Carlsberg, Asda, Argos: 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.


Carlsberg takes big strides to reduce plastic waste

Carlsberg is launching a series of innovations that are set to reduce plastic waste globally by more than 1,200 tonnes a year – the equivalent of 60 million plastic bags.

A world-first for the beer industry, the Snap Pack replaces the plastic wrapping used around Carlsberg’s six packs with a pioneering technology that glues its cans together. It will reduce the amount of plastic used in traditional multi-packs by up to 76%.

Other changes include a switch to Cradle-to-Cradle silver inks on its bottle labels to improve recyclability; a new coating on refillable glass bottles to extend their lifespan and reduce their environmental footprint; and new caps which remove oxygen to make the beer taste fresher for longer.

“We are working hard to deliver on our ambitious sustainability agenda and to help tackle climate change,” says Cees ’t Hart, CEO of Carlsberg group.

“We always strive to improve and today’s launch clearly shows our ambition to follow in our founder’s footsteps towards a better tomorrow. Carlsberg’s Snap Pack will significantly reduce the amount of plastic waste, and we look forward to giving our consumers better beer experiences with less environmental impact.”

Carlsberg has also unveiled its own version of Copenhagen’s Little Mermaid statue made entirely from the new Snap Pack cans. Three metres high, the new installation features a rising tide of 137 kilograms of plastic – representative of the amount of plastic that Carlsberg will be eliminating every hour.

Asda cans Price Guarantee Scheme


Asda’s Price Guarantee scheme, which refunds shoppers if the items they bought cost more in rival supermarkets, will come to an end next month after the company declared it is no longer relevant.

The eight-year-old scheme – which pledged shopping would be 10% cheaper than at rival stores – follows in the footsteps of Tesco, which scrapped its Brand Guarantee scheme in June, and Sainsbury’s, which brought its Brand Match programme to an end in 2016.

Asda says less than 1% of customers were using it.

“[Customers] have more price information at their fingertips than ever and they vote with their feet if they feel a retailer is off the mark on price,” says chief customer Andy Murray.

“Today, the Asda Price Guarantee, whilst still the iron-clad promise it always was, has become less and less relevant to customers.”

READ MORE: Asda ends shoppers’ price guarantee scheme

Argos launches voice shopping and unveils first pop-up store

Argos has become the first UK retailer to launch a voice shopping service that will allow people to check product availability and reserve items via the Google Home voice assistant.

The company’s chief executive John Rogers told the BBC: “The launch is step one and I don’t expect to turn on the app and suddenly double our sales.

“But I expect people will use it and experiment with it – and if we can make it a seamless process, you can see why people would want to use it.”

Argos is also opening a Home pop-up store in central London between 14th and 27th September – an experiential space that will explore the concept of ‘homes that are full of life’.

It is the first ever physical exhibition of Argos Home collections and will showcase AW18 trends, as well as running a number of workshops and events including terrarium making, plate painting, screen printing and macramé.

Tickets will cost £5 and guests attending a workshop will receive 20% off any purchases made at the pop-up, with proceeds of the workshop going to The Alzheimer’s Society.

READ MORE: Argos launches ‘voice shopping’ with Google Home

Dating app for over 50s launches in UK

A new dating app for singles over 50 has launched in the UK to better reflect “tech-savvy” silver surfers and fill an “embarrassing” blackspot in the industry.

The app, built by a London startup led by the Guardian’s dating editor Charly Lester and app developer Antoine Argouges, has had a £3.5m investment from Badoo founder Andrey Andreev, who also backed Bumble when it first launched.

Andreev says the over 50s online dating options are “embarrassing for the industry” and that this demographic has been “mistreated” by dating sites for years.

“I’m excited to see the Lumen team launching an app which finally listens to this audience and specifically targets their issues and needs,” he adds.

Argouges says: “The majority of single over-50s we know are tech-savvy, active, and looking for their next adventure. But this isn’t the reality we see reflected in the dating industry.

“Lumen finally provides a contemporary solution which over-50s can rely on to meet like-mind people,”

Lumen will be free to download, with users required to upload a selfie to verify their identity.

READ MORE: Over 50s Dating app Lumen launches following £3.5m raise

Gousto wants to be ‘more than just a box of ingredients’ with new campaign

Recipe box company Gousto has launched a £2m brand campaign targeting busy families looking for a better way to eat well.

‘Unbox Possibility’ is part of a wider strategy to help UK households serve up 400 million home-cooked meals by 2020 – with the collaboration between M&C Saatchi, the7stars and Framestore designed to encourage people to try new cuisines, learn new skills and show Gousto is “more than just a box of ingredients”.

“There’s a joy and excitement that comes from using Gousto and realising you can easily create the delicious, home-cooked meals you want,” says Anna Greene, head of brand marketing at Gousto.

“We’re delighted to launch our first significant ATL campaign, which brings this to life so powerfully and encourages even more families to unbox the possibility of better mealtimes with Gousto.”

The campaign will run across TV, video-on-demand, the TfL network and social media, as well as a partnership with Time Out that will see Gousto team up with 3 Monkey’s Zeno to launch the UK’s first chef-less restaurant.

Thursday, 6 September

Premier League rights

Premiership needs to take more responsibility with gambling ads, says NHS chief

Premier league football clubs must do more to tackle gambling addiction, the head of NHS England, Simon Stevens, has said.

Stevens said compulsive gambling is one of the “new threats” facing the NHS and warned the health service is being left to “pick up the pieces”, according to Sky.

Speaking at a conference in Manchester, Stevens said: “There is an increasing link between problem gambling and stress, depression and other mental health problems.

“Doctors report that two-thirds of problem gamblers get worse without help and the NHS does offer specialist treatment…But reports that foreign gambling companies are failing to play their part in co-funding help for addicts are deeply concerning.

“The NHS will now work with the Premiership on how we persuade these foreign gambling companies to do the right thing.”

According to the Gambling Commission, there are around 430,000 people dealing with a gambling problem in the UK, and there is growing concern that sponsorship of clubs and broadcast advertising around football and other sporting events is fuelling addiction.

The commission does require bookmakers to donate money to help addicts, with an industry-wide target of £10m a year. But earlier this year charity GambleAware revealed that none of the nine bookmakers that have shirt sponsorship deals with Premier League clubs have made any contribution in the first quarter of 2018.

READ MORE: Premier League gambling sponsors ‘failing addicts’, warns NHS chief

Burberry promises to stop selling fur and burning products

Burberry will stop the practice of burning unsold goods and using real fur.

The luxury fashion house came under fire from environmental groups and newspapers in July when it revealed that last year it destroyed £28.6m in unsold clothes, accessories and perfume.

It pointed out that it is not uncommon for fashion firms to destroy unwanted items to prevent them being stolen or sold cheaply.

However, the retailer has now reiterated its commitment to recycling and said that sustainable fashion would become even more of a priority, citing its partnership with sustainable luxury company Elvis & Kresse among other initiatives.

Burberry’s chief executive Marco Gobbetti says: “Modern luxury means being socially and environmentally responsible. This belief is core to us at Burberry and key to our long-term success. We are committed to applying the same creativity to all parts of Burberry as we do to our products.”

READ MORE: Burberry stops burning unsold goods and using real fur

Ofgem proposes energy price cap of £1,136

Energy watchdog Ofgem has proposed an energy bill price cap of £1,136, marking the biggest single intervention in the UK energy market since privatisation.

It says the move will mean 11 million households will save on average £75, while consumers should save £1bn in total. The temporary cap will take effect at the end of December, after a consultation period, and will be in place until 2023 at the latest.

The industry has been waiting since July for the announcement after the regulator was asked by the government to suggest a market-wide ceiling for what energy providers can charge.

Dermot Nolan, chief executive of Ofgem, said it was “a tough price cap which will give a fairer deal to consumers”.

He said: “Ofgem will ensure that any rise will be due to genuine increases in energy costs rather than supplier profiteering.”

READ MORE: Ofgem proposes energy price cap (£)

Volvo unveils new driverless car concept

Volvo has revealed its autonomous car concept, the 360c, which it says imagines a world where self-driving vehicles could replace short-haul air travel.

The 360c is a fully autonomous electric car that looks at how people can recapture time while travelling. Hakan Samuelson, Volvo’s chief executive, says: “It is about spending hours in the car doing something other than just driving.”

The concept has three modes: Drive, Create, and Relax. While in Drive, the driver can take back manual control of the car; in Create mode, the steering wheel retracts into the console, the seat slides back, and a screen appears on the dash of the passenger seat; In Relax mode, the driver’s seat reclines even further, allowing for them to rest or watch a show on the screen.

The cars will most likely be offered as part of a subscription service for VIP events, commuting and meetings.

READ MORE: To sleep, perchance to dream on the commute

Lloyds cuts 380 jobs as it prioritises digital

Lloyds has cut 380 jobs as part of a re-organisation that will also see it create 435 new roles, as it pushes forwards its digital strategy.

A Lloyds spokesperson says the new roles will be created in the bank’s transformation division, with a focus on engineering and design to help with innovation.

They add: “The group’s policy is always to use natural turnover and to redeploy people in the first instance.”

The changes are part of the bank’s three-year strategy. Lloyds said in February that it will invest £3bn into technology and staff as it looks to adapt to the increasing popularity of digital banking.

READ MORE: Lloyds axes 380 jobs but adds more amid digital strategy shake-up

Wednesday, 5 September 

Critics threaten to #JustBurnIt in response to Nike’s Colin Kaepernick ad

Nike’s decision to feature American football star Colin Kaepernick in its 30th anniversary ‘Just Do It’ campaign has been met with fierce criticism, with some opponents even burning the brand’s products.

The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback sparked controversy when he knelt during the US national anthem to protest against racial injustice and police brutality.

Nike describes him as “one of the most inspirational athletes of this generation” but critics have threatened to boycott the brand, using the hashtag #JustBurnIt and #BoycottNike.

President Donald Trump has also been critical of the campaign, calling it “a terrible message”.

READ MORE: Colin Kaepernick: Nike suffers #justburnit backlash over advertising campaign

Amazon becomes second company to be valued at $1tr

amazon advertising

Amazon has become the second public company to be valued at more than $1tr (£779bn), just a few weeks after Apple reached the same milestone.

The ecommerce giant, which is listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange in the US, saw shares rise 2% in morning trade yesterday, meaning it briefly surpassed the $2,050.50 mark, before slipping back.

CEO Jeff Bezos is now the world’s richest man, with a net worth of more than $167bn, according to Forbes.

Apple became the first business to surpass the $1tr mark last month.

READ MORE: Amazon becomes world’s second company to be valued at $1tn

Ryanair passenger growth slumps to four-year low


Ryanair’s passenger growth hit a four-year low this summer after a turbulent few months.

The Irish airline carried 13.3 million customers during August, up 5% on last year, but it is the first August since 2014 that passenger growth has slipped into single digits.

Ryanair had to cancel 100,000 passengers’ flights during the month, after strike action by pilots across five countries saw one in six flights grounded. Air traffic controller shortages in Britain, Germany and France also caused disruption.

Meanwhile, low-cost rival Wizz Air saw passenger numbers rise by 20.4% during the same period.

READ MORE: Ryanair counts cost of summer turbulence as rivals prosper

Muji considers moving European HQ to Germany following Brexit

Japanese retailer Muji is mulling plans to move its European headquarters out of the UK amid Brexit uncertainty.

The brand, which is owned by Ryohin Keikaku and sells fashion and lifestyle products, is likely to move its European office from London to Germany, a source tells The Independent. It is unclear how many of the 50-odd London-based employees will be forced to relocate if the move goes ahead.

Last week Panasonic, another Japanese company, confirmed it will be relocating its European headquarters to Amsterdam because of Brexit, citing potential tax complications.

READ MORE: Brexit – Muji considers moving European HQ from London to Germany

A fifth of consumers will use ad blockers in 2018

A fifth of internet users (22%) will use ad blockers in the UK in 2018, according to eMarketer’s latest forecast, the equivalent of 12.2 million people.

Consumers’ use of ad blockers is stabilising in the UK though, with growth slowing to single digits.

The use of ad blockers is higher among younger internet users, with 43% of all 18- to 24-year-olds in the UK likely to enable such software, compared with less than 21% for those aged 45 and over.

Use on desktops and laptops is more prevalent, with 88.9% of people likely to use software on these devices. However, ad blocking rates are growing faster on mobile, with 38% of ad blockers likely to use software on smartphones.

The UK’s use of ad blockers is lower than other countries, with people in France (28.7%), Germany (32%) and the US (25.2%) all more likely to block ads.

“The growth in ad blocking users may be slowing, but that doesn’t mean it’s a problem to be dismissed,” eMarketer senior analyst Bill Fisher says. “Revenues lost as a result of the practice remain substantial, so it’s incumbent upon the industry to continue to improve upon the digital ad experience, with better messaging around the benefits of an ad-supported model and ultimately better ads.”

Tuesday, 4 September

Marks & Spencer

M&S launches digital-first clothing and home campaign

Marks & Spencer has launched its first major clothing and home campaign since the restructure of its marketing as it looks to start a new conversation with customers about it product that it says will be more seasonally relevant, inspirational and agile.

The digital-first campaign, created by Grey London, aims to promote must-have wardrobe essentials from its womenswear, menswear, kidswear, home and beauty divisions. It will feature across national press, video-on-demand services, and digital out-of-home, although traditional TV spend is notable by its absence. There will also be a big push through other digital channels – including shoppable Instagram and Facebook posts – as M&S looks to move a third of its sales online.

Nathan Ansell, clothing and home marketing director at M&S, says: “M&S is using new ways of engaging with our customers and the digital focus with ‘Must-Haves’ is the result of customer insight, collaboration across our business and creative thinking, it’s executed across a highly targeted range of digital channels and excitingly is our most digital campaign to date.

“Must-Haves is all about product and is designed to show M&S as a stylish and affordable choice for high-quality, seasonal wardrobe essentials – with so much more to come we can’t wait to hear what our customers think.”

The campaign is supported by wider changes at M&S that include better optimistation of its online product pages for mobile and clearer navigation in-store. This follows the creation of a specialist visual merchandising team that aims to improve the customer experience.

Nike makes ‘taking a knee’ quarterback star of new campaign

Nike has made Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who sparked controversy when he knelt during a rendition of the national anthem to protest against racial injustice, the star of its new ad campaign as it marks the 30th anniversary of its ‘Just Do It’ motto.

Kaepernick tweeted a black-and-white photo of himself featuring the Nike logo and Just Do It strapline, as well as a quote: “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” Kaepernick has been a Nike ambassador since 2011 but has not featured in a campaign since he left the NFL

“We believe Colin is one of the most inspirational athletes of this generation, who has leveraged the power of sport to help move the world forward,” Nike executive Gino Fisanotti told ESPN. “We wanted to energise its meaning and introduce ‘Just Do It’ to a new generation of athletes.”

Sorrell reacts to WPP CEO news, calling the search a ‘waste of time’

Sir Martin Sorrell has called the search for his successor at WPP a “complete waste of time” and suggested that the decision to point Mark Read as the sole CEO was a mistake.

In comments to various media, Sorrell said he believes Andrew Scott and Read, who were made joint COOs following his sudden resignation, should have been appointed joint CEOs. He also suggested the decision had taken too long, meaning WPP had taken its eye off the ball just as its biggest client was reviewing its advertising.

“Mark and Andrew will be a good twosome. Can’t be a onesome. They complement one another and are the best internal candidates,” he explains. “Ironically, we are now back to where we were on April 3, when we agreed to the same succession plan before the WSJ leak, but five months on. A pity given the challenges WPP faces, such as the review at our biggest client.”

Read takes over from Sorrell with immediate effect. He is expected to evolve the holding group model, but resist any strategy that would see major changes to WPP and its operations. Ford is in the middle of a review that could take its ad account away from WPP for the first time in more than 65 years. It has just handed work to independent Wieden & Kennedy for an autumn campaign in the US, but a full decision has not just been taken.

Adidas launches an app for its grassroots football competition Tango League

Adidas Tango app

Adidas has launched an app for its grassroots football competition Tango League as it looks to boost engagement and better understand users.

The Tango App will feature the league, as well as information on upcoming events. It will also enable users to unlock rewards and build their own follower counts by uploading photos and videos to a new profile that records their progress. Players will be able to complete challenges and take part in competitions.

Florian Alt, vice-president of brand communication at Adidas Football, says: “The Tango League has been a hugely successful way of bringing together football creators from all over the word.

“Now with the new Adidas Tango App, it’s never been easier for them to express their creativity and be part of our Tango community. It will once again bring the global football community closer together and give the most skillful, creative, and committed players the chance to shine on a global stage.”

Viagogo forced to change ‘misleading’ pricing information

Secondary ticketing website Viagogo has been forced to change its pricing by the ad regulator so costs are now clearly displayed and transparent to consumers.

The changes mean pricing information will now feature one single price, that includes VAT and the compulsory booking fee, upfront at the start of the consumer journey. The move comes after the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ruled that Viagogo was misleading consumers. The changes mean the ASA has removed all active sanctions against the company and withdrawn its referral of Viagogo to National Trading Standards. However, it has no impact on the Competition and Markets Authority’s decision to investigate Viagogo.

“The Advertising Standards Authority has secured changes to the pricing information appearing on secondary ticketing provider Viagogo’s website so that consumers aren’t misled,” says the ASA in a statement. “The ASA can confirm it is now satisfied that viagogo’s pricing information follows the advertising rules.”

Monday, 3 September

Mark Read WPP

WPP appoints Mark Read as CEO

WPP has appointed its former chief operating officer Mark Read as chief executive, with immediate effect.

Describing him as a “21st century CEO”, WPP credited Read for taking a central role in many of WPP’s “most successful investments and initiatives”, stating that he understands the “importance of culture” in creating successful organisations.

In a statement, Read described the advertising industry as going through a period of “structural change, not structural decline” that WPP would address by “simplifying” its offering and creating an “inclusive, respectful, collaborative, diverse” culture.

WPP confirmed that Read would receive an annual salary of £975,000, plus an annual bonus of up to 250% of his salary.

On Sunday, the Guardian reported that WPP was in talks to pay Read £7m a year if he is able to turn around the company’s fortunes.

This figure is half the £13.9m paid to his predecessor Sir Martin Sorrell in 2017, his last full year in the business. Due to pay rules introduced by WPP in 2017 to curb the maximum remuneration package given to any new chief executive, Read will not be able to negotiate a multi-million pound deal.

This action was taken by WPP following a series of revolts by shareholders against Sorrell’s pay, which in 2015 reach £70.4m, one of the largest pay packages in UK corporate history. That pay package was opposed by a third of WPP shareholders in the annual meeting. In 2016, Sorrell’s pay dipped to £48.1m.

READ MORE: WPP understood to be in talks with Mark Read about £7m pay package

Mike Ashley under pressure over ‘continued failures’ at Sports Direct

Mike Ashley will come under pressure from shareholders this week amid claims of “continued failures” under his watch as chief executive of Sports Direct.

The Guardian reports that investors are being urged to vote against the re-election of Ashley and company chairman Keith Hellawell over the retailer’s poor treatment of employees and alleged poor governance. This comes just three weeks after Ashley acquired department store chain House of Fraser for £90m.

One shareholder advisory group, Pensions & Investment Research Consultants (Pirc), expressed concerns regarding Ashley’s “excessive influence” over the Sports Direct board and the general “running of the company”. The group also described the fact that there are no female directors on the Sports Direct board as “not acceptable” and claimed the board has “consistently failed” to deal with concerns over employment practices.

A second group, Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS), cited the company’s “ongoing operational, governance and risk oversight concerns” as potential reasons for revolt.

According to The Guardian, these concerns have been “exacerbated” by Ashley’s decision to appoint his future son-in-law Michael Murray to the role of head of elevation and propose paying him £5m for property consultancy work.

READ MORE: Ashley faces potential revolt at Sports Direct annual meeting

Gourmet Burger Kitchen contemplates closures

Gourmet Burger Kitchen (GBK) is thought to be the latest restaurant chain eyeing closures after appointing Deloitte to negotiate a deal with landlords on rent cuts and site closures.

The Times is reporting that this move could result in a company voluntary arrangement (CVA), a method used by fellow casual dining brands Prezzo, Carluccio’s, Byron Hamburgers and Jamie’s Italian to slim down their portfolios and slash rents.

GBK, which has more than 100 sites across the UK, saw like-for-like sales fall by 10.6% in the 22 weeks to the end of July. That same month the restaurant chain’s owner Famous Brands reportedly said it was considering “strategic options relating to a subsidiary” to address the issues at GBK.

South Africa-based Famous Brands bought GBK in 2016 for £120m, after seeing “substantial growth potential” in the business.

READ MORE: Gourmet Burger chain eyes closures

HSBC set to launch new digital bank


HSBC is reportedly close to launching a new digital bank to take on its fintech rivals. Known internally as ‘Project Iceberg’, The Telegraph reports that the lender hired more than 100 people to work on the “secret project” from offices in Aldwych, London.

A source close to HSBC stated that the standalone digital bank could launch in beta mode this year and would be focused on small businesses. Declining to comment on the project, an HSBC spokesperson underlined the bank’s commitment to making commercial banking “quicker, easier and more convenient”.

The news comes just two weeks after digital bank Monzo revealed it is on track to become a tech unicorn after sealing investment valuing the business at $1.5bn.

HSBC is not alone in creating new products for the digital-only market. Santander is reportedly building its own separate online business banking service, while RBS is also in the process of developing a digital bank.

READ MORE: HSBC plans digital bank to counter online rivals

Just Eat goes live with latest X Factor sponsorship

Just Eat has kicked off its second year of X Factor sponsorship by continuing to shine a light on the talent working at its 29,000 partner restaurants nationwide.

Running across 33 sponsorship idents, the Spotlight on the Stars concept devised by creative agency Karmarama will now air every weekend until 2 December and use the show’s host Dermot O’Leary as the voiceover.

The idents show the featured chefs and delivery drivers in a variety of different locations giving their own renditions of hits songs such as Kylie Minogue’s Spinning Around and Feel the Love by Rudimental and John Newman. The idea is to show that every time a user swipes the app to order a takeaway, they put a spotlight on a different takeaway restaurant.

The sponsorship spans the X Factor TV broadcast on ITV, the app, live final and the annual tour, as well as weekly digital series Just Eat’s Xtra Bites. Hosted by TV presenter and radio DJ Becca Dudley and Tinea Taylor, the series shares backstage gossip from the X Factor across the brand’s social platforms.

Just Eat is supporting its X Factor sponsorship with cross-channel marketing campaign ‘The Magical World of Just Eat’.

The online food delivery service described its first year of X Factor sponsorship as “very successful” in terms of increasing awareness and driving a record night for orders during the X Factor live final on 3 December.

“We’re proud to be sponsoring the X Factor for a second year running and shining a spotlight on the local food talent that the Just Eat app unlocks – our restaurants,” says Ben Carter, Just Eat UK marketing director of Just Eat.

“By giving them the chance to shine on primetime TV, we’re able to champion the magic that goes on behind the scenes in kitchens all over the country.”