L’Oréal, Britbox, Morrisons: 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.

L’Oréal and RB join campaign urging people to shop responsibly

L’Oréal, Reckitt Benckiser and Essity are among the brands backing a campaign urging people to shop more responsibly during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Created by Publicis Groupe UK, the ‘Shop Responsibly’ campaign has been designed to unite brands and use their owned, earned and paid media channels to urge consumers to stay home and respect shopping hours for the elderly and NHS workers.

It will feature on retailers’ websites, in email communications and is accompanied by a #ShopResponsibly social media campaign.

Essity’s marketing director, Nicola Coronado, says: “Every brand and retailer is doing their best to manage a difficult situation.

“Through Essity’s support of the Shop Responsibly campaign, and our activation across our portfolio of essential hygiene brands, Cushelle, Plenty, Bodyform and TENA, we aim to drive heightened consciousness among consumers about the potential impact of their behaviours on others and in turn, ensure that everyone – particularly the most vulnerable in our society, as well as our courageous and committed key workers – is able to access the products that they need.”

The campaign incorporates paid, owned and earned media donated from media owners such as Adstream. In addition, Publicis has waived its fees and is working with brands’s agencies from outside the group, as well as creating bespoke assets and collaborating with each partner to tailor messaging to their audience.

Britbox launches Channel 4 marketing campaign

BritBox has launched a multi-million pound marketing campaign to support the launch of Channel 4 content on the service.

The campaign includes commercial TV advertising across ITV and Channel 4, and radio advertising across Absolute, Magic, Heart and LBC, which is a first for the brand.

The digital campaign, meanwhile, will showcase BritBox’s April comedy line-up, as well as highlighting the service’s full range of content partners. The paid digital media approach focuses on clever use of data to drive interaction with the core target audience and maximise greater paid-subscription rates and retention.

“We are pleased to be able to invest in the industry during such a challenging period to deliver a best-in-class brand and performance marketing campaign,” says Britbox’s director of consumer marketing, Amy Townsend.

Digital campaign partners were selected on their ability to deliver tailored creative to specific digital audiences, as well as driving efficient performance for BritBox and ITV, while ITV Hub audience data will be used to target comedy fans on the platform and via CRM.

In addition, the campaign includes activity across both paid and organic social, and support from partners EE and Samsung via marketing activity.

LinkedIn helps organisations hire for the coronavirus frontline

LinkedIn is offering free hiring resources to companies and organisations in healthcare, grocery, warehousing and freight delivery, as well as disaster relief non-profits, to help find people with the skills and experience to fill critical frontline roles.

Frontline healthcare roles, such as doctors and nurses, will be automatically added to a list of ‘urgent’ jobs. LinkedIn members that have relevant skills that fit these open roles will receive automatic real-time alerts and emails that inform them so they can apply immediately.

LinkedIn is also offering support through its Recruiting For Good programme, where LinkedIn employees with recruiting expertise can volunteer their time to help organisations find talent to fill urgent paid and volunteer positions.

“Everyday we are hearing heroic stories of how those on the frontlines are working around the clock to protect the public. It’s clear, however, that more help is needed to fill the most urgent open roles,” says LinkedIn’s UK country manager Josh Graff.

“That is why we are bolstering our efforts to help accelerate the hiring of people with the critical skills that are needed most right now. We’re committed to doing our part and we’re also grateful for the huge support from our talent acquisition employees who are volunteering their time to help recruit for urgent roles and make a difference.”

Morrisons triples staff bonus

Morrisons is tripling its staff bonus as a ‘thank you’ to colleagues for their hard work during the coronavirus pandemic.

All frontline colleagues will receive a 6% bonus on their earnings for the next 12 months rather than just the next eight to 12 weeks, meaning they will receive a bonus payment of £1,050 compared to the £351 that would have been paid last year.

It will be paid quarterly and will continue to be paid as a percentage of actual earnings as per previous years. Colleagues who are off sick or are self-isolating will remain eligible.

“Our highly valued colleagues have stood tall amidst the coronavirus pandemic, playing their full part in feeding the nation,” says Morrisons’s group people director, Clare Grainger.

“We want to thank every single one of them for their continued hard work during these unprecedented times by paying a much higher guaranteed bonus for the whole year in recognition of their effort.”

Rugby League Wold Cup partners Community Integrated Care

Rugby League World Cup has partnered with Community Integrated Care for the 2021 tournament to enable people with care and support needs, and the people who assist them, to connect with the tournament.

The partnership will see the charity create several accessible resources that will give people who access social care support new opportunities to develop life-skills and take part in social activities. It is also creating a series of new programmes in Rugby League World Cup host communities that will promote the health and inclusion of people who have support needs.

“We are proud to be working with Community Integrated Care, in order to further deliver genuine social impact via our legacy programme,” says RLWC2021’s chief executive Jon Dutton.

“This is a leading-edge partnership with a social care provider, where both the sport of Rugby League and Community Integrated Care is making a positive difference together. Community Integrated Care have demonstrated their ability to improve the quality of people’s lives through engagement with rugby league and we look forward to building on this work.

“Inclusivity is at the heart of everything we do, and this partnership is another step forward in achieving our ambition of being the most inclusive Rugby League World Cup ever.”

Thursday, 2 April


Zoom insists user security is treated “extremely seriously”

With New York’s attorney general Letitia James writing to the company and questioning its security measures, in particular its handling of increased traffic and potential hacking, videoconferencing app Zoom has found itself under close scrutiny in recent days.

Concerns abound about so-called ‘Zoombombing’, where hackers are able to jump on public Zoom calls and use the screen-sharing option to send messages or graphic imagery.

A Zoom spokesperson told the BBC that the company takes users’ privacy and security “extremely seriously”.

“During the Covid-19 pandemic, we are working around-the-clock to ensure that hospitals, universities, schools, and other businesses across the world can stay connected and operational.

“We appreciate the New York Attorney General’s engagement on these issues and are happy to provide her with the requested information.”

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Zoom under increased scrutiny as popularity soars

British Airways set to suspend 36,000 staff

British Airways expects to suspend up to 80% of its staff as the coronavirus outbreak impacts the aviation industry.

Some 36,000 of BA cabin crew, ground staff, engineers and head office staff will have their jobs suspended but no redundancies are expected to be made.

Those affected are expected to receive some of their wages through the government’s coronavirus job retention scheme, which covers 80% of a worker’s salary capped at a maximum of £2,500 a month.

The International Air Transport Association expects airline losses to total £2.3bn over the next three months.

READ MORE: BA expected to suspend 36,000 staff

SoftBank decides not to buy WeWork stock

The Japanese conglomerate SoftBank will not be buying $3bn (£2.42bn) of WeWork stock in a major blow to the shared-office space company.

A deal had originally been agreed last year with shareholders, but with increased questions about WeWork’s shared working space ethos in the light of the coronavirus, SoftBank opted to back out of the arrangement.

In a statement, SoftBank also cited the criminal and civil investigations into the company.

A special committee of WeWork’s board said it was “disappointed” by the development and is considering “all of its legal options, including litigation.”

READ MORE: SoftBank terminates $3 billion WeWork tender offer

Wine sales rise sharply as lockdown takes hold

WineA UK producer claims that wine sales in supermarkets, off-licences and online have seen significant rises as consumers drink at home during the coronavirus lockdown.

The Kent-based Chapel Down producer says: “Following the government’s advice to close pubs, theatres and hospitality venues to contain the spread of the virus, we have seen our sales in supermarkets and off licences grow substantially and our online sales multiply dramatically as customers seek to continue to enjoy our brands at home.

“It is too early to extrapolate any trends but if the current sales rate continued the off-trade sales and on-line growth of our wines would more than make up for the loss of on-trade wine sales.

“It will certainly leave us with a stronger business and an increased market share in these areas where we see long term growth.”

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Wine sales rise ‘dramatically’ as UK locked down

DoSomething.org and HSBC campaign aims to help students save money

DoSomething.org has joined forces with HSBC and Black-ish star Marcus Scribner to mark Financial Literacy Month with a campaign aiming to teach young people how to save money.

With 72% of college students citing financial problems as a source of stress and anxiety, ‘Would you rather?’ will look to educate them by asking five applicable questions, after which they’ll receive a financial tip.

They will also be given a personal digital guide, created using expertise from HSBC’s ‘Your Money Counts’ campaign.

“Considering the student debt crisis, the cost of education, and the cost of just life in general, it’s no surprise that money is a huge point of stress for students,” says DoSomething.org CMO Carrie Bloxson.

“That’s why we’re so proud and excited to team up with HSBC. Sure, the questions are amusing, but the impact is real. Through the campaign, thousands of young people will educate their friends and empower them to take control of their financial lives.”

Wednesday, 1 April

News websites call on marketers to stop blacklisting coronavirus content

UK news websites are calling on advertisers to stop blacklisting coronavirus content for trusted media brands as they face losing £50m in digital revenues.

Newsworks, the body representing UK newspaper publishers, estimates that digital brand safety measures around the keyword ‘coronavirus’ are going to cost the industry £50m in lost advertising revenue in the next three months.

Advertisers are using blacklist technology to block ads from appearing next to all stories that mention coronavirus. That means that despite a rise in digital readers, publishers are struggling to generate ad revenue.

Executive chair of Newsworks, Tracy De Groose, says: “If the pandemic lasts for another three months the total loss across our news brands is expected to be £50m, threatening our ability to fund the quality journalism that is vital to ensure that the UK public is accurately informed during the crisis.”

The UK’s national and regional newspaper publishers have banded together to publish an open letter calling on advertisers to rethink the addition of coronavirus-related words to blacklists.

In the industry letter De Groose says: “We understand many marketing budgets are under real pressure now. All we ask is that when you launch your next campaign you check you’re not unknowingly blocking trusted news brands from your plans.”

The letter also argues that advertisers’ blacklist technology is indiscriminate, meaning that even positive or innocuous pieces such as those on family activities for the housebound or articles recommending TV shows, films and books to read in isolation are also blocked from advertising.

READ MORE: Newspapers to lose £50m in online ads as firms use coronavirus ‘blacklist’

UK supermarkets lift some coronavirus restrictions

Several supermarkets have loosened purchasing restrictions designed to prevent stockpiling during the coronavirus outbreak.

Lidl, Aldi, Morrisons and Waitrose have all relaxed their policies, with Lidl removing quantity controls on all products except toilet paper.

In a letter to its customers, Lidl chief executive Christian Härtnagel says the decision had been taken as Britons made fewer shopping trips as a result of the lockdown.

He explains; “We have seen a decline in footfall so we can see that you, our customers, are following the government advice to go out food shopping as infrequently as possible.”

Elsewhere, Morrisons has increased the purchase limit on some products from three to four, and removed them altogether on some products. It notes the changes will make it easier for people to donate to food banks.

Aldi has also scrapped a store-wide policy that limited shoppers to buying four of anything. Controls remain in place for a number of key lines including antibacterial hand sanitiser, toilet paper and long-life milk.

Waitrose also said it was no longer restricting the quantity of fresh food, including meat, poultry and ready meals, that people could buy. Caps remain in place for other products, including toilet paper, in its stores and on its website.

TUI puts 11,000 UK staff on furlough

TUI has temporarily laid off 11,000 UK staff despite securing a £1.6bn bailout from the German government.

Almost 4,500 travel agency staff and more than 6,500 pilots, cabin crew and head office workers have been furloughed, taking advantage of a scheme where 80% of their wages are covered by the taxpayer.

TUI UK and Ireland’s managing director Andrew Flintham says: “The travel industry is facing unprecedented pressure. We will continue to put the customer at the heart of what we do, and when they can holiday with us again we want to be in the best position to deliver the wide range of destinations and experiences we do today.”

Around 2,000 employees will be kept on, many of whom will remain working in a virtual call centre to support the company’s other contact centres. Team members will also continue to support third-party suppliers and agents.

Flintham adds: “We are a fantastic business and we look forward to taking people on holiday again soon.”

£ READ MORE: Tui lays off thousands of workers

Vitality launches Instagram wellness series

Vitality is launching an Instagram wellness series as it looks to encourage the UK to stay active and healthy while at home in lockdown.

Vitality at Home will see videos posted every day at 4pm on the insurer’s Instagram account from the company’s ambassadors, performance champions and in-house health and fitness experts. The videos will be full of tips to inspire people to stay active and healthy, eat well and look after their wellbeing.

England cricketer Jos Buttler kicked off the series with a simple salmon recipe for people to cook at home. This was followed by video content from former ruby player Jonny Wilkinson who shared his advice on looking after your mental health, while former Olympian Jessica Ennis-Hill shared the first in a series of home family workouts.

Vitality CEO Neville Koopowitz says: “In launching Vitality at Home, we wanted to ensure our members receive all the support they need to adjust to this new life and way of working and are able to keep active, whilst also ensuring their Vitality status remains protected.”

The company is also introducing options for customer in lockdown, introducing home health checks and a new reward that gives members up to two movies on demand at home each week for staying active and earning points, through Rakuten TV. Plus it is boosting its partnership with Waitrose to include a 25% discount on healthy food.

M&S redesigns ‘Count on Us’ range

M&S’s has redesigned its low calorie food range ‘Count on Us’ as it looks to counter declining interest in traditional calorie counting.

The work, created by Elmwood, includes new packaging focused on taste over calories with bright colours and more emotional branding that still resonates with health conscious consumers.

M&S launched the low calorie range in late 2019, as an array of other weight loss tools and practices evolved. However, many consumers now see calorie control as out-dated and less relevant and the range was losing appeal.

This culminated in a rebrand which also includes a change in tagline which now reads ‘bring flavour to life’ in order to attract a wider range of healthy shoppers.

Tuesday, 1 April

Tesco social distancing

Supermarket sales surge 20.5% amid coronavirus crisis

Sales at UK supermarkets surged by 20.5% over the past four weeks, with consumers making 79 million extra shopping trips as the Covid-19 pandemic took hold.

During the week ending 21 March alone supermarket weekly sales grew by 43%, according to new data from Nielsen. While stockpiling is thought to be continuing, the analysis suggests than in the four weeks to 21 March, shoppers typically added just one extra item to their basket during each shopping trip. As a result, the average shopping basket increased from 10 to 11 items and average basket spend rose from £15 to £16.

However, in total shoppers made three additional shopping trips during this period, which equates to 79 million more shopping trips compared to the same time last year and an extra £1.9bn spent on groceries.

During the last week of February and the first week of March, shoppers focused on ‘stockpiling’ necessities, such as medicines, cleaning supplies, household and pet care items and ambient groceries. The Nielsen data suggests this buying pattern continued through to the third week, with a consistent rise in these ‘pandemic pantry’ items.

However, by the week ending 21 March, shoppers began to prepare for the ‘lockdown’ by buying frozen food, sales of which rose by 84% compared to the same period last year. The announcement of the lockdown also meant the closure of pubs and restaurants, which sparked a 67% surge in beer, wine and spirits sales.

Online grocery sales rose by 14% in the four-week period, with two in 10 households shopping online. According to Nielsen, this represents 600,000 new households shopping online compared to the same period last year, with an additional 1.2 million online grocery orders placed over the four weeks.

“With households making almost three extra shopping trips in the last four weeks, this small change in individual shopping behaviour has led to a seismic shift in overall shopping patterns,” says Nielsen UK head of retailer and business insight, Mike Watkins.

“As well as increased store visits, consumers opted to shop online – many for the first time. However, unlike stores there is a finite capacity for online grocery shopping, due to warehouse capacity and available delivery slots, and this will have limited the growth of online sales.”

Airbnb pays out $250m to hosts as Covid-19 repercussions continue

Airbnb will pay $250m (£201m) to hosts for two and a half months of reservations cancelled due to the Covid-19 epidemic following a backlash.

After hosts complained that guests were being fully refunded for cancelled trips due to the coronavirus, Airbnb chief executive Brian Chesky said they would receive 25% of their normal cancellation fee for stays booked between March 14 and May 31, if the booking was made on or before March 14.

In an email Chesky wrote: “We have heard from you and we know we could have been better partners. What you need are actions from us to help, not just words.”

The news of the $250m compensation payout to hosts comes just a day after Airbnb announced it was suspending all its marketing activity in a bid to save $800m (£645m) in 2020. The company’s co-founders have also said they will not take a salary for the next six months and executives have taken a 50% pay cut.

This summer the accommodation company was due to kick off its first major global sponsorship deal with the Olympic Games, set to run until 2028. However, last week the Olympic and Paralympic Games were postponed until 2021, leaving Airbnb in limbo.

READ MORE: Airbnb to pay $250m to hosts losing out to Covid-19 cancellations

Facebook commits $100m to supporting local news

Facebook will invest $100m (£80.7m) in local news as the Covid-19 outbreak continues. The investment will be split between $25m (£20.2m) in emergency grants and a $75m (£60.5m) marketing drive aimed at newspapers.

Positioned as a decision to “move money over” to news organisations at a time when “journalism is needed more than ever”, the initial grants have been gifted to 50 local newsrooms in the US and Canada, while the additional marketing spend will be global.

Facebook says it wants to fund journalists covering important stories around the coronavirus pandemic and will “direct a portion of these funds to publishers most in need in the hardest hit countries.”

“If people needed more proof that local journalism is a vital public service, they’re getting it now,” says Facebook’s vice president of global news partnerships, Campbell Brown.

“And while almost all businesses are facing adverse financial effects from this crisis, we recognize we’re in a more privileged position than most, and we want to help.”

In January 2019, Facebook pledged to invest more than $300m (£242m) in news programmes, partnerships and content over a three year period.

READ MORE: Facebook says it will spend $100 million to help local news outlets survive the economic impact of coronavirus

Coca-Cola and Unilever under fire for ‘plastic pollution footprint’

Coca-ColaCoca-Cola, PepsiCo, Nestlé and Unilever are allegedly responsible for more than half a million tonnes of plastic pollution in six developing countries each year, according to a new report.

The pollution created is enough to cover 83 football pitches each day, says the NGO Tearfund, which calculated the greenhouse gas emissions produced by the open burning of plastic bottles, sachets and cartons manufactured by the four companies across China, India, the Philippines, Brazil, Mexico and Nigeria.

Tearfund estimates that the burning of plastic packaging sold by Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Nestlé and Unilever creates 4.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent – the same as the emissions from 2 million cars. The sachets, bottles and cartons sold in China, India, the Philippines, Brazil, Mexico and Nigeria often end up being burned or dumped.

Tearfund alleges that the four companies make little or no mention of emissions from disposal of their products or packaging in their climate change commitments.

“These companies continue to sell billions of products in single-use bottles, sachets and packets in developing countries,” Tearfund states in the report.

“And they do this despite knowing that: waste isn’t properly managed in these contexts; their packaging therefore becomes pollution; and such pollution causes serious harm to the environment and people’s health. Such actions – with such knowledge – are morally indefensible.”

READ MORE: Report reveals ‘massive plastic pollution footprint’ of drinks firms

The FA encourages football fans to stay at home

Football staying home The Football Association (FA) has launched a campaign encouraging England fans to stay at home during the coronavirus outbreak.

The ‘Football’s Staying Home’ campaign, which was launched by England captains Harry Kane and Steph Houghton, features content promoting physical and mental wellbeing. Running across England’s digital channels, the campaign is also designed to offer “hope, entertainment and togetherness” at this time of crisis.

The content will bring together past and present players and experts from England’s headquarters at St. George’s Park. Fans and players are being asked to share their own content using the hashtag #FootballsStayingHome and the best posts will be featured on The FA’s online hub.

The association will also be broadcasting classic Emirates FA Cup and Barclays FA Women’s Super League matches across its social channels and The FA Player every Sunday.

Monday, 30 March

Airbnb halts marketing activity as coronavirus impact bites

Airbnb has suspended all its marketing activities in a move that will save it $800m a year, while its founders will take no salary for the next six months and top execs will take a 50% pay cut, as it looks to mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on the business.

A report from Reuters says the home rental company has also paused hiring in all but the most critical roles. Employees are also highly unlikely to receive a bonus this year.

A separate report from The Information claims Airbnb has not ruled out layoffs as it copes with a precipitous fall in bookings.

“Airbnb is resilient and built to withstand tough times and we’re doing all we can to strengthen our community and our company,” says the company.

READ MORE: Airbnb suspends marketing to save $800 million, top executives take pay cut

Budweiser launches gift card scheme to help pubs during the Covid-19 pandemic

Budweiser has launched a £1m campaign encouraging people to buy a gift card to spend at their local pub as it tries to help the sector, which has been badly affected by pub closures during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Save Pub Life scheme aims to help the almost 40,000 pubs and bars that have closed in response to government measures to improve social distancing and slow the spread of the virus. There are concerns that some of these businesses will not be able to reopen.

The scheme is open to all pubs in England, Wales and Scotland. Consumers can purchase a gift card from SavePubLife.com, with Budweiser Brewing Group (which owns brands including Budweiser) matching the value of the gift card up to £1m. Customers can also email their local pub suggesting it join up.

Budweiser Brewing Group president Paula Lindenberg says: “We know that Brits are passionate about pubs, so we have launched our Save Pub Life programme to help them support their local during this time.

“As a champion of Britain’s iconic beer culture, Budweiser Brewing Group is proud to match the funds for the pub, providing an even greater level of support for the trade. We hope that pubs and pub-goers throughout the country get involved to help secure the future of the industry.”

UK telecoms firms launch joint campaign to highlight work to keep UK connected

Part of the campaign that appeared in press this weekend

The UK’s biggest telecoms companies have launched a joint campaign to highlight the work they and their staff are doing to ensure the UK stays connected during the coronavirus outbreak.

The ad, which will appear in national and regional newspapers, is supported by BT, EE, GiffGaff, O2, Ofcom, Openreach, Plusnet, TalkTalk, Tesco Mobile, Three, Virgin Media and Vodafone, as well as regulator Ofcom. It expresses their commitment to keeping the UK connected and asks for consumer understanding over the time it might take to respond to queries.

It also includes some tips and guidance to help people get the most out of their services.

It follows a campaign from Ofcom, ‘Stay Connected’ that included advice on how best to manage broadband and mobile connections.

Telecoms companies have also agreed with Ofcom and the department for culture, media and sport to support and protect vulnerable consumers and those who might become vulnerable due to the pandemic.

Morrisons invests £10m to help restock UK food banks

Morrisons is to distribute £10m worth of food to help restock the UK’s food banks amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The supermarket chain is the largest fresh foodmaker in the UK. It will run its bakery, egg, and fruit and vegetable packing site for an extra hour every day to make, prepare and pack food for food banks.

It will also send deliveries of ambient food such as canned goods and pasta to its stores to distribute to local food banks. Plus, it will make it easier for customers to donate to food banks by raising purchase limits on from items from three to four and creating local drop-off points and donation hubs in cafes.

Morrisons CEO David Potts says: “As a food maker and shopkeeper we are uniquely placed to help. We know food banks are finding life very difficult and running our manufacturing sites for an extra hour each day to help restock them is the right decision at this time.

“The core purpose of all 96,537 colleagues at Morrisons is to play our full part in feeding the nation. #ItsMoreThanOurJob.”

Elsewhere, French fashion house Chanel is to start manufacturing protective gear for frontline healthcare workers. It will use its factories to produce masks and gowns once prototype are approved by the French authorities.

Plus, Deliveroo has pledged to deliver 500,000 free meals to NHS workers by providing them to NHS trusts, with customers also able to donate funds to buy food for doctors and nurses through the app.

Government launches unit to crackdown on misinformation about coronavirus on social media

The UK government has created a rapid response unit that will work with social media firms to remove misinformation and harmful content about the coronavirus outbreak.

Culture secretary Oliver Dowden says action is needed to “stem the spread of falsehoods and rumours, which could cost lives”. The unit is already dealing with as many as 10 incidents a day.

The team plans to tackle a range of issues including “experts” issuing false medical information and criminals running phishing scams.

The government is also re-launching a campaign called ‘Don’t Feed the Beast’ that urges the public to think carefully about what they share online.


Dowden says: “We need people to follow expert medical advice and stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.

“It is vital that this message hits home and that misinformation and disinformation which undermines it is knocked down quickly.”

Social media companies are already working with the government to curb fake news.

READ MORE: Fake news crackdown by UK government



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