Facebook, Café Rouge, Twitter: 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.

Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg claims ‘advertisers will be back’ despite boycott

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg reportedly told employees that advertisers will return to the social network despite the continuing ad boycott.

Speaking during a private meeting last Friday (26 June), Zuckerberg is reported to have said: “My guess is that all these advertisers will be back on the platform soon enough.”

He allegedly then added: “We’re not going to change our policies or approach on anything because of a threat to a small percent of our revenue.”

More than 600 brands including Unilever, Vans and The North Face have joined the Stop Hate for Profit boycott, which is calling on companies to pull their advertising off Facebook for the month of July.

Yesterday Facebook’s head of global affairs and communications, the former Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg, issued an open letter in which he claimed the social media giant “does not profit from hate”.

“We may never be able to prevent hate from appearing on Facebook entirely, but we are getting better at stopping it all the time,” said Clegg.

READ MORE: Zuckerberg: Advertisers will be back to Facebook ‘soon enough’

Café Rouge owner falls into administration risking 1,900 jobs

Cafe RougeThe owner of the Café Rouge and Bella Italia restaurant chains has fallen into administration, risking 1,900 jobs.

The Casual Dining Group, which also owns the Las Iguanas chain, confirmed 91 of its restaurants will close immediately, while administrators seek a buyer for the remaining parts of the business.

Chief executive James Spragg says he is “acutely aware” of the firm’s duty to all employees, adding: “Working alongside the administrators we will do everything we can to support them through this process with a view to preserving as much employment as we are able to.”

This week alone in the UK 12,000 jobs were lost in the space of two days. Harrods announced the fall in tourist spend had hit the business hard, forcing it to cut 700 jobs. Elsewhere, sandwich chain Upper Crust is planning 5,000 redundancies, consultancy firm Accenture will shed 900 roles and the BBC is cutting 450 staff working on its regional programmes it a bid to save money.

READ MORE: Café Rouge and Bella Italia owner falls into administration

British American Tobacco accused of funding ‘covert ad’

British American Tobacco (BAT) has been accused of funding a “covert ad” designed to highlight the cost of council stop-smoking services, according to The Guardian.

Last week, PR agency Pagefield sent out press releases to news outlets documenting the cost per taxpayer for smoking cessation schemes in their local areas. The Guardian reports that it was not initially clear Pagefield was working for BAT, the owner of e-cigarette brand Vype.

In response, Pagefield said it was working to raise public awareness about alternatives to smoking, while a BAT UK spokesperson said the company wanted to “raise the debate” about publicly available data showing the cost to the taxpayer of traditional stop-smoking tools.

BAT added: “We understand that when this data was originally shared with journalists it may not have been clear it was on behalf of BAT and as soon as we became aware, we instructed our PR agency to recontact all the journalists the next day to clarify this point.”

Chief executive of health charity Ash, Deborah Arnott, described the press release as a “covert ad for e-cigs” purporting to be public information. She said it was the “first time” a tobacco company in the UK had employed a PR agency that had issued a press release which failed to disclose its client.

Speaking to The Guardian, Arnott said BAT had an “appalling and shameful track record”, referring specifically to the company’s ban for promoting Vype e-cigs to young people on social media handed out by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) in December.

READ MORE: Tobacco firm funded attack on council quit-smoking services

Twitter drops coding terminology in favour of inclusive language

TwitterTwitter is dropping the terms ‘master’, ‘slave’ and ‘blacklist’ from its programming codes in favour of more inclusive language.

In a tweet, the social media platform said the language it had been using in its code “does not reflect” its values as a company.

Going forward Twitter will stop using ‘blacklist’, the term used to describe items automatically denied from forbidden websites, and will replace ‘whitelist’ with ‘allowlist’. While master currently refers to the main version of code that controls the slaves or replicas, this will now be referred to as ‘leader’ and ‘follower’.

US investment bank JP Morgan has already begun switching similar coding terminology that appeared in some of its tech policies, while Microsoft-owned GitHub, the world’s largest site for software developers, is looking to remove the word master from its coding language.

READ MORE: George Floyd: Twitter drops ‘master’, ‘slave’ and ‘blacklist’

Facebook cans TikTok rival Lasso

Facebook is shutting down its short-form video app Lasso after less than two years in a bid to focus on bringing similar tech to Instagram.

Released in late 2018 as a separate app, Lasso allowed users to record 15-second videos that could be overlaid with music. Open to users in the US and central America, the app was seen as Facebook’s attempt to attract a younger demographic.

Describing Lasso as a “test”, the social media giant confirmed the app will be removed from all app stores on 10 July, adding: “We thank everyone who shared their creativity and feedback with us, which we’ll look to incorporate in our other video experiences.”

It is thought Facebook is hoping to roll-out Reels, a video-music feature for Instagram, into new markets after the tech was released to users in France and Germany in June. Using Reels, Instagram users can record 15-second clips and add music. The clips can then gain traction by being featured in the ‘Top Reels’ section on Instagram.

READ MORE: Facebook shuts down TikTok rival Lasso

Thursday, 2 July 

FacebookCMA calls on government to regulate digital advertising

The UK’s competition watchdog is calling on the government to create new powers to regulate the digital advertising market.

The Competition and Markets Authority says the market positions of Google and Facebook are having a “profound impact” on publishers, with newspaper websites receiving almost 40% of all visits to their sites through the two platforms.

The CMA believes it should have a code of conduct that ensures Facebook and Google don’t veer into “exploitative or exclusionary practices,” or do anything that is likely to reduce public trust and transparency. If they break the code, the theoretical group should also be able to impose fines.

The unit would have the power to separate platforms — Facebook and Instagram, for instance, or Google and YouTube — if it was needed to “ensure healthy competition.”

Director general of ISBA, Phil Smith, echoed these sentiments. He says; “ISBA welcomes the CMA’s comprehensive and detailed report – and supports its call for a new regulatory system, to be legislated for by government. The CMA report underlines just how important these are, as well as how it is essential that people have more control over their data.

“We will work with our members as we discuss the recommendations of this report, and we look forward to engaging fully with the new Digital Markets Taskforce.”

READ MORE: UK competition watchdog seeks to curb Google and Facebook’s dominance of online advertising

UK Dairy industry returns to TV after 20 years

The UK dairy industry is returning to TV after 20 years.

Milk your moments, created by PR agency Weber Shandwick, is the industry’s first TV spot for two decades, and shows people as they interact with each other during Covid-19. It depicts family members bonding over a cup of tea via Zoom, while others use milk to bake together at home.

The campaign is supported by digital and social media with consumers encouraged to share their own moments of connection across social platforms using the hashtag #milkyourmoments. Plus for every visit to the campaign website, the dairy industry will donate £1 to mental-health charity Mind, up to a maximum of £100,000.

Former Easyjet CMO joins Bulb

Former Easyjet CMO Lis Blair is joining energy startup Bulb as chief growth and marketing officer.

Blair joins in October and will oversee Bulb’s marketing and growth functions. Blair was most recently the CMO of EasyJet in charge of the budget airline’s brand, customer, digital and marketing strategies.

Blair joins at a time of rapid growth for the energy provider which has been  fastest growing private company in the UK for two years running. She is part of a set of five new hires designed to bolster Bulb’s senior team including the appointment of a chief product officer, Lionel Guicherd-Callin, who will oversee Bulb’s technology offering, and developing and launching new products.

Evian offers key workers Wimbledon tickets

Evian is launching a competition to give key workers a chance to attend Wimbledon in 2021.

This week would have been the beginning of the iconic tennis event, which was cancelled due to coronavirus.

The water brand is asking people to nominate key workers via its Instagram page. Winners will be chosen at random when the competition closes in a week’s time on Monday, 6 July.

Recipients will get two tickets and Evian VIP hospitality suite access – an invitation which is usually reserved for celebrities.

Evian’s brand marketing manager Gemma Morgan says: “This week would have marked the start of Wimbledon 2020, and we are thrilled to take this moment to recognise and thank those who have worked tirelessly during the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are delighted to open up the doors of our VIP suite next year to key workers to enjoy this prestigious event as a small token of thanks for the amazing work they do each and every day.”

Vans boycotts Facebook

Vans is the latest in a growing list of fashion brands to boycott Facebook over concerns it is not doing enough to censor hate speech across its platforms.

The shoe brand says it has pulled its ad investment from Facebook and Instagram (which is also owned by Facebook) for the month of July as part of a #StopHateForProfit Campaign.

The footwear and apparel brand said it will divert its advertising investment to support  black communities through empowerment and education programmes, and will “expand its support of racial equality and access initiatives”.

Vans vice-president of global integrated marketing, Nick Street, says: “Our decision to join the #StopHateForProfit campaign demonstrates just one of the ways we are working diligently, thoughtfully and continuously to becoming anti-racist in everything we do.”

The brand joins a growing list of fashion brands to pull advertisements from Facebook, including Patagonia, Levi’s and REI.

Wednesday, 1 July 

netflix

Bozoma Saint John joins Netflix as CMO

Netflix has hired Bozoma Saint John as CMO. The former Apple executive will start her role in August and replaces Jackie Lee-Joe to become the streaming giant’s third CMO in less than a year.

Saint John spent two years as CMO at Endeavor and before that was chief brand officer at Uber. At Apple she was head of consumer marketing for Apple Music and iTunes.

“I’m thrilled to join Netflix, especially at a time when storytelling is critical to our global, societal well-being,” says Saint John.

“I feel honoured to contribute my experience to an already dynamic legacy, and to continue driving engagement in the future.”

“Bozoma Saint John is an exceptional marketer who understands how to drive conversations around popular culture better than almost anyone,” Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos adds.

“As we bring more great stories to our members around the world, she’ll define and lead our next exciting phase of creativity and connection with consumers.”

READ MORE: Netflix Hires Bozoma Saint John as Chief Marketing Officer

Advertising research shows drop in LGBTQ+ representation

There has been a drop in representation of the LGBTQ+ community in advertising, according to new research.

The figures, collated as part of a report commissioned by Karmarama, part of Accenture Interactive, in partnership with Gay Times, reveal that only two-thirds (65%) of LGBTQ+ people in Britain believe that representation of the community is positive. That’s a nine percentage point decrease on last year.

The research also reveals that just over a third of LGBTQ+ respondents (36%) feel adverts are truly reflective of LGBTQ+ people, down from 48% last year, and that brands are failing to engage outside of Pride Month.

It also concludes that marketers remain unaware of the situation, with just 25% disagreeing with the statement that their business successfully represents and engages with the LGBTQ+ community.

Ben Bilboul, CEO of Karmarama, part of Accenture Interactive, says: “This research shows that we as an industry are failing to make proper progress on representation.

“Too often, our industry’s commitment to LGBTQ+ inclusion does not translate into meaningful, long-term change.

“Consumers are smart, and they can see when brand purpose is and is not authentic.”

New Balance celebrates ‘Football’s Next Wave’

New Balance

New Balance has launched a global marketing campaign celebrating football.

Produced in partnership with creative agency Zak, New Balance Football’s three-part YouTube series centres around the subcultures and communities connected to the game around the world.

The UK reveals the disruptive influences of grassroots football, fan community and explores a unique, independent pathway to English football.

The US uncovers the soccer scene in Atlanta, while Japan explores the creative revolution happening in Tokyo as Western and Eastern cultures collide.

New Balance Football global senior marketing manager Nicola Jones explains: “Football’s Next Wave is influential in the global football game, now more than ever.

“We’ve worked across the New Balance global brand and with ZAK to identify powerful, influential and emotive stories of how individuals and communities around the world are leaving their own mark on the game we all love.”

Adidas HR chief resigns following race row

Adidas’s global head of human resources, Karen Parkin, is stepping down after 23 years after complaints about a lack of diversity among staff.

Employees had called for an investigation after she reportedly dismissed ongoing debates about the racial imbalance within the company, particularly within the American Adidas offices, as simply “noise”.

Adidas CEO Kasper Rorsted will take over the role on an interim basis.

“I have decided to retire and pave the way for change,” Parkin wrote in a memo to staff.

“I recognise that the focus on me has become a hindrance inhibiting the company from moving forward.”

READ MORE: Adidas HR head steps down after race row

Peperami launches spray to lure lost dogs

PeperamiPeperami is hoping to gain headlines with the launch of body spray it claims can lure lost dogs.

The pork-scented Puperami: Eau De Lurette was inspired by a recent news story featuring a dog-owning couple in Edinburgh who used a salami stick to tempt their beloved pooch Coco back home.

Currently at the prototype stage, the meaty mist with spray top will contain a water-based solution spiked with the distinctive scent of Peperami.

“We’re thrilled to hear that Coco has been found safe and sound, thanks to the help of Peperami,” a company spokesperson said.

“Although our pork snacks aren’t suitable to be digested by dogs, we’ve been inspired by the story and looking into how we can replicate the same smell of our original salami stick in spray form.

“The Puperami: Eau de Lurette prototype will aim to help future dog-owners find their furry friends.”

Tuesday, 30 June

Facebook

Ford, Adidas and HP join list of brands boycotting Facebook

Major brands including Ford, Adidas and HP have joined the still growing list of brands taking part in the ‘Stop Hate for Profit’ campaign.

The campaign, which sees brands promise to stop spending money on Facebook ads in July, aims to pressure the company to do more to stop the spread of hate speech and misinformation.

Adidas says it will suspend advertising on Facebook and Instagram globally through the end of July. It adds that it will “develop criteria to hold ourselves and every one of our partners accountable for creating and maintaining safe environments”.

Ford, meanwhile, is pausing all social media advertising in the US to “evaluate” its presence on the platforms. And HP will stop advertising until there are “more robust” safeguards in place.

More than 150 brands have now joined the boycott, which began in the US but is expanding globally.

READ MORE: Ford, Adidas and Denny’s join the growing list of companies pausing Facebook ad spending

UK GDP shows bigger loss than expected in first quarter

Britain’s economy shrank by the most in 40 years at the start of 2020 as the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown began to be felt.

GDP dropped by 2.2% year on year in the first three months of 2020, according to data from the Office for National Statistics. Economists were expecting a fall of around 2%.

ONS deputy national statistician Jonathan Athow says: “Our more detailed picture of the economy in the first quarter showed GDP shrank a little more than first estimated. Information from government showed health activities declined more than we previously showed.

“All main sectors of the economy shrank significantly in March as the effects of the pandemic hit.”

The first quarter contraction is the biggest fall in economic output since 1979. The prime minister Boris Johnson is set to make a speech later today laying out the government will help rebuild the economy.

Reopening is ‘no magic bullet’ for retail as footfall struggles

The reopening of non-essential retail has helped increase footfall to shops but levels are nowhere near where they were pre-pandemic.

Overall, UK footfall decreased 53.4% year on year in the second week of reopening in England and Northern Ireland. This compares to a decrease of 81.6% in May.

Footfall on high streets was still down 58.1% and in shopping centres by 60.7%. Retail parks fared better, with footfall down just 28.4% year on year.

BRC CEO Helen Dickinson says: “Retailers will welcome the rise in footfall during the second week since lockdown was lifted in England. Nonetheless, reopening is no magic bullet. Low consumer confidence and social distancing mean footfall is unlikely to return to pre-crisis levels any time soon.”

Almost half of UK businesses expect to cut staff levels due to coronavirus

Almost half of UK businesses expect the coronavirus crisis to lead to a reduction in staff levels, according to a survey by YouGov.

It found that 42% of companies expect to have fewer employees in a year’s time compared to before the pandemic. Just 16% of firms expect to have more staff. The sectors most likely to say they will employ less staff are manufacturing (50%), media, advertising and marketing (48%), and financial services (46%).

The survey also found that 47% of businesses have lower growth expectations, compared to the 15% where growth expectations are higher. Almost two-thirds (60%) expect to see an increase in working from home, compared to the 7% which think there will be less. And 41% expect to have less need for physical space, which rises to 64% among companies in media, marketing, advertising and sales.

YouGov’s director of reputation and business research, Oliver Rowe, says: “But while these are clearly difficult times for business, some will undoubtedly use this opportunity to reassess their current model and adapt to the new environment.

“Lots of businesses already say they will have less need for physical space, as staff working from home becomes more accepted, and almost half expect to make more use of online systems and software than they did prior to lockdown.”

Calls for tighter regulation of digital and social media

The government is being urged to tighten regulation of digital and social media because it is causing a “pandemic of misinformation and disinformation” and eroding trust in the politics and public institutions.

A committee on democracy and digital technologies in the House of Lords has called on ministers to push ahead with its online harms bill and to overhaul the rules for online political advertising. Among the recommendations is that media regulator Ofcom be given new powers to sanction tech firms that fail in their duty of care, including fines of up to 4% of global turnover or a block on serial non-compliance.

The report also recommends the creation of a regulatory committee on political advertising that should experts from the Advertising Standards Authority, Electoral Commission, Ofcom and UK Statistics Authority. This would then develop a code of practice and systems of sanctions for political advertising to stop “fundamentally inaccurate advertising” during elections.

“This is a virus that affects all of us in the UK – a pandemic of misinformation and disinformation,” says committee chair Lord Puttnam in the report. “If allowed to flourish, these counterfeit truths will result in the collapse of public trust, and without trust, democracy as we know it will simply decline into irrelevance. The situation is that serious.”

Facebook is looking to show it is doing something about the spread of misinformation, today launching a campaign developed in consultation with fact checker Full Fact to help people spot false news online.

Facebook is today launching a campaign developed in consultation with fact checking partner Full Fact, to help people spot false news online.

The ads, which will run across Facebook in July, will prompt people to ask three questions about what they see online: Where’s it from? What’s missing? How did you feel?

The campaign will run across the UK, as well as Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Turkey. It will offer tips and advice for spotting false news and enable people to report false news.

Facebook’s vice-president for Northern Europe, Steve Hatch, says: “With so many ways to consume the news, it can be difficult to make informed choices about what to read, trust and share. This campaign is about asking people three simple questions to help them challenge the information they are reading so they can be more informed.”

READ MORE: Peers call for tougher regulation of digital and social media in UK

Mercedes pulls plug on subscription service

Mercedes-Benz has ended its subscription service after two years due to lacklustre demand from consumers.

The programme was rolled out in the US in 2018 with the aim of appealing to customers who wanted access to a car without owning one. It offered access to 30 models for a monthly fee that included insurance, roadside assistance and vehicle maintenance.

However, the service was never expanded beyond three pilot cities in the US and drew just a few hundred customers, according to a report in Automotive News. The programme will close form the end of July.

“From the beginning, Mercedes-Benz Collection was designed to be a pilot programme; an experiment for us to learn about the luxury automotive subscription marketplace and its customers,” Mercedes says in a statement. “After two years in operation, the pilot programme has run its course and it is now time to sunset the MB Collection.

“The information and experience we’ve gained through the pilot about our customers and the subscription business model have been invaluable and may be applied for future initiatives.”

READ MORE: Mercedes-Benz conclusion about subscription trial? Meh (£)

Monday, 29 June

Virgin Atlantic seeks urgent rescue deal

Virgin Atlantic is hoping to secure an urgent rescue deal of up to £900m as a result of the slump in international travel amid Covid-19.

The Richard Branson-owned airline, which has already announced more than 3,000 job cuts, believes it could take three years for flight numbers to return to normal levels.

“We continue to explore all available options to secure additional external funding as part of a comprehensive, solvent recapitalisation of the airline,” the company says.

“We have already made difficult decisions and taken decisive action to reduce our costs, preserve cash and protect as many jobs as possible. In parallel, constructive negotiations with our shareholders, creditors and partners as well as private investors and the government are progressing at pace, so that Virgin Atlantic can emerge from the crisis sustainably profitable and with a healthy balance sheet.”

The airline is hoping to finalise a deal by the start of July.

READ MORE: Virgin Atlantic seeks urgent rescue package worth up to £900m

Barclaycard to host virtual festival

Barclaycard is launching a four-part virtual festival that will broadcast a series of music shows from Abbey Road Studios.

Hosted by Fearne Cotton, ‘Share The Stage’ will feature performances from Lewis Capaldi, Mabel, Bastille and Kaiser Chiefs, as well as up-and-coming acts.

Barclaycard customers will have further access to content including behind the scenes footage and unseen interviews, as well as the chance to win prizes from artists.

Barclaycard has also curated a selection of downloadable food and drink tutorials and interactive content.

“Festivals and live entertainment events are not only a chance for music fans to enjoy their favourite artists, but they give up-and-coming acts a platform to perform that is integral to success in the early stages of their careers,” says Barclaycard’s head of sponsorship Dan Mathieson.

“‘Share the Stage’ hopes to make up for some of the disappointment of not being able to perform this year, whilst continuing to bring the best in entertainment to customers who have lost their summer of live this year.”

Industry launches Creative Apprenticeship programme

A group of agencies, coordinated by the IPA, have developed the first apprenticeship scheme for young creatives in an effort to help diversify the traditional white, male, middle-class make-up of the creative department.

The Level 3 Junior Creative Apprenticeship Standard has been officially approved by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education and the training will be provided by Ravensbourne University which will give training via tutors who have industry backgrounds and links to creative and tech businesses.

Fourteen modules, taught over 18 months, will cover topics ranging from taking the creative brief from the account planner, to understanding the client’s requirements; to amending and redeveloping ideas; to working with specialist producers; and managing the pressure of tight deadlines and busy schedules, working on multiple projects simultaneously as required. The majority of training will be carried out remotely.

Participating agencies, both creative agencies and media agencies with creatives, will be able to use their Apprenticeship Levy to fund either a new starter through the Standard or to upskill a current employee into a creative role. For agencies that do not pay the levy, the Government will pay 95% of the training cost.

Currys signs up Chris Moyles for live video shopping service

Currys PC World has signed up radio host Chris Moyles for its new live video personal shopping service.

ShopLive connects customers with in-store colleagues via a live video link, offering advice on audio, laptops, TVs, washing machines and refrigeration products. Moyles will feature alongside store colleagues as a ShopLive ‘expert’ between 12pm and 2pm on Tuesday (30 June).

“With ShopLive, the personal experience that our customers receive when they visit our stores, is brought to life and happening every single day online too,” says Currys PC World’s chief operating officer Mark Allsop.

“This means our customers can chat through their tough techy questions face-to-face and get a personalised consultation via a video call with one of our brilliant colleagues, all whilst still in the comfort of their homes. We’re excited for Chris Moyles to be on board for the day to add his own take to the ShopLive service and share his knowledge of home entertainment and audio.”

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