Hollister, Dunelm, ASA: 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.

Hollister appoints gaming champion as chief scout

Fashion brand Hollister has appointed Kyle ‘Bugha’ Giersdorf as its chief gaming scout, in what is thought to be the first brand partnership of its kind with a professional gamer. Giersdorf is Fortnite World Cup Champion.

The appointment is being marked with the launch of a limited-edition hoodie and sweatpants outfit, designed for comfort while gaming. It features a large pocket for snacks and a hood shaped to accommodate a gaming headset. Fans voted on the design of the outfit via Giersdorf’s Instagram feed.

As part of his role he will select up-and-coming streamers for Team Hollister, the brands new gamer training programme that will launch next month in collaboration with streaming network Twitch. The brand will be sponsoring young gamers with US$10,000 and mentorship from Giersdorf.

“I’m pumped to act as Hollister’s Chief Gaming Scout and for the release of our gaming apparel collection,” said Bugha. “Working with the team to design custom apparel that I’m truly excited to wear, and that I know other gamers will love, has been a really cool experience. I can’t wait for everyone to see what else we have in store with this partnership,” says Giersdorf.

“We’re always focused on meeting our Gen Z customers where they are, and gaming continues to be a rising area of interest for global teens,” says Kristin Scott, global brand president at Hollister parent company Abercrombie & Fitch Co. “We’ve recently been successfully and authentically showing up in the gaming world, particularly with our Fortnite tournament earlier this year – so we’re excited to delve even further into this area through our partnership with Bugha and the launch of Team Hollister.”

Dunelm calls on shoppers to go their own way

Homewares retailer Dunelm is launching its autumn ad campaign today, with a 60 second TV ad set to hit TV screens via ITV over the weekend.

‘Dun Your Way’ seeks to empower customers to defy expectations when styling their homes. It opens in a dystopian, washed-out world which is transformed when one Dunelm customers introduces bold colours and inspires neighbours to follow suit.

Dunelm brand marketing director David Murdin says The launch of ‘Dun Your Way’ gives us an ownable brand and communications platform as well as a lively, bold tone of voice, which we hope will empower our customers to create a home which brings them joy, done their way and no one else’s.

“We’ll be encouraging both our colleagues and customers to share ‘their way’ with us over the next few months, showing us the Dunelm products they love and how they’ve done things their way when decorating and styling their homes.”

There will be an additional activation of the campaign at Christmas.

ASA works with creators to highlight ad rules on TikTok

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has partnered with TikTok to spread awareness of advertising rules among users of the platform. The association has worked with nine leading TikTok content creators to improve understanding of the rules in place to make sure advertising on social media platforms in legal, decent, honest and truthful.

Creators including Doctor Ethan, Sherice Banton, Rene Cravings and Mammy Banter are highlighting specific issues in the campaign. Misleading ads, ad recognition, promotions and prescription-only medicines are among the subjects tackled in videos created as part of the initiative.

“We’re excited to work with TikTok and to partner with these creators to help spread the word about how and when the ad rules apply not only on TikTok but across social media platforms,” says Justin Davis, copy advice executive at the ASA.

“We know that the majority of creators want to get it right and maintain trust and authenticity with their followers by being upfront and clear when their posts are ads; these videos provide top tips on how to make sure anyone who promotes a brand or product follows our rules and advertises responsibly.”

E.ON pledges action on climate change

Energy company E.ON is launching a campaign today to highlight the urgent need for action over climate change.

The campaign is centred around a TV ad filmed at the top of the rapidly-eroding Mittelbergferner Glacier in Austria. It features dozens of people including mountaineer and environmentalist Richard Messner, alongside E.ON’s global CEO, and scientists, engineers, activists and consumers. The group speaks directly to the viewer, pledging “The time for promises is over. It’s time for (climate) action now.”

OOH, print and social activity will support the ad, alongside influencer activations and an interactive digital hub. Here 27 interviews will be available to view, detailing how EON is cutting its CO2 outut through engineering projects.

“E.ON has undergone a radical transformation,” says the company’s senior vice president of global brand and marketing, Axel Löber. “It’s important that we are now sharing with consumers how, as a leading energy company, we are enabling society in our joint fight against climate change.”

The ad is launching during the run-up to 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference – also known as COP26.

Woodland Trust launches climate fightback

The Woodland Trust has launched its latest campaign – The Big Climate Fightback – ahead of the COP26 climate conference. The push represents the brand’s biggest TV campaign to date, and calls on the general public to get involved in tree planting in their local communities.

The UK risks missing its carbon net zero ambitions unless more trees are planted. The Woodland Trust is starting a drive to increase the planting of trees, sending more than 700,000 native trees, without charge, for schools and communities to plant this autumn. A further 680,000 trees will be available in March.

Woodland Trust chief executive Dr Darren Moorcroft says, “With recent decades warmer, wetter and sunnier than the 20th century and 2020 the third warmest on record, it is clear we are in a climate crisis, but we are in a nature crisis too. This is a dismal and sobering picture. Our woods are not in great shape, and we remain one of the least wooded countries at 13% woodland cover, compared to 37% in the rest of Europe. Without greater action, small and fragmented woods will remain that way and species will face extinction. But it is not too late – things can change.”

Thursday, 14 October

gas cooker

Two more energy firms collapse as prices surge

A further two UK firms have collapsed amid surging wholesale energy prices, meaning close to 2 million consumers have seen their energy supplier go bust in recent weeks.

BP-backed renewable energy company Pure Planet, which had 235,000 gas and electricity customers, blamed the global energy crisis, record high wholesale energy costs and the Ofgem price cap for causing the business to fail. It is joined in its collapse by Colorado Energy, which supplies gas and electricity to around 15,000 customers.

In a message to members, the Pure Planet co-founders said they feared more energy suppliers would go out of business. The company noted that it had recently passed its Ofgem milestone assessment “with flying colours”, was on track to post its first profits at the end of the financial year and was backed by “one of biggest energy companies in the world” in BP.

“So why are we yet another energy supplier to have failed? Was it because we are ‘small’? No. Was it because we are badly run? With respect, we’d argue not. Did we get everything right? Of course not. We could always have improved,” said the co-founders in a joint statement.

“But it’s because, despite all the good things we’ve mentioned, we were being forced to lose money through sky-rocketing global wholesale energy prices clashing with a domestic staid government and regulatory policy – the price cap.”

The Pure Planet co-founders described the government’s decision not to bail out the energy sector as a “deeply short-sighted approach”, which will increase bills and reduce innovation “at a time when the sector is crying out for more”.

The regulator Ofgem says it is working closely with the government and wider industry to ensure consumers “continue to be protected this winter” and will find new suppliers for Pure Planet and Colorado Energy customers.

“Ofgem’s number one priority is to protect customers,” says director of retail Neil Lawrence. “We know this is a worrying time for many people and news of a supplier going out of business can be unsettling.”

Pure Planet and Colorado Energy join the likes of Avro Energy, People’s Energy and Green Supplier Limited, all of which have collapsed in recent weeks.

READ MORE: Two more UK energy firms go bust as prices soar

Half of marketers ‘weary’ of sustainability campaigns amid greenwashing fears

Half (49%) of marketers are weary of working on sustainability marketing campaigns due to fears their company or clients will be accused of ‘greenwashing’, according to new Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) research.

Some 76% of marketers have been involved in sustainability work over the past five years, with 45% saying they feel under pressure to communicate their company or clients’ sustainability credentials.

The survey of more than 200 UK marketers shows 55% of respondents say their companies and clients recognise sustainability as a business priority, while 51% believe climate change could threaten the very existence of their business.

Yet the survey has identified a skills gap, with 40% of marketers admitting they do not have marketing qualifications relating to sustainability.

Additional research carried out by CIM with 2,000 UK consumers reveals 63% of adults believe brands should increase communications around the sustainability of their products and services.

However, consumers remain sceptical of brands’ sustainability efforts, with 63% believing many businesses only get involved with sustainability for commercial reasons, as opposed to ethical concerns.

The findings show consumers aged 18 to 34 are more receptive to sustainable marketing, with more than half (59%) saying they are more likely to buy products or services from a brand that advertises how sustainable it is. By contrast, this opinion is shared by 31% of consumers aged 55 and above.

An additional LinkedIn poll carried out by CIM of 1,193 people finds 71% of respondents feel marketing plays a significant role in driving sustainability initiatives. Only 3% feel marketing had no power to drive through change.

CIM marketing director and sustainable marketing expert Gemma Butler welcomes the introduction of regulation such as the Competition and Markets Authority’s Green Claims Code, which is aimed at protecting consumers from misleading environmental claims made by brands. Butler believes marketers should not shy away from communicating sustainability credentials for fear of being labelled as greenwashing.

“Every marketer should remind themselves that their job is not just about driving click-throughs or marketing a product. They are in a unique position to influence social change, mediating the relationship between brands and their customers,” she adds.

“They should act as a catalyst for positive change and have an important role to play in making sure that brands have sustainability high up on the priority list.”

NFL poised to take Super Bowl halftime show sponsorship to market

NFLThe NFL is reportedly considering opening up bids to sponsor the Super Bowl halftime show after its deal with current sponsor Pepsi expires in 2022.

The price to sponsor the Super Bowl halftime show could be in the region of $25m (£18.3m) to $50m (£36.7m), CNBC reports. Drinks giant Pepsi bought the rights in 2012 as part of a wider deal valued by the Wall Street Journal at more than $2bn (£1.5bn). Prior to Pepsi the sponsorship was held by Bridgestone, a deal which cost the car part manufacturer up to $10m (£7.3m) a year.

Typically, the Super Bowl halftime show package spans additional programming during the NFL season, commercial spots during the Super Bowl, exclusive access to the performers – which for 2022 include Snoop Dogg and Eminem – and other NFL branding in the lead up to the game, says CNBC. The halftime show itself lasts for around 12 minutes.

The Super Bowl continues to attract huge global audiences, leading to speculation the NFL could opt for a halftime show sponsor from outside the US to grow the game’s global appeal. The 2021 Super Bowl averaged 96.4 million viewers, including those streaming the game. Such viewership means that for the 2022 event in February broadcaster NBC is charging $6.5m (£4.8m) for a 30-second ad slot.

READ MORE: NFL taking Super Bowl halftime sponsorship rights to market as deal with Pepsi set to expire

Tiffany promotes from within to appoint first CMO in five years

TiffanyTiffany & Co has appointed its first CMO for five years with the promotion of senior vice-president of marketing, Andrea Davey.

Davey joined the luxury jewellery brand in 2013 as vice-president of North America and has also held the post of global vice-president of marketing. In her role as CMO Davey has a wide remit, covering everything from innovation, digital commerce, communications and PR, to performance marketing, portfolio management and merchandising.

Prior to joining Tiffany, she served for more than 16 years at Procter & Gamble, including as global marketing director with responsibility for the strategic development for over 60 brands worldwide. Davey has also held marketing roles at Warner Lambert and PepsiCo.

Tiffany was acquired in January for £11.6bn by luxury mega group LVMH, which on Tuesday posted revenue of €44.2bn (£37.5bn) during the first nine months of 2021, up 46% compared to 2020. LVMH described the performance of Tiffany as “remarkable”, particularly in the US, fuelled by the growing success of its “iconic products”.

The luxury group’s wider watches and jewellery business recorded organic revenue growth of 49% in the first nine months of 2021, compared to the same period in 2020.

Upon its acquisition of Tiffany, LVMH appointed a new top team – including a new creative director – and by July the brand had gone live with ‘Not your mother’s Tiffany’, a campaign which attracted claims from the jeweller’s longstanding fans of being “disrespectful” and ageist.

Last month the jewellery giant signed up tennis star and US Open winner Emma Raducanu as a brand ambassador, a clear sign of the brand attempting to appeal to a new generation.

Dreams introduces mascot in first brand campaign since 2015

Dreams is introducing a new brand mascot to help the nation sleep better, as part of the bed retailer’s first brand campaign since 2015.

The ‘Sleep Like Log’ campaign, the company’s first brand push since the ‘Replace Every Eight’ message was launched six years ago, features new mascot Log, who aims to bring humour to the bed category while also promoting quality of sleep.

Devised by creative agency Uncommon, the ad sees Log share his top tips for improving sleep, such as using air-purifying houseplants and setting a caffeine cut-off after 4pm, while also showcasing the Dreams range.

The campaign spans TV, broadcaster video-on-demand, premium video-on-demand, audio and social media. There are a series of shorter films featuring mascot Log in different sleep scenarios, including his decision to quit dating apps in favour of a more peaceful, uninterrupted sleep.

Continuing its long-standing partnership with All4, Dreams will also run several exclusive idents on the streaming service. With a view to enhancing the experience online, on social media and in-store several additional assets have been created, including 3D printed life size models of Log.

Dreams also produced a series of new product adverts using virtual production technology, which the brand describes as a “more sustainable filming option” that limits the need to travel or source materials for sets. The company claims to be the only UK retailer to leverage this technology in an ad campaign.

“Dreams is the market leader but in an increasingly competitive category – and one where there has previously been little disruption and differentiation – we knew we need to be bold and bring something very different to market,” says director of marketing Simon Moore.

“Everyone knows the old adage ‘I slept like a log’ but the reality is far too many people are not sleeping well enough and not getting the physical and mental benefits of a great night’s sleep. For us it was simple – drive brand affinity by doing sleep education, but do it differently.”

Wednesday, 13 October

A third of marketing budgets are ‘wasted’

Marketers and agencies are “on different planets” with the two sides often polarised on crafting briefs resulting in over a third of budgets wasted, according to a survey led by The BetterBriefs Project.

The survey was carried out in collaboration with Flood + Partners surveying over 1,700 marketers and agency staff from over 70 countries.

It found marketers (80%) think they write good briefs, and only 10% of creative agencies agree. Over three-quarters of marketers (78%) think the briefs they write provide clear strategic direction, with only 5% of creative agencies agreeing.

Marketers (83%) say briefs they write contain clear and concise language, but only 7% of agencies agree.

Both sides do agree it’s a challenge to produce good creative work without a good marketing brief, according to 89% of marketers and 86% of agencies.

Despite the value and importance of briefs almost all marketers (90%) and agencies (92%) agree the brief is the most valuable, but also most neglected tools have to create good work.

Respondents estimate 33% of marketing budgets go to waste due to poor briefs and misdirected work. Marketers (69%) and agencies (73%) agree debriefs happen too often leading to loss of time, money and fuelling frustration.

Janet Hull OBE, IPA director of marketing strategy and executive director IPA EffWorks says: “How can you say what you mean if you don’t mean what you say? Which is precisely the issue that this thorough research brings to the fore: you can’t produce good work without a good evidence-based brief with realistic outcomes and sensible budgets. They are the building block of the client/agency relationship and the campaign outcome.

“A bad brief result in wasted time, money and patience all round. But let’s turn a negative into a positive here. Now we know the extent of the problem, we are also presented with an opportunity to improve the briefing process and reclaim the third of the marketing budget lost to bad briefs – which is why we will be adding this to the list of our EffWorks R&D priorities for 2022.”

Reacting to the data in his column this week, Marketing Week columnist Mark Ritson says about 90% of marketers never develop a marketing strategy or “enjoy a single strategic moment in their whole career”.

Apple share price drops due to chip shortage for iPhone 13

Shares in US tech giant Apple has dropped 1.2% on reports the manufacturer could slash production of its iPhone 13 due to the ongoing computer chip shortage.

According to Bloomberg, the iPhone maker was expected to make 90 million smartphones in the last quarter of 2021, but the vendor has reportedly told partners it can only produce 10 million.

Chip manufacturer partners Broadcom and Texas Instruments are reportedly struggling to supply enough chips to Apple and saw their shares fall by 1%.

Apple launched the iPhone 13, iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max in September.

READ MORE: Apple shares drop on iPhone 13 production fears

Amazon drivers seek compensation for workers’ rights

Amazon UK warehouseLaw firm Leigh Day is launching action against Amazon on behalf of its delivery drivers.

Leigh Day, which won a workers’ rights case on behalf of Uber drivers, states drivers should be given the same rights as official employees even if they are hired by third parties. Currently, Amazon delivery drivers are classed as self-employed and are not entitled to minimum wage or holiday pay from the ecommerce giant.

The law firm is launching legal action on behalf of two drivers and is garnering support from others to join the case. At least 3,000 drivers could be owed more than £100m in compensation, says Leigh Day. It is arguing Amazon holds control over how drivers work and how they fit in the business, meaning they should have more rights.

An example is drivers are given compulsory time targets to meet deliveries.

Amazon has said it is committed to ensuring drivers were fairly paid by the delivery companies they work with.

Leigh Day employment solicitor Kate Robinson says: “It appears that Amazon is short-changing drivers making deliveries on their behalf. This is disgraceful behaviour from a company that makes billions of pounds a year.

“Drivers delivering for Amazon have to work set shifts and book time off, yet Amazon claim they are self-employed.”

READ MORE: Amazon drivers look to sue for compensation over rights

Accor bares the heart and soul of hospitality 

Accor has launched a pan-European campaign and podcast to champion the “heart and soul” of hospitality, in a bid to energise the hard-hit sector.

The ‘Heart of Hospitality’ campaign includes an independent microsite to share inspiring stories of lives and moments in hospitality, giving voice to the people of the sector.

The podcast will be hosted by Accor Northern Europe CEO Duncan O’Rourke and will cover topics such as women in hospitality, the future of the sector, and luxury travel.

“Heart is what our industry is built on,” says O’Rourke. “We are a people business, that’s all that matters in our sector; people – our people, our partners and our guests. Every hospitality venue is built on the heart and soul that passionate, creative and hardworking people put into it every day.”

Wagamama makes 50% of menu plant-based

Restaurant chain Wagamama is launching a new campaign to celebrate the brand making 50% of its menu plant-based.

Wagamama is giving plant-based dishes an equal share of menu space, with the launch of more plant-based choices this month.

Marking the occasion is the launch of a film based on the Japanese film genre ‘Kaiju’,  which is popularised in the west by Godzilla.

The new film, developed by creative agency Uncommon, centres around a giant rubber dinosaur called Vegemama, which is on a mission to “right our wrongs and help heal our planet.” She does this by destroying a city and blowing up an oil rig to stop more damage to the planet.

But the film pans to a man eating ramen outside a Wagamama branch informing the monster eating plants is a powerful way to save Earth. Vegamama considers this for a moment, before shrugging and losing interest in destroying humanity.

The campaign will run on TV, cinema, online and social, and will be supported by outdoor executions later in the year.

Tuesday, 12 October

Market research

Share of search represents 83% of a brand’s market share, think tank finds

Share of search has been found to represent 83% of a brand’s market share, according to a study led by Vizer Consulting’s James Hankins for the IPA’s new share of search think tank.

The research, which was carried out across a range of sectors, countries and languages, shows the ratio between share of search and share of market does vary by category and market, though.

The findings build on the work carried out Adam&EveDDB group head of effectiveness, Les Binet, and Hankins last year, which touted the new metric as an accurate proxy for market share, with the potential to predict future growth.

Share of search is based on Google Trends search data and is defined by the number of searches a brand receives divided by the searches for all brands within a competitor set over a six to 12 month rolling period.

The latest research, which will be presented by Hankins at the IPA’s EffWorks Global conference today, also shows the metric is dynamic, so when share of search changes, so too does share of market.

Furthermore, when a brand spends more than its market share and increases its share of voice, its share of search increases, although more analysis is needed to understand category and brand dynamics.

Meanwhile, mass reach media such as TV has been found to have a greater impact on share of search compared to more targeted channels. When communication is terminated, however, purchase frequency declines, but strong brands are in a better position to bounce back, although not to previous levels.

Hankins says: “These findings come from a fairly new research group. By bringing together a wide range of practitioners from the industry and aggregating the applications and insights, we hope to help the industry foster best practice and identify potential avenues for further research, this is only the beginning.”

The results are based on 30 case studies representing 12 categories across seven countries, and refer to correlations not causal relationships. The IPA hopes the findings provide answers for smaller brands wanting to deploy share of search and for companies that sell more than one product or service.

Janet Hull, IPA director of marketing strategy and executive director of IPA EffWorks, adds: “The new IPA share of search think tank has been providing robust evidence and case studies from both sides of the Atlantic to amplify industry knowledge and interest in this dynamic metric.

“Share of search continues to enliven vigorous and enthusiastic debate among academics, strategists and analysts alike. Use cases suggest considerable interest in the predictive and competitive potential for investment decision-making. We look forward to fuelling the debate.”

Ritson described share of search as a “simple and elegant alternative” to share of voice last year when the study was first released.

“A gaggle of marketers have been talking for a while now about the fascinating concept of ‘share of search’. And, as you think more about that concept, the idea becomes all the more alluring,” he said.

John Lewis unveils insurance ad starring accident-prone kid

John Lewis has launched a campaign to raise awareness of its home insurance offer as it looks to quadruple the size of its financial services business.

The 60-second ad looks to highlight the flexibility and price of its new home insurance product. It shows a young boy dressed up in his mother’s clothes, shoes and make-up creating an unintentional trail of destruction as he goes and ends with the line ‘Let Life Happen’.

The ad by Adam&EveDDB kicked off on ITV last night and will also feature on YouTube, streaming services and social media channels, as well as appearing on digital screens outside Waitrose stores.

Claire Pointon, customer director for John Lewis, says: “We wanted to inject joy, freedom and humour into this campaign. The story we landed on fulfils this, with the idea that when you have John Lewis’s home insurance with the option of accidental damage cover, you don’t need to worry anymore, you can just ‘let life happen’.

As part of its five-year business transformation plan outlined last year, John Lewis Partnership committed to spending £100m to quadruple the size of its financial services business by offering new products and services across savings and insurance.

The ad highlights John Lewis’s new flexible home insurance offer and first ever investment products.

Asos’s share price drops after CEO departs

Asos’s share price dropped by more than 10% yesterday after it revealed CEO Nick Beighton had stepped down and warned that profits would be hit by increased costs and disruption to its supply chain.

The online fashion brand’s share price dropped by as much as 17% after the news was revealed yesterday.

Outgoing chairman Adam Crozier, who is leading the management shake-up, said a “fresh pair of eyes” was needed to help the business, which has lost almost half its value this year.

Asos has been severely impacted by the supply chain issues currently impacting the retail sector. It blamed its worsening outlook on the difficulties of moving stock around the world as a result of the pandemic and Brexit.

READ MORE: Asos CEO to Leave as Online Retailer Warns Profit Will Decline

Marketers increase use of diverse talent in response to Black Lives Matter

Nearly two-thirds (63%) of global marketers have adapted their creative as a result of the Black Lives Matter and Stop Asian Hate movements, according to a study by Shutterstock.

In the UK specifically, 62% of marketers say these movements impacted their content decisions over the past 12 months.

A similar number (65%) of marketers agree racial and ethnic diversity is an important factor when targeting consumers, however 44% believe it can be difficult to visually reflect their brand with racial and ethnic diversity.

More than a third (34%) of global marketers and 36% of UK marketers believe accurately representing the world we live in is the most important objective for content used in marketing campaigns. Although a similar number (33%) say brand purpose is most important.

The study also shows Brexit has negatively impacted UK marketers’ ability to create diverse content. Nearly half (48%) of UK marketers think it has become harder to hire diverse creative talent because of Brexit. As a result, 48% of marketers are concerned leaving the EU has impacted the diversity of their marketing campaigns. Conversely, just 14% say they are unconcerned.

Meanwhile, although many businesses now have a head of diversity and inclusion, just 31% are involved in all marketing decisions, while 14% have no involvement in marketing at all.

The study is based on the views of 2,700 marketers from the UK, Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, South Korea, Spain and USA.

French Connection boss steps down

The founder and boss of retailer French Connection is set to leave the business as it begins to recover from the impact of the pandemic.

Stephen Marks, who founded the business in 1972, says it is “an appropriate time” for him to step down as it is in a better position than it was pre-Covid.

While French Connection’s revenue for the six months to 31 July 2021 was down 21.2% to £40.2m, its underlying loss was £0.9m compared to the £3.6m loss in registered in 2019.

“We achieved a stronger trading performance following the re-opening of stores in the second quarter of 2021 compared to the post-lockdown periods of 2020 and have additionally seen the benefit of the closure of several non-contributing stores over the last 18 months,” he says.

READ MORE: French Connection boss steps down as group recovers from Covid

Monday, 11 October

Asos

Asos to up marketing spend to capture long-term growth

Asos plans to increase marketing spend in international territories over the next financial year, as it aims to become a £7bn business within the next three to four years.

In its full-year results to 31 August, the online fashion retailer recorded sales growth of 22%, with “exceptional” growth of 36% in the UK, as well as “strong” growth in the US at 21%. Sales in the EU grew 15%, while the rest of the world grew 6%.

The brand also grew its active customer base to 26.4 million, helping to drive an adjusted profit before tax of £126.3m, up 30% on the previous year.

The retailer saw particularly strong growth in its face and body offering as it continues to expand into the category, as sales grew 49%. Face and body alone is now a £150m business.

Meanwhile, the integration of the Topshop brands since acquiring them from Arcadia earlier this year has continued to progress well, with sustained triple digital sales growth. In the US, Asos has established a partnership with bricks-and-mortar retailer Nordstrom to help drive growth of the Topshop brands, with Asos brands to be sold in select stores from the first half of 2022.

Over the year, the brand increased marketing costs as a percentage of sales by 140 base points to 5.1%, as it invested into digital marketing and social media engagement to drive awareness and support the launch of the Topshop brands.

Despite industry-wide supply chain pressures and elevated freight and Brexit-related duty costs, Asos says it will invest to capture long-term growth next year, driving an approximately 1% increase in marketing as a percentage of sales. As a result, the retailer expects profit in the range of £110m to £140m, which could mark a decline on this year’s level.

Full-year sales growth over the next financial year is expected to be in the range of 10 to 15%. Asos claims to have a clear plan in place to deliver £7bn of annual revenue within the next three to four years.

“Asos has delivered another strong performance, with continued growth in customer numbers driving further increases in sales and profits,” says Mat Dunn, chief operating officer and CFO.

“Looking ahead, while our performance in the next 12 months is likely to be constrained by demand volatility and global supply chain and cost pressures, we are confident in our ability to capture the sizeable opportunities ahead. In the last two years, we have transformed Asos with investment in infrastructure and the customer offer; we have generated strong revenue growth and free cash flow and improved structural profitability. But we know there is more to do.”

Dunn now leads the Asos business on a day-to-day basis, as Nick Beighton has stepped down as CEO. A search for a replacement CEO is underway, led by new chair Ian Dyson.

Kraft Heinz puts up prices as inflation pressures build

The CEO of Kraft Heinz has warned consumers to anticipate higher food prices from now on, as the food giant puts up prices across several countries.

The producer of Heinz baked beans and tomato ketchup has increased prices on more than half of its products in the US, with Miguel Patricio telling the BBC that inflationary pressures are mounting across other countries as well. In the UK, the lack of lorry drivers is adding to the rising costs.

Patricio said consumers will need to get used to higher food prices as the world’s population rises and businesses struggle to find enough land to grow food on – though farming technology may help in future.

However, he added that not all cost increases should be passed on to consumers, as firms should absorb some of the cost themselves.

Soaring food costs drove a record jump in price rises in August this year, with the Consumer Prices Index showing the increase in living costs hit 3.2% over the previous 12 months.

In June the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation found global food prices had risen at their fastest monthly rate in over a decade, as the cost of ingredients such as cereals of oils surged.

The pandemic saw many countries struggle to produce the same level of raw materials, from crops to vegetable oils, and the supply of these products has been unable to keep up with returning demand as economies have reopened. This, combined with higher wages and energy prices, has led to higher prices for consumers.

READ MORE: Kraft Heinz says people must get used to higher food prices

Asda to open ready meal restaurant to celebrate premium range

To celebrate 20 years of its Extra Special product line and capitalise on consumer demand for premium food at home, Asda is opening a pop-up fine dining restaurant in London where every dish served is a ready meal from the range.

Opening on 21 October, the restaurant will boast an eight-course tasting menu plus wine, with each dish plated and presented by Asda’s innovation chef Andrew Johnston and his team. The experience will be free of charge for the 100 diners to win a spot.

“We have spent the last 20 years sourcing the very best ingredients and products for our Extra Special range. The range is constantly changing to meet our customer needs, but quality is always at the very heart of it,” says Asda’s vice-president of own brand, Sam Dickson.

“Premium ready meals are becoming increasingly popular as the pandemic brought with it the trend to treat ourselves at home, and we’re immensely proud of our Extra Special range of ‘meals for tonight’.”

Burger King UK prepares for £600m London listing

The UK arm of fast-food giant Burger King is reportedly preparing to float on the London Stock Exchange for around £600m next year.

According to the Sunday Times, the restaurant’s owner is in talks with bankers from Investec and Numis, and is close to appointing one as advisor.

Private equity firm Bridgepoint owns the UK division of Burger King, having reached an agreement with Restaurant Brands International (RBI) in 2018 to become the master franchisee of the brand across the country for 20 years. The deal gave the firm exclusive rights to the brand and control over the brand’s proposition.

Bridgepoint simultaneously acquired Caspian UK Group, one of the UK’s largest Burger King franchisees with 74 restaurants. Overall, the firm operates around 530 sites in the UK, the majority owned by franchisees.

Burger King UK reported sales of £117m in 2020, up £16m on 2019 despite the impact of the pandemic.

Earlier this year a Sky report claimed Bridgepoint is looking to sell the UK operation of Burger King next year. According to the Times the possibility of a sale is still open and could be worth between £500m and £600m.

READ MORE: Burger King UK cooks up £600m float

Cinch reveals new brand platform with TV campaign

Cinch has unveiled a new brand platform to position the online car marketplace as the only place to purchase a car with complete trust and confidence, with a new banner: ‘Don’t just nail it, Cinch it’.

To launch the new strategy, the brand has worked with agency VCCP London on three television adverts, the first of which premiered over the weekend with premium spots during the England vs Andorra World Cup qualifier match, Celebrity Catchphrase, and new drama Angela Black.

The 30-second spot, ‘Meal’, features celebrity brand ambassador Rylan Clark alongside TV chef Gino D’Acampo. An “ambitious” transmission schedule will continue across ITV, Channel 4 and Sky over the coming months, with supporting activity across TV, radio, social and display.

Cinch claims to be the fastest growing online car marketplace, generating annualised sales of over 70,000 vehicles despite launching only a year ago.

“Purchasing a car is a big decision. With our new creative platform ‘Don’t just nail it, Cinch it’ it was important that we delivered the true personality and experience of cinch, providing certainty that online car buying really can be an easy way to make your next car purchase,” says senior marketing director Amy Townsend.

“We want to show Britain’s car buyers they can be confident cinch understands what they need from their car and the experience of buying it. We’ve collaborated closely [with VCCP] to bring to market outstanding new creative and we are excited to unveil to the nation even more brilliant and charming moments of cinching it in the year to come.”

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