Uber, Ben & Jerry’s, Deliveroo: 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.


Uber losses reach $1bn

Uber has posted a $1bn (£790m) loss in its first quarterly results since its IPO earlier this month.

This is in spite of a 20% increase in revenue to $3.1bn (£2.5bn) and 33% increase in active users to 93m. Uber also says engagement across the platform in Q1 was “higher than ever”, with an average of 17m trips per day and an annualised gross bookings run-rate of $59bn (46.8bn).

Uber has partly blamed some aggressive pricing from competitors such as rival Lyft, which also floated on the stock market this year.

“We will not hesitate to invest to defend our market position globally,” Uber’s finance chief Nelson Chai said.

Meanwhile, during a conference call following the results, the company’s chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi said Uber’s disappointing start as a public business was just a step on “the long journey of making Uber a platform for the movement of people and transport of commerce around the world at a massive scale.”

READ MORE: Uber posts $1bn loss weeks after stock market listing

Ben & Jerry’s plots CBD-infused ice cream

Ben & Jerry’s has its eyes on the growing CBD trend and is planning to produce a cannabidiol-infused ice cream as soon as the plant extract is made legal in the US.

On its website, the Unilever-owned ice cream maker says it is looking into sustainably sourced CBD from Vermont, which is where the business is based.

It is also asking fans of its products to contact the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which is currently consulting on whether to lawfully allow CBD to be used in food.

“We’re doing this for our fans,” says Ben & Jerry’s CEO, Matthew McCarthy. “We’ve listened and brought them everything from non-dairy indulgences to on-the-go portions with our Pint Slices. We aspire to love our fans more than they love us and we want to give them what they’re looking for in a fun, Ben & Jerry’s way.”

READ MORE: Ben & Jerry’s announces plans to make CBD-infused ice-cream

VO5 to sponsor Love Island

VO5 will be the official hair partner for the 2019 series of ITV’s Love Island when it begins next week.

The partnership will promote VO5’s complete core styling range across both male and female hair care, as well as the launch of its brand-new hair fragrance range, which is available exclusively in Superdrug.

Launching on 3 June with a £2.6m marketing investment over the summer months, the campaign will include digital media, PR and instore support as well as VO5 providing products for islanders to use whilst staying in the villa.

“Love Island has stolen our hearts and rapidly become one of the most talked about cultural moments of the year with a highly engaged audience,” says Blandine Langloy, hair director at parent company Unilever UK & Ireland.

“With V05’s emphasis on easy hair styling, we’re delighted to be joining the conversation and spreading the word about the brand’s latest launch amongst consumers.”

EE unveils new brand campaign starring Kevin Bacon

Kevin Bacon has landed himself a starring role in EE’s latest brand campaign, which marks the launch of 5G in the UK.

The campaign, created using 5G-enabled AR and VR technology, also features genuine customers for the first time in EE’s six-year history.

It was shot on the day of the FA Cup Final, capturing the action from Wembley Stadium connected by EE, using 5G to bring it into the homes of football fans across the UK.

The advert sees lifelong fans of Manchester City and Watford, who weren’t at the game, able to enjoy the game delivered on 5G enabled smartphones via live 5G experiences including an augmented reality tunnel into Wembley Way.

“We wanted to support the launch of 5G in the UK with an equally ambitious campaign,” says Pete Jeavons, marketing communications director at BT and EE.

“To be the first network to launch 5G in the UK is a huge moment for the brand and we wanted to demonstrate all the possibilities that 5G can unlock for our customers – from augmented reality to virtual reality. In this latest campaign, we’ve worked with real people in real time to showcase what’s possible on real 5G networks. Rather than tell them a 5G story, we let them become the story.”

The campaign was created by ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi London and will run across TV, out of home, cinema and video on demand.

Deliveroo launches project to help independent businesses

Deliveroo has launched its first restaurant makeover project, which aims to support independent restaurants and the British high street.

The UK food delivery business is inviting its independent restaurant partners around the UK to enter for the chance to win one of three renovations, worth £25,000 each.

After the shortlist of finalists is selected, UK consumers will be able to vote for their favourite on Deliveroo’s social media.

In addition to the makeover, winners will be supported by Deliveroo’s Restaurant Partnerships team to help with marketing, in-house and delivery operations.

“We work very closely with our restaurant partners and we understand it can be costly trying to remain as profitable as possible,” explains Susana Voces, Deliveroo’s VP of restaurants.

“This Restaurant Makeovers competition is the latest move from our Restaurant Partnerships team who are focussed on helping Deliveroo’s 80,000 global restaurant partners improve margins through reduced in house operating costs, as well as optimising operations and customer experience.”

Thursday, 30 May


Netflix and Amazon’s UK revenue double Britain’s biggest broadcasters

Netflix and Amazon’s revenues from UK customers last year was £1.1bn – twice the amount that Britain’s biggest broadcasters made from their own streaming platforms.

Netflix is estimated to have made £693m in revenue from its 10 million UK subscribers last year, while Amazon generated £400m from its 7.7 million Prime Video subscribers, according to research by regulator Ofcom.

In comparison the streaming services of the UK’s main commercial broadcasters – ITV Hub, Channel 4’s All 4, Channel 5’s My5 and Sky’s Now TV – made an estimated £530m last year.

There is hope that this can be reversed as ITV launches BritBox, a joint venture with the BBC that will stream both classic and original British content. The streaming service has already attracted over 500,000 paying subscribers in the US.

Broadcasters currently make money from a combination of advertising revenues and subscription income –  such as a monthly £3.99 subscription to get ITV Hub ad-free. However, BBC iPlayer does not take advertising or subscription revenue.

In the last four years, Netflix has more than doubled its global content budget to more than £10bn with the number of British TV series and films jumping from 595 to 747 in the last two years.

READ MORE: Netflix and Amazon score billion pound revenue in battle with UK broadcasters

N Brown hires first chief brand officer

N Brown Group has appointed former Missguided chief customer officer Kenyatte Nelson as its first chief brand officer.

Nelson will be in charge of strengthening all of N Brown’s brands, which include Simply Be and JD Williams, and will report directly to CEO Steve Johnson.

Nelson left his post as Missguided’s chief customer officer in November after only eight months and is due to start at N Brown on 3 June.

Prior to Missguided, Nelson was group marketing director at Shop Direct for three years and before that spent 13 years at FMCG giant Procter & Gamble.

Commenting on the appointment, Johnson says: “I am delighted to be welcoming Kenyatte to N Brown and I look forward to working with him as we deliver our digital, retail-led, customer-centric strategy.”

EE launches UK’s first 5G service

EE has launched the UK’s first 5G consumer mobile network across six cities.

The mobile network has made the new technology available in London, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Belfast, Birmingham and Manchester with plans for more cities to be added later in the year.

5G is expected to offer increased speeds, reliability and connectivity but coverage is restricted to key locations for now. The next-generation technology also requires new handsets and plans which start at £54 per month for 10 gigabytes of data.

10 other UK cities will get 5G access this year, including Glasgow, Newcastle, Liverpool, Sheffield, Coventry and Bristol, with more cities planned to join in 2020.

EE marked the launch with a performance from rapper Stormzy. Rival mobile operator Vodafone will begin its own rollout of a 5G network in July.

READ MORE: UK’s first 5G service launches in six cities

Unilever launches first campaign with transgender models

Unilever is launching its first campaign featuring transgender models on its YouTube channel All Things Hair.

Transgender couple Jake and Hannah Graf share the importance hair played while transitioning, as part of All Things Hair UK’s latest content campaign ‘Real Hair Stories’.

The FMCG giant brought all its hair care brands together in 2013 to create the All Things Hair YouTube channel, which is now in nine markets working with hair stylists and influencers to create content

In the video interview, Hannah recalls shopping for beauty products as being “intimidating” and explains how she missed out on learning how to do her hair as a woman when growing up, while Jake talks about his early fascination with shaving.

The couple also showcase hairstyles for Pride, although the campaign will run throughout the year in the hope that it will increase the general public’s awareness of the LGBTQ+ community.

“We’re really excited about the launch of our Real Hair Stories series,” says Jeanette Nkwate, chief content officer at All Things Hair UK. “We think it’s a great opportunity to give people that aren’t normally heard in the media a voice and a space to speak about their truth and journeys.”

GVC boss offers to cut pay for fear of revolt

The boss of GVC Holdings has volunteered to cut his annual salary from £950,000 to £800,000, in a move he hopes will prevent a shareholder revolt at the company’s annual meeting next moth.

Kenny Alexander, chief executive of the Ladbrokes and Sportingbet owner, recently received a rise in his basic pay from £750,000 to £950,000, but has offered to give up the majority of the increase.

After speaking with other board members, Alexander’s base pay will instead be set at £800,000 from the beginning of next month.

GVC, which bought Ladbrokes in a £3.2bn deal last year, says: “After consulting with GVC’s chairman and remuneration committee chair, GVC’s chief executive officer has volunteered to reduce his annual salary from £950,000 to £800,000″.

Shareholders are predicted to repeat last year’s annual general meeting, when shareholders that accounted for almost 44% of the votes cast opposed GVC’s remuneration report.

READ MORE: Ladbrokes boss agrees pay cut in gamble to head off revolt

Wednesday 29 May

WH Smith

WHSmith named UK’s worst high street retailer for second year in a row

Criticisms of untidy stores and poor value for money have seen WHSmith rated the UK’s worst high street retailer for the second year in a row, according to a survey of Which? subscribers.

The book and stationery chain, which came in behind Homebase and Sports Direct, has finished last in the poll for six of the past nine years and came second from bottom for the other three years.

Customers claimed the stores were “crowded”, “dirty” and “too small for comfort”, while staff were deemed “unhelpful”.

In contrast, electrical goods retailer Richer Sounds topped the list, followed by outdoor clothing company Rohan and John Lewis.

WHSmith has, however, hit out at the sample size of 586 Which? subscribers, which is smaller compared to previous years when the general public were surveyed. Last year, for example, 7,700 shoppers rated their experience of buying non-grocery items at 100 major retailers.

The company stated: “This survey accounts for the views of only 586 Which? subscribers and is neither statistically relevant nor meaningful relative to our loyal customer base.

“Every week, we serve three million customers in our 600 UK high street stores and have maintained our presence on the high street where many other retailers are closing stores. We work hard to improve customer experiences and continue to invest in new and existing stores.”

READ MORE: WH Smith rated UK’s worst high street retailer in Which? poll

Boots plots potential closure of 200 stores


Boots could close more than 200 stores across the UK as part of an ongoing cost saving programme.

Over the next 12-18 months the health and beauty chain, owned by the Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA), will review shops in areas where it has more than one store. Boots currently has 2,485 stores nationwide, employing around 56,000 people.

Some 350 jobs are also at risk at the company’s Nottingham headquarters after WBA revealed plans to cut costs at its head office by 20%.

In a statement, Boots says it does not have “a major programme envisaged” but is always reviewing “underperforming stores and opportunities for consolidation” and remains “realistic” about the future in a changing retail landscape.

When its second quarter results were released in April, Boots pointed out its continued commitment to the high street, which includes refitting 24 of its biggest beauty halls in 2019 and opening a flagship store in London’s Covent Garden.

Last year, profits at Boots fell by more than 18% and the retailer acknowledged that it would be included in a broader business push to cut costs by £1.2bn by 2022.

READ MORE: Boots review puts 200 stores at risk of closure

Real Madrid overtakes Manchester United as Europe’s most valuable club

Real Madrid has been named the most valuable football club in Europe with an “enterprise value” of €3.22bn (£2.84bn), according to KPMG’s latest analysis of the sport.

The ranking is based on a range of factors including profitability, broadcasting rights, popularity, sporting potential and stadium value across the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons.

It means Manchester United has lost its previous top position, dropping into second place with an enterprise value of €3.21bn (£2.83bn). In total six English clubs make it into the top 10, with Premier League champions Manchester City in fifth place on €2.46bn (£2.17bn).

Europa League finalists Chelsea (€2.23bn/£1.96bn) and Arsenal are in sixth and eighth (€2.01bn/£1.77bn) respectively, while Champions League finalists Liverpool (€2.09bn/£1.84bn) and Tottenham Hotspur (€1.69bn/£1.49bn) are placed seventh and ninth in the rankings.

KPMG also reported a 9% increase in the overall value of the football industry over the past year.

“At league level the English Premier league has confirmed its absolute dominance, having nine clubs in the top 32 and accounting for 43% of the total aggregate value,” says Andrea Sartori, KPMG’s global head of sports.

READ MORE: Real Madrid ‘most valuable club in Europe’, says KPMG

Cool spring sees grocery spending stall

Grocery spending fell by 1.6% in May as chilly temperatures cooled consumer demand, according to Nielsen data. This decline in spending is compared to growth of 5% during the same period in 2018, driven by an early spring heatwave and the Royal Wedding.

Promotions, which represented 27% of sales, increased over the past month as Sainsbury’s celebrated its 150th anniversary and Tesco rolled back prices to chime in with its centenary.

Supermarket advertising spend on TV and press rose by 4% year on year from January to April to £80.6m, as Sainsbury’s and Tesco put extra money behind their anniversary campaigns. Asda, however, topped the list as the largest advertising spender, according to the Nielsen AdIntel figures.

During the 12 weeks to 18 May sales rose by 15.7% at Lidl compared to the same period in 2018, followed by Aldi at 11.2% and the Co-op at 2.7%, the latter which attracted over half a million new shoppers compared to the same time last year.

Sainsbury’s was the worst performer during the period, with sales down 2%, followed by Marks & Spencer (0.6%), Asda (0.1%) and Morrisons (0.1%).

While consumer confidence remains unchanged, with 40% of households feeling insecure about their finances, Nielsen’s UK head of retailer and business insight, Mike Watkins, claims the recent advertising campaigns have been resonating well, with 12 million households looking to save money on groceries.

“We anticipate that shoppers will be responding well to the price cuts and promotions associated with the milestone anniversaries at Sainsbury’s and Tesco,” he explains.

“Yet it’s important to note that the structural shift of sales away from traditional supermarkets continues, with Aldi and Lidl still gaining combined market share.”

Lucozade backs ‘Three Lionesses’ rewrite of football anthem

Lucozade Sport has reworked the lyrics to England football anthem ‘Three Lions’ to give the song a Lionesses twist ahead of the FIFA Women’s World Cup kicking off in France on 7 June.

Special permission was granted by David Baddiel and Frank Skinner to rerecord the 1996 original, which is being used as the soundtrack to Lucozade Sport’s new advert telling the story of female footballers overcoming prejudices to make it to the international stage.

Names included in the original ‘Three Lions’ such as Gary Lineker, Nobby Stiles and Bobby Moore have been replaced by Lionesses Steph Houghton, Jordan Nobbs and Jade Moore in an effort to make the women household names like their male counterparts.

“Arguably ‘Three Lions’ is the most iconic England song so we’re proud to be able to give it a Lionesses twist in support of the team and the women’s game in general,” says Claire Keaveny, head of marketing at Lucozade Sport.

“Our aim is to stir up support for the Lionesses, but also inspire a generation to get moving and try football.”

As part of a wider push to increase grassroots participation Lucozade is also offering women the chance to try playing football by giving away 90,000 minutes of free pitch time nationwide through Powerleague and Goals football centres.

Tuesday 28 May

Gillette launches first ad to feature a transgender man being taught to shave

Gillette has been praised for a new ad that shows a transgender man being taught how to shave by his father.

The ad, called ‘First Shave’, shows Samson Bonkeabantu Brown, a Canadian transgender teenage, as he shaves for the first time with the help of his father. “I always knew I was different but I didn’t know there was a term for the type of person that I was,” Brown says in the spot.

The advert is part of Gillette’s #MyBestSelf campaign. The video has already been viewed more than half a million times and received thousands of comments on the brand’s Facebook page praising it.

Gillette has shifted its marketing strategy in recent months, starting with an ad unveiled in January that talked about the dangers of toxic masculinity and addressed issues including the impact of the #metoo movement.

Reach and brand drive effectiveness in B2B marketing

New research into the effectiveness of B2B marketing has found that the lessons of B2B are broadly similar to those in B2C, with creativity, brand and a mix of short- and long-term activity needed.

The study, conducted by Les Binet and Peter Field using the IPA’s data, found that as in consumer marketing, B2B marketers still need to spend on share of voice if they want to see growth, with share of voice having a growth rater proportional with share of market.

Binet and Field’s previous research has found that, on average, marketers should invest 60% in brand building and 40% in sales activation. In B2B, this split is more equal, with the research suggesting 54% of spend should be in activation and 46% in brand.

While this means targeting and rational advertising is more important in B2B than B2C, brand still plays a key role to drive top of mind awareness.

Fiat Chrysler proposes merger with Renault

Fiat Chrysler has proposed a merger with Renault in a deal that would create the third-largest car maker behind Toyota and Volkswagen.

The proposed merger would save €5bn by sharing research, purchasing and other activities, according to Fiat Chrysler. The company has said it would not involve plant closures but has not addressed the issue of job cuts.

If the deal went ahead, the joint company would be 50% owned by Fiat Chrysler shareholders and 50% by Renault shareholders. The proposal comes as pressure grows in the global car market amid a switch to electric vehicles.

READ MORE: Fiat Chrysler proposes merger with Renault to reshape car industry

Ikea overhauls its app to allow mobile shopping for the first time

Ikea is launching an app that will enable customers to shop for products from their mobile devices as it doubles down on its strategy shift away from large suburban stores to more convenience.

The app will launch in France and the Netherlands first, before rolling out to its top eight markets by the end of the year. It will allow customers to visualise their homes with furniture and furnishings by inputting room dimensions and choosing from different tastes and life stages. They will then be able to order through the app.

“It is a completely new experience,” Barbara Martin Coppola, chief digital officer at Ikea, tells Reuters. “The app is combined with the store experience, with the online experience.”

Currently, Ikea has an augmented reality app and a main app. Neither could be shopped from, with the main app only allowing users to add items to a shopping list.

READ MORE: IKEA to revamp app as store strategy shifts

LVMH subpoenaed in US media-buying probe

LVMH has been subpoenaed by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation as part of a probe into media-buying practices, according to AdAge.

The subpoena does not mean LVMH or its agencies have been accused of wrongdoing and they have not yet been charged with anything. LVMH currently uses Dentsu Aegis Group for its North American media account, having moved it from Havas last year.

According to reports, media companies have also been subpoenaed in the probe, including a business involved in the outdoor media space. Others across the ad industry have voluntarily spoken to the FBI from media agencies, media owners, ad tech firms and client marketers.

The probe relates to accusations that agencies made assurances to clients that they weren’t getting rebates or were passing them along when they did. It stems from a 2016 investigation by the Association of National Advertisers that found “pervasive non-transparent” practices across media buying in the US.

READ MORE: LVMH slapped with subpoena