BT, Virgin Media, Uber: 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.

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BT sets 25% target for non-white employees by 2030

BT has pledged to double the number of people it employs from non-white backgrounds to 25% by 2030. This makes it the biggest British employer to set out such targets, according to The Telegraph.

Currently just 9% of BT’s 100,000-strong workforce is from black, Asian or other ethic minority backgrounds.

BT CEO Philip Jansen said while the target is “very ambitious”, he believes it is in line with official forecasts for how the UK’s population with evolve in years to come.

He added: “All we are saying is, and it is a very simple assumption, is that BT should reflect the society in which we operate in and our customers.”

The target does also include international workers at the telecom’s operations in India and Africa, though.

Diversity targets of this kind are become more prevalent among large employers. Earlier this year BT’s rival Sky said it wants 20% of its workforce in UK and Ireland to be from ethic minority backgrounds by 2025, with at least 5% to be black.

Meanwhile, the Bank of England wants at least 18% of its senior managers and 23% of more junior staff to be from black, Asian or minority ethic backgrounds by 2028.

READ MORE: BT sets target for a quarter of staff to be non-white

Virgin Media accused of poor communication as outage wipes out TV

Virgin Media customers were left without access to its TV services for more than 10 hours yesterday, following a “major power outage”, with some frustrated by the lack of communication from the brand.

There were more than 18,000 reports of problems at one point, according to website Downdetector, which tracks outages.

Virgin Media shared a post on Twitter an hour after the problem was first reported explaining it was aware of the issue and was “working hard to resolve this as quickly as possible”.

But many users were unhappy with the way the brand dealt with the situation and lack of further communication, with one customer writing: “Can you update please? No TV. Your status page down. No info on phone lines.”

Just before 2pm, more than three hours after the issue started, Virgin Media told customers it had restored BBC One, BBC Two, ITV, ITV+1 and Channel 4, and was working to restore all other channels as quickly as possible.

Virgin Media posted several more updates throughout the afternoon and evening. It last messaged at 8.16pm telling customers it was continuing to restore TV channels and directing people to Amazon Prime to watch Premier League matches.

READ MORE: Virgin Media outage hits UK TV viewers

Government links up with Uber for ‘boost day’ vaccine campaign

The government is rolling out a major campaign today to encourage people to get their booster vaccine ahead of Christmas, one year on from the first vaccine being approved.

The campaign, which will run across TV and radio, urges people to ‘Get vaccinated. Get boosted. Get protected. And look forward to enjoying the festivities’.

As part of the activity, the government has partnered with Uber, Red Driving School and Neighbourhood Watch who will be spreading the message in a number of ways, including across their social channels. Red and Neighbourhood Watch will also be changing their logos on social media to incorporate campaign messaging.

As part of the push, Uber is encouraging its drivers and riders to get their booster, with regional general manager for Northern and Eastern Europe, saying “at this time of year we know how important vaccines are”.

To make it easier to find information about the flu and Covid vaccines the government has also created an interactive tool within Google search and across display developed by Media.Monks.

Vaccines minister Maggie Throup says: “Our Covid-19 vaccination programme has been absolutely remarkable. It is the largest in British history and the NHS has overcome every obstacle to get life-saving jabs in arms quickly.

“Booster jabs will protect the progress we have already made against the virus and help ensure we can enjoy Christmas safely with our loved ones.”

Black Friday fails to boost footfall

Total UK footfall fell by 15.7% in November compared to the same period in 2019, despite the lure of Black Friday deals. This is two percentage points lower than October and below the three-month average decline of 15.5%, according to the latest BRC-Sensormatic IQ monitor.

In the four weeks to 27 November, footfall on high streets dropped by 19.6% versus two years ago, while retail parks saw a 4.1% drop. Shopping centres were the worst affected, with footfall declining by 34.8% compared to 2019.

Looking at footfall on Black Friday alone the picture is similarly bleak, with total footfall on the day declining by 23.4% compared to 2019. However, it was 35.3% higher than the previous week this November.

While still down compared to two years ago, November’s footfall was the second highest figure for the year after October, making it “comparatively strong”, according to Helen Dickinson, CEO of the British Retail Consortium.

“Footfall figures slipped back slightly on last month, as the harsh November weather deterred some customers from shopping instore. While footfall over the Black Friday weekend failed to match its 2019 levels, this year saw deals spread over the entire month, allowing customers to bargain hunt over a prolonged period.”

Andy Sumpter, retail consultant EMEA for Sensormatic Solutions, adds: “Usually, in November we’d expect to see a boost to the high street due to Black Friday, which traditionally marks the start of Christmas spending. However, while we saw footfall rise by a third (35%) week on week, shopper numbers on Black Friday were still down on pre-pandemic levels by about a fifth, which maybe down to polarised flux in Christmas shopping behaviours we’re witnessing.

“Those who have bought early in a bid to avoid crowds and minimise risks of supply chain disruption have shopped even earlier this year, contributing to October’s boost and November’s lull; meanwhile we still expect to see those ‘last minute’ shoppers hitting the high streets in December.”

TV ad impressions to rise by 60% during traditional working hours

In line with changing working patterns, the volume of ad impressions TV and streaming channels deliver during traditional working hours is expected to grow by 60% by 2023.

Research by Gartner shows that periods that were once considered prime time by advertisers have flattened as a result of streaming, among other things.

It suggests this will open up options for brands that haven’t been able to advertise during prime time hours.

Meanwhile, Gartner predicts the opt-out rate for mobile app tracking will fall from 85% to 60% by 2023 as consumers become more accustomed to untargeted ads. But it requires marketers to demonstrate the benefits of allowing mobile app tracking to consumers, it says.

“Roughly one-quarter of consumers would allow tracking if they are familiar with the brand or publisher that’s requesting tracking, especially as part of an explicit value exchange, such as in cash rewards, coupons, discounts or loyalty points,” said Andrew Frank, vice-president and Gartner Marketing analyst.

Although Apple has added new privacy features for people to manage how they are tracked which prohibits developers from offering people incentives for granting permission to track on iOS devices, “marketers and consumers are finding workarounds”, he adds.

Thursday, 2 December

Source: TfL/Twitter

TfL pulls road safety ad as cyclists criticise it for ‘victim blaming’

A Transport for London ad campaign promoting road safety has been called to a halt following accusations the 60-second TV spot engages in “victim blaming”.

‘See Their Side’ shows a driver almost knocking a cyclist off his bike, which instigates an altercation between the two. After blaming each other, the road rage subsides and the two parties show concern for each other instead.

The film ends on the line: “If we understood how we really make each other feel, our roads would be safer. See their side, see safer roads.”

Tweeting the film, TfL added that 71% of Londoners think road users are not as considerate of others as they should be, but only 9% think they themselves could be more considerate.

The campaign launched during Road Safety Week last month as part of London mayor Sadiq Khan’s ambition to have no deaths or serious injuries on the city’s roads by 2041. The ad has already run on ITV, the Guardian reports, and was expected to run for “a number of years”.

However, cyclists and road safety groups have blasted the campaign for “victim blaming” and promoting “false equivalence”, arguing the car driver in the ad is clearly in the wrong.

The mayor’s cycling and walking commissioner Will Norman responded on Twitter, saying the campaign would be paused to “consider the feedback that has been received”.

READ MORE: TfL halts road safety ad after ‘victim blaming’ backlash from cyclists

Co-op, Tesco, and Aldi will not enforce new mask wearing rules

Co-op has confirmed that it will not enforce new mask wearing rules in its stores to avoid staff being abused by customers.

The government reinstated mask rules this week amid concerns about the new coronavirus variant Omicron. But supermarkets are choosing not to take a heavy stance, with Tesco, Aldi, Lidl and Iceland also stating they will not challenge customers to protect their staff from abuse.

Industry body The British Retail Consortium said it is up to police to enforce face mask rules, not retailers, the BBC reports.

Speaking on Radio 5 Live, Co-op policy director Paul Gerrard said the supermarket would put up signs reminding people to wear masks, but with violence towards shop workers on the rise, staff will not refuse to serve customers without one.

“We have seen throughout the pandemic that the enforcement of social distancing rules has been a flashpoint for enormous levels of violence and abuse against my colleagues, and we will not put our colleagues at risk,” he said.

“It’s not just the frequency, it’s the violence and the seriousness of it… Every day, in the 2,600 Co-op shops, 10 of my colleagues will be physically attacked.

“Five of them will be attacked with a weapon – it could be a syringe, it could be a knife, it could be a hammer – and that’s not unusual to the Co-op.”

READ MORE: Co-op latest supermarket to not enforce mask wearing

Spotify’s ‘2021 Wrapped’ campaign shines light on new normals

Source: Spotify/HK Strategies

Spotify’s annual end-of-year ad campaign is launching today, this year celebrating its users “weird and wonderful” music choices now the pandemic has changed the parameters of what it means to be “normal”.

The outdoor advertising campaign focuses on data-driven copy revealing the real behaviours of the music streaming platform’s users. For example, Olivia Rodrigo’s song ‘Déjà vu’ was streamed over 625 million times in 2021, the campaign reveals.

Artists, podcasts, and the likes of Jackie Weaver, who became a British meme this year, were also called on to create Spotify playlists that users can listen to using the service, such as Weaver’s “I have the authority” playlist.

Traditional and digital out of home (OOH) advertising will be supported by activity across connected TV, online video, social media, online and in Spotify’s own app.

“We’ve spent a lot of time dreaming about a return to ‘normalcy’ but as we sat down and began reflecting on this year we realized there is no such thing as ‘normal’ and that’s something worth celebrating,” said Alex Bodman, vice-president, global executive creative director at Spotify.

“On Spotify ‘normal’ is whatever you listen to, however you choose to listen to it. We have never been one-size-fits all and that’s what has always made Wrapped so compelling – it’s all about you.”

Zog Energy becomes latest UK energy supplier to go bust

The number of UK energy suppliers to go bust over the last three months amid surging wholesale gas prices has now reached 25, as Zog Energy ceases trade.

Zog Energy has around 11,700 domestic energy customers. UK regulator Ofgem is to appoint a new supplier for the firm’s customers, and has advised them to wait until that has happened before looking to switch elsewhere.

Ofgem has had to find new suppliers for more than 2 million households since the start of September, as small energy companies began to fold rapidly.

So far, the biggest to have gone bust has been Bulb Energy, which had 1.7 million customers. Avro Energy follows, with its 580,000 customers moved over to Octopus Energy, while Green Network Energy’s 360,000 customers have moved to EDF.

Neil Lawrence, director of Retail at Ofgem, said customers did not need to worry.

“Under our safety net we’ll make sure your energy supplies continue… You can rely on your energy supply as normal.”

It marks the latest company to go bust under higher wholesale gas prices, which have made it difficult for companies to keep price promises.

READ MORE: Zog Energy becomes 25th UK supplier to go bust in three months

Patagonia unveils trailer for latest activism documentary

‘Snow activism’ is the focus of Patagonia’s latest film, which tells the story of Europe’s last wild mountains and the threat they face from ski resort developers.

The full ‘Vanishing Lines’ film will be available to watch across Europe from 16 December, with the trailer launching on YouTube today.

The 20-minute documentary, filmed in Austria, also features Patagonia Snow ambassadors Lena Stoffel and Mitch Tölderer

The outdoor clothing company and certified B Corporation is known for its climate and social activism, which it often executes through feature-length films and documentaries exploring the issues the world faces today.

The brand’s last film was launched in early October, a 70-minute documentary following trans athlete Lor Sabourin to expand the idea of what it means to be a climber.

“At Patagonia, we look to highlight stories that show the beauty of our planet and the athletes and activists that embrace its gifts,” Patagonia’s global marketing manager of alpine and rock climbing, Justin Roth, said at the time.

Wednesday, 2 December

Inflation to increase household costs to £1,700 per year

The average UK household will see annual spending on costs go up to £1,700 in 2022 due to rising inflation and energy costs.

Analysis from the Centre for Economics and Business Research for BBC Panorama forecasts the inflation rate will rise by 4.6% by Christmas, up from 4.2% currently, pushed mainly by rising fuel and energy prices.

A typical UK family with two adults and two children is predicted to spend £33.60 more per week because of inflation, adding up to £1,700 per year.

The forecast is based on the price of commonly bought items, utility bills, transport costs and money spent on days out.

The analysts say customers have not felt the full brunt of rising costs as supermarkets are avoiding raising prices in the run-up to Christmas. Supermarkets are absorbing some costs to avoid losing customers at the busiest time of the year.

READ MORE: UK inflation: Rising costs could push family spend up £1,700 a year

TSB closes physical branches as digital banking accelerates

High street bank TSB will close 70 branches next year due to declining use of physical stores as customers switch to digital banking services instead.

The pandemic has “accelerated the shift away from branch services” as the average number of transactions per branch has been falling since January 2019, with “no prospect” of a return to pre-Covid levels.

The bank says it set out plans two years ago to reduce its branch network and invest further in digital services to meet future customer need. Over 90% of customer transactions are now carried out digitally and video banking accounts for over 90% of mortgage appointments.

Branches that carry out a third fewer transactions than the TSB national average will be first for closure, but there will not be closures in towns with a single branch.

The brand will have 220 branches after the cull, which it states will remain the 7th largest branch network in the UK. It has upgraded 140 branches with new technology to make visits more streamlined and launched 41 ‘pop-up’ services across the country, with a further 10 planned.

Staff affected by the closures will be moved to alternative roles with no job cuts announced.

TSB chief customer officer Robin Bulloch says: “Closing branches is an incredibly difficult decision to take, but we have to respond to the changes in the way people bank and provide the right mix of services for all our customers now and into the future.

“These changes allow us to maintain an extensive branch presence across the country. They are accompanied by a significant investment programme to upgrade branches to better suit customer needs. And, where it takes longer to get to the nearest branch, we will introduce more ‘pop-up’ services in communities.”

Tesla CEO jokes about whistleblowers

TeslaTesla chief executive Elon Musk has posted a tweet to promote a Tesla-branded product called the Cyberwhistle, in what seems to be a joke about whistleblowers.

Musk tweeted “Blow the whistle on Tesla!” and linked to the Cyberwhistle, a collectible product, which costs $50 (£37) on Tesla’s lifestyle section and is currently sold out.

Musk also added in the tweet’s thread: “Don’t waste your money on that silly Apple Cloth, buy our whistle instead!”, referencing Apple’s $19 (£14) microfibre polishing cloth that went on sale last month.

The whistle is designed similar to the Tesla Cybertruck which infamously had its window smashed at its unveiling. A website description states the Cyberwhistle is a “premium collectable” made from medical-grade stainless steel with a polished finish.

The company has been engulfed in controversy recently with former employees launching lawsuits over racial abuse and sexual harassment at its factory in California.

A female employee described “nightmarish” conditions working for the car electric vehicle brand due to constant sexual harassment. A lift operator was paid $137m, as Tesla failed to prevent him from being racially abused.

READ MORE: Elon Musk jokes about whistleblowers with new Tesla product

Meta ordered to sell GIF maker by UK watchdog

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has issued a legally binding order to force Facebook parent company Meta to sell online gif platform Giphy.

Stuart McIntosh, who chaired the independent inquiry into the acquisition, said the tie-up is already anti-competitive by removing a potential challenger to the display advertising market.

“Without action, it will also allow Facebook to increase its significant market power in social media even further, through controlling competitors’ access to Giphy GIFs,” says McIntosh.

“By requiring Facebook to sell Giphy, we are protecting millions of social media users and promoting competition and innovation in digital advertising.”

Meta will reportedly challenge the decision.

Meta had been fined £50.5m by the CMA in October for breaching an imposed order while investigating its acquisition of Giphy. The regulator said at the time Meta continued with integration processes with Giphy despite multiple warnings from the regulator. Meta has denied this.

READ MORE: Meta: UK competition regulator tells Facebook owner to sell GIF library Giphy

EasyJet bets on return to pre-pandemic levels by summer

Airline brand EasyJet has told investors it predicts passenger numbers to return to pre-pandemic levels next summer, however, uncertainty over winter looms as restrictions rise throughout Europe.

The budget carrier says there was a drop in bookings after the announcement of the Omicron variant, but states it is still too early to tell if it will impact the busy festive season.

The company announced pre-tax losses at £1.1bn compared to £835m in the previous 2019/20 financial year, a period that accounts for only six months of the pandemic disruption.

Capacity will be filled to around 65% of 2019 levels between October and December due to strong demand for winter breaks, but heightened restrictions in key markets have clouded outlook.

EasyJet CEO Johan Lundgren says: “We remain mindful that many uncertainties remain as we navigate the winter, but we see a unique opportunity for EasyJet to win customers and take market share from rivals in this period.”

READ MORE: EasyJet sees softening of bookings as COVID restrictions grow amid Omicron uncertainty

Tuesday, 30 November


Pret launches first loyalty scheme

Pret A Manger is trialling its first loyalty programme, the latest move in the chain’s omnichannel transformation plan and another move it hopes will strengthen its digital offering.

Pret Perks will be rolled out in phases, with Pret’s coffee subscription customers the first to be invited to join via their digital account, before it is  extended to all customers in 2022.

Users will get a star every time they shop in-store or use the click and collect service, while coffee subscribers will earn an additional star each month they renew their contract and when they purchase a meal alongside one of their five hot drinks each day.

After receiving 10 stars customers will be able to choose a reward from a pre-assigned category, which could include a free bag of popcorn or a vegan cookie. Rewards will be available for 30 days and Pret also plans to tailor rewards to customers’ preferences depending on what they have chosen in the past.

Pret will also be building its ‘random acts of kindness’ in-store proposition, whereby its staff reward customers with complimentary items, into the programme, with the chance to earn bonus stars at random.

The move is part of Pret’s plan to attract a wider customer base and enhance its digital presence. As well as launching its coffee subscription and click and collect service, over the past 18 months the chain has also started working with partners including Deliveroo, Uber Eats and Just Eat, and launched its own app. Pret also plans to open 200 stores across the UK over the next two years, with a focus on regional and suburban areas.

Clare Clough, UK managing director of Pret A Manger says: “As with any new piece of technology we are currently in the testing phase and rolling this out slowly to our Pret ‘superfans’, our coffee subscribers, and will be looking to take learnings on board to make the loyalty programme the best it can be. We hope to open it up to all customers as soon as possible in 2022.

“Over the past 18 months we’ve responded to how people now want to interact with our brand and products, from launching bake-at-home croissants, to growing our digital capabilities through the launch of Pret’s coffee subscription. We’re excited by this latest digital evolution, which allows customers to engage with our brand.”

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey steps down

Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey has stepped down from his role, making way for chief technology officer Parag Agrawal to take over the reins.

Stakeholders including Elliott Management and billionaire investor Pail Singer have criticised Dorsey’s tenure as chief executive of both Twitter and sister firm Square, calling for him to relinquish one of the roles.

Immediately after the announcement Twitter’s share rose 11% before being briefly suspended.

Dorsey, who founded the social media platform in 2006, will remain on the board until Twitter’s stockholder meeting in 2022.

In an email to staff he said: “There’s a lot of talk about the importance of a company being ‘founder-led’. Ultimately I believe that’s severely limiting and a single point of failure. I’ve worked hard to ensure this company can break away from its founding and founders.”

READ MORE: Jack Dorsey steps down as Twitter chief executive

Diageo adds domestic abuse guidelines as part of inclusivity drive

Diageo has introduced global domestic and family abuse guidelines to help support employees and provide confidential support.

The guidelines will initially be rolled out across 14 markets, including the UK, Ireland, India, North America and Southern Europe, and will be open to all employees regardless of length of service.

Diageo says it wants to support employees suffering domestic abuse as it can have a “devastating impact on the personal and professional lives” of those who experience it. The drinks giant says the workplace can often be a refuge for people suffering abuse of this kind so it wants to create a safe place where people can seek help.

Diageo says it sees domestic and family abuse as a human rights issue as well as a health and safety and workplace productivity issue. The guidelines are designed to offer both practical support and ensure greater flexibility for those who need it.

As part of the policy, employees experiencing domestic or family abuse may be entitled to up to 10 days of discretionary and confidential paid leave each year to help with activities such as preparing for court proceedings, relocating or seeking medical support.

“At Diageo we firmly believe that abuse of any form is a violation of fundamental human rights, irrespective of where it occurs. These new guidelines set out how we can all foster a working environment that promotes safety and is flexible, respectful and supportive of those employees experiencing domestic or family abuse,” says Mairéad Nayager, Diageo’s chief HR officer.

“We want to be here for them and provide a safe and inclusive culture, where all our people feel valued and can thrive.”

It is the latest in a line of policies Diageo has introduced to improve inclusivity and support employees through all manner of things including pregnancy loss and the menopause.

Asda charters ship to ensure Christmas stock arrives

asdaAsda has become the latest retailer to charter its own ship to mitigate the risk of having empty shelves this Christmas, as supply chain shortages continue to bite.

The supermarket says the ship has 350 containers carrying toys, clothing, decorations and gifts to ensure it can meet demand this festive season.

Asda has struggled with shortages of some food this year already as a result of the driver shortage, and has also said it is taking measures to ensure it has enough festive products such as mince pies and turkey to cater for demand.

John Lewis said it was chartering a ship in September to ensure stock arrives in time for Christmas. Meanwhile, in the US Costco and Walmart have done the same.

“This is the first time Asda has chartered its own ship and we have done so to navigate the industry-wide supply chain challenges and to make sure there is enough stock on the shelves for customers this Christmas,” a spokesman told the BBC.

It comes as the supermarket reports a 0.7% drop in like-for-like sales for the three months to 30 September.

READ MORE: Asda charters cargo ship to prevent Christmas shortages

Brands view of the media agency role is shifting

Brands are changing their relationship with agencies, according to a study of senior marketers at large companies, with 85% saying data optimisation rather than media buying clout is now the most important factor in their decision making.

The survey of 150 CMOs at companies that have revenues of more than $1bn, which was commissioned by agency Kepler, also shows 81% agree automation will reduce the importance of agency network scale and traditional buying power.

As brands continue to in-house technology and talent, half of marketers (52%) say they plan to eventually take all aspects of media investment in-house. Unsurprisingly, larger companies are more wedded to this idea, with 63% of companies with a revenue of $10bn or more considering full in-housing.

Trust and transparency are also high on the agenda – 58% of marketers say are still concerned they do not have the full picture in terms of where media is invested and how it is performing, while 47% say their media agency partners need to improve on sharing learnings and consulting with client teams.

Going forward, half of respondents say they will not use a media agency that cannot provide complete transparency of trading practices. A similar percentage (51%) suggest corporate ethics will increasingly influences how and where they invest digital budgets.

The World Federation of Advertisers’ (WFA) director of global media services, Matt Green, says: “With the rapid transformation of the industry, media agencies are being asked to be many things. Clients expect their agencies to offer depth in digital and data, excellence in media planning, breadth in market knowledge. And executed consistently worldwide.”

He adds: “The traditional model is becoming stretched. And while price is important, for many clients this is one factor among many. Clients need to focus on finding fair and appropriate incentivisation models and agencies need to set themselves up to adapt to these changes.”

The study of C-suite leaders was conducted across the UK, US and APAC.

Monday, 29 November

Over 17 million UK consumers have used buy now, pay later services

More than 17 million people in the UK have used a buy now, pay later (BNPL) service for online purchases, a trend that is set to rise over Christmas, according to a survey from Citizens Advice.

The largest provider of BNPL services in the UK is Klarna, which has seen its customer base double to 15 million since early 2020. Other players in the segment are Clearpay and LayBuy which are also expanding.

There is a rise of users in their 40s and 50s showing BNPL services are not just a millennial and Gen Z trend. While one in 10 people is planning to use the service to afford Christmas shopping.

Citizens Advice consumer expert Kate Hobson says: “Money can often be tight in the run-up to Christmas, but it’s still really important not to spend more than you can afford.

“If you’re considering using buy now, pay later, make sure you understand what you’re signing up for, how you’ll make the repayments and what will happen if you can’t pay on time”.

READ MORE: More than 17 million have used buy now, pay later services

Meta acquisition of Giphy blocked

Facebook MetaThe UK’s Competition and Markets Authority is set to block Meta’s acquisition of online gif platform Giphy this week.

If the acquisition is blocked this will mark the first time the regulator has reversed course on a big tech acquisition.

The regulator fined Meta, formerly Facebook, £50.5m in October for breaching an imposed order while investigating its acquisition of Giphy.

The watchdog said Meta failed to comply despite “multiple warnings” by integrating its operations with Giphy while its investigation was ongoing, a charge Meta denies.

Meta bought Giphy for a reported $400m (£299m) in May last year for its capabilities in creating and sharing animated images known as gifs. The social media giant plans to integrate the firm’s technology into Instagram.

READ MORE: UK regulator expected to block Meta’s Giphy deal (£)

Tesla refuses €1.14bn in state aid for German factory

TeslaUS car maker Tesla has withdrawn its application for state aid for building a battery factory in Germany, as chief executive Elon Musk declares the brand opposes subsidies.

The €1.14bn (£964m) cash injection was approved in January by the European Union to boost the capacity of Tesla, BMW and other automakers to enhance their electric vehicle batteries and reduce EU battery imports from China.

“Tesla has informed the Federal Ministry of Economics and the Brandenburg Ministry of Economics…it is withdrawing its IPCEI application for state funding for the battery factory in Grünheide,” says a Tesla spokesperson.

The spokesperson adds the withdrawal does not hinder plans for the plant in Gruenheide, Brandenburg.

READ MORE: Tesla decides against state aid for German battery plant as Musk opposes subsidies

The Big Issue and O2 launch campaign to help vendors stay connected

The Big Issue and O2 have partnered in a multi-platform brand content campaign by setting up over 200 magazine vendors with free data plans each month as part of a wider move to tackle “data poverty”.

Vendors will be equipped with plans including a free O2 sim, 7GB of data, unlimited calls and text, enabling them to make cashless sales and access online services.

For vendors of The Big Issue, sales have increased by more than a third since offering cashless sale options in 2019.

For every plan O2 sells this festive season it will donate 10GB of data to charity partner National Databank, which specialises in connecting people that struggle to stay connected due to financial situations, the scheme is compared to as a “foodbank for data”.

It’s a part of a wider target of O2’s to connect more than 255,000 people living in poverty by the end of 2023.

Virgin Media O2 marketing director Simon Valcarcel says: “Data poverty affects many millions of people in the UK, so we set up the National Databank with the help of Good Things Foundation to help those most in need stay connected.

“This Christmas, we’ve partnered with The Big Issue to provide over 200 of their vendors with access to the free data each month. The aim is to help them take mobile payments in an ever more cashless society, access the services that they need and stay connected to loved ones.”

Nissan sets aside £13bn in push for electric vehicles

Japanese car maker Nissan says it will spend over 2 trillion yen (£13.2bn) over the next five years to catch up to rivals in electric vehicles.

This marks the first time Nissan has unveiled a comprehensive electric car plan and the company will spend twice what it did in the last 10 years to take share in electric vehicles.

The company plans to unveil 23 electric vehicles by 2030 and aims to reduce lithium-ion battery costs by 65% within eight years, as well as innovate with its own battery technology which will launch in March 2029.

Nissan CEO Makoto Uchida says: “We will advance our effort to democratise electrification.”

The Japanese company did not commit to phasing fossil fuel vehicles by 2040 at Cop26 in Glasgow this month, a commitment rivals General Motors and Ford made.

READ MORE: Nissan to spend $17.6 bln over 5 years in electrification push



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