside, and how to drive gender diversity in global companies.

“If you report, you’re only at the start of a critical journey,” says WACL president and CEO of The Brooklyn Brothers, Jackie Stevenson.

“The subsequent action plan will result in a more diverse business, one which is happier and, ultimately, a more profitable. Making changes can be challenging. We need a constant drum-beat of activity to keep this important issue front-of-mind. This toolkit outlines steps we can all take.”

WACL is an active group of influential women in marketing, media, the creative industries and communications, which aims to accelerate gender equality.

The group joined forces with the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) and Fawcett Society earlier this year to call on the UK government to reinstate gender pay gap reporting, after it was put on hold in 2020 due to Covid-19.

Subsequently, in February the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) announced enforcement action against organisations which fail to report their gender pay gap will start again on 5 October 2021.

A recent survey by the CMI saw 85% of respondents say they support gender pay gap reporting, while 80% also support ethnicity pay gap reporting. Over two thirds support mandatory gender pay gap reporting, while the same proportion also agree with extending pay gap reporting to SME-sized companies with 250 employees or less.

Monday, 28 June

CMA probes Amazon and Google for fake reviews

The Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA) has formally opened an investigation to determine whether Amazon and Google have broken consumer laws by taking “insufficient” action to protect consumers from fake reviews.

The move follows an initial investigation by the CMA in May 2020 which assessed the internal systems of several platforms and processes in identifying and dealing with fake news.

It will now consider whether the brands have broken consumer laws by not taking enough action.

Sellers run fake reviews to improve their products star rating which could sway how consumers shop online, as it determines product prominence on a website.

The investigation has raised “specific concerns” on whether the two brands have done enough to detect fake or misleading reviews, investigate and remove fake reviews, and impose sanctions on reviewers or businesses to deter the types of reviews.

The body highlights Amazon for “failing adequately” to prevent and deter some sellers from manipulating product listings, for example, by co-opting positive reviews from other products.

CMA chief executive Andrea Coscelli says: “Our worry is that millions of online shoppers could be misled by reading fake reviews and then spending their money based on those recommendations. Equally, it’s simply not fair if some businesses can fake 5-star reviews to give their products or services the most prominence, while law-abiding businesses lose out.

“We are investigating concerns that Amazon and Google have not been doing enough to prevent or remove fake reviews to protect customers and honest businesses. It’s important that these tech platforms take responsibility and we stand ready to take action if we find that they are not doing enough.”

Canada Goose to stop using fur in coats

Luxury outerwear brand Canada Goose will stop buying fur by the end of this year with the aim to stop using it in products by 2022.

The move follows the brand’s shift to its more “purpose-based platform”, ‘Humanture’, to become more environmentally friendly and increase relevance with consumers.

The brand uses coyote fur for its trademark coats and jackets.

Earlier this year the brand made its most sustainable parka yet. The Standard Parka generates 30% less carbon and requires 65% less water during production compared to the in-line Expedition Parka.

This is part of its 2019 pledge to achieve net-zero carbon emissions and reduce emissions by more than 80% from current levels by 2025.

Canada Goose president and CEO Dani Reiss says: “Our focus has always been on making products that deliver exceptional quality, protection from the elements, and perform the way consumers need them to; this decision transforms how we will continue to do just that.

“We continue to expand – across geographies and climates – launching new categories and products designed with intention, purpose and functionality. At the same time, we are accelerating the sustainable evolution of our designs.”

LADBible explores stock market entry

LadBible is reportedly exploring options to float its shares on the stock market which could see the publisher valued up to £400m.

The youth targeting publisher is working with investment firm Zeus Capital on a range of options.

But a decision on a London float has not been decided and is unlikely to occur for several months, according to Sky News, quoting sources close to the matter.

LadBible is estimated to seek a valuation of £350m to £400m, with founder Solly Solomou understood to have a controlling stake which is worth around £200m.

The publisher has several publications under its umbrella including LadBible, GamingBible, SportBible, Unilad and Tyla. They generate around 28 billion content views globally per year.

Around 40% of its audience is female and has doubled its readership during the last five years. It competes with US-based publisher Vice Media, which itself is exploring IPO options and has drawn backing from the likes of Walt Disney and WPP Group.

READ MORE: Youth publisher LadBible explores £400m float as audiences boom

TikTok teams up with Football Manager and War Child

TikTok and children’s charity War Child will sponsor an away kit in the video game Football Manager as part of a series of activation to raise funds for young people affected by war across the world.

There will be 500 physical versions of the kit which will see War Child take the main sponsorship spot on the front, with the social media platform printed on the sleeve.

It will be available on 29 June through TikTok before general release in July with all proceeds going to War Child.

TikTok will roll out the hashtag #WearItForWarChild calling on the Football Manager community to share content of them wearing their favourite football kits, to raise the charity’s awareness and the important role playing has in childhood.

The hashtag will be accompanied by a donation sticker available in the TikTok app, and the social media platform is also recreating real-world stadium banners to feature in-game.

Football Manager is a long-standing partner of War Child having raised over £1.5m to date.

TikTok EMEA sports marketing lead Harley Johnson says: “We are delighted to be working with Football Manager and War Child to help raise vital funds for young people impacted by conflict and war across the globe.”

Kind Snacks launches sampling campaign

Mars-owned Kind Snacks has begun a nationwide sampling campaign as office workers begin to return to the office.

Kind Snacks, working with Gemsatwork, is distributing 300,000 single breakfast bars across the country to employees who have returned to the workplace after the pandemic.

A survey ran by Gemsatwork on 411,013 employees between 11 to 15 June, found 85% of employees in its network will be in the workplace at least once a week after all restrictions are removed.

The survey shows 77% of workplaces that fully closed during the recent UK lockdown have already reopened and seen almost half (47%) of staff back to the office on a day-to-day basis.

Two-thirds (66%) of offices are looking to return to their pre-Covid staff levels after all restrictions are ended with the final step of the government’s roadmap out of lockdown set for 19 July.



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