John Lewis scraps overseas deliveries in strategy shift
John Lewis has scrapped overseas deliveries, with the brand saying the move is part of its new strategy to focus on the UK rather than as a result of Brexit.
Talking the BBC, a spokesperson said: “As part of our Partnership Plan for the next two years, in John Lewis we have decided to focus on areas of the business that will deliver products and services for our local UK customers. As such, we are no longer pursuing international expansion and decided to cease our online international delivery service in mid-December.”
Other retailers including Asos and Fortnum & Masons have temporarily suspended EU deliveries thanks to confusion around post-Brexit trading rules.
Fortnums says on its website, ‘We are temporarily unable to deliver to Northern Ireland or countries in the European Union’, while anyone looking to ship to France, Germany or Italy on Asos is met with the message ‘Sorry, the delivery options are currently unavailable’.
Meanwhile, Debenhams has shut its online business in Ireland.
Trump banned from Facebook ‘indefinitely’ but allowed back on Twitter
US President Donald Trump has been allowed back on Twitter after the platform banned him for 12 hours for violating its rules following the attack on the Capitol.
Trump was ordered to remove three offending tweets before the ban was lifted and was warned it would remain locked for good if they were not deleted.
He tweeted several messages on Wednesday calling the people who stormed the Capitol “patriots” and saying “we love you”.
Twitter has said it will ban Trump “permanently” if he breaks the rules again.
Facebook, meanwhile, has banned Trump from its platforms “indefinitely”, with Mark Zuckerberg saying the risks of allowing Trump to post “are simply too great”.
He said Facebook had removed Trump’s posts “because we judged that their effect – and likely their intent – would be to provoke further violence”.
LVMH complete Tiffany takeover
LVMH, the luxury giant that owns Louis Vuitton, Dior and Veuve Clicquot, has completed its acquisition of jewellery brand Tiffany after more than a year.
It is paying $15.8bn (£11.6bn) for the business, marginally less than original $16.2bn offered.
It follows a legal battle between the two luxury firms after LVMH ditched its planned takeover of the business, which in September it said could not go ahead as it had been undermined by a “succession of events”.
LVMH is now expected to review all aspects of the business, including Tiffany’s online strategy and store portfolio, as it looks to revive the brand, which is credited for inventing the modern engagement ring.
Analysts have suggested it will begin by raising its profile among younger consumers and China.
LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault says he is “optimistic about Tiffany’s ability to accelerate its growth”.
Anthony Ledru, who has worked at Cartier and is the former boss of Louis Vuitton, will become Tiffany’s CEO with immediate effect. Arnault’s son Alexandre has been names executive vice-president for product and communication.
Macmillan urges the public to ‘see us differently’ in new campaign
Macmillan Cancer Support has launched a campaign to show the “grit and determination” of its workers – as well as their caring side – in a new direction for the charity.
‘Whatever It Takes’ positions Macmillan Cancer Support as compassionate warriors and highlights the role it plays in the battle to secure and deliver care and support for people living with cancer.
The campaign, which has been created by AMV BBDO, will feature a hero film called ‘Tender Yet Tough’ and will run on TV, digital, social and radio. The TV ad will premier on Saturday night on ITV during The Voice.
Around 50,000 people in the UK are missing a cancer diagnosis as a result of Covid, which could double by this time next year if cancer referrals and screenings continue to be missed.
Every aspect of the campaign will feature a call for donations as funding has been severely impacted during the pandemic, and represents 98% of the charity’s income.
The change in direction comes as research by AMV found people are most likely to support and donate to charities that are seen as dynamic and effective.
Macmillan Cancer Support’s director of brand and communications, Emma Guise, says: “This new campaign with AMV brings to life our unique spirit by showcasing not just what Macmillan do, but how we do it – the kindness and compassion that we bring along with the grit and determination needed to ensure we can do whatever it takes for people with cancer. We hope this campaign will help the public see us differently and make us more relevant to them, so we can help all the people who need us right now and in the future.”
Three secures multimillion pound deal to sponsor Gogglebox
Mobile network Three has signed a two-year, multimillion pound deal to sponsor Channel 4’s Gogglebox as it looks to “drive positive brand association with a mainstream audience”.
Three will sponsor the soon-to-launch new series of the hit show as well as all repeats on Channel 4, E4 and All 4. The partnership will also include social content on Channel 4’s Facebook page.
The most recent series of Gogglebox was Channel 4’s second highest rating title last year, with the latest series of the show attracting an average consolidated audience of 5.8 million viewers per episode and a 25% share of the viewing audience.
Three’s director of marketing for UK and Ireland, Aislinn O’Connor, says: “We are always looking for ways to drive consideration and growth of the Three brand. Gogglebox is one of the UK’s favourite shows and it was the perfect opportunity to drive positive brand association with a mainstream audience on a consistent basis. It will be a great platform for us to activate against in innovative ways.”
The Gogglebox sponsorship follows Three’s tie-up with Chelsea FC, which began last July.
Thursday, 7 January
Brands pull ads from news coverage of attempted US ‘coup’
Major brands have paused their TV campaigns in the US, asking agencies to pull ads from news programmes covering the attack on the Capitol in Washington DC. Business Insider reports that some brands are also pulling ads from social media and digital news sites.
Fox News stopped airing commercials at all during its coverage of the storming of the political hub by supporters of outgoing President Donald Trump.
The trend has raised questions about what will happen to new campaigns that are set to air on January 20, the inauguration day for President Elect Joe Biden.
Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that Twitter and Facebook have locked the accounts of President Trump, after he published inflammatory messages during the crisis.
“Our public interest policy – which has guided our enforcement action in this area for years – ends where we believe the risk of harm is higher,” said a Twitter spokesman.
New British Army campaign tackles fear of failure
Potential recruits to the British Army are being encouraged to ‘Fail. Learn. Win’ by the organisation’s latest campaign.
The recruitment drive seeks to show that failure can have positive outcomes, rather than being a reason to quit. According to research conducted by the Army, 82% of young people don’t achieve goals because of their fear of failure, while 76% feel held back by it.
The campaign is the fifth iteration of the ‘This is Belonging’ series, developed by Karmarama. It will feature on TV, radio, online and social media, showing soldiers as they leave behind their failures.
“We hope the campaign will lead to potential applicants seeing the Army as a supportive place where they can fail, learn and win as part of a continually uplifting team to become the best version of themselves,” says Nick Terry, chief marketing officer of the recruiting group (Capita and British Army).
The new campaign will look to build on the success of the 2020 recruitment drive, which four days after launch had broken the record for the highest number of applications received in a single day.
Amazon named favourite brand among UK consumers
Amazon was the favourite brand of UK consumers in 2020, according to research from the Data & Marketing Association (DMA), which alos identified a growing trend of consumers feeling insufficiently loyal to any brand to be able to choose a favourite.
Amazon secured the number one spot in the study, with mentions from 15% of consumers. It was followed by John Lewis and Sainsbury’s (both 4%) and Tesco (3%). The results are similar to those from the DMA’s 2018 study.
The latest study finds that consumer loyalty to Amazon is almost as likely to be driven by convenience as it is by any other connection. More than a third of consumers (35%) report that they don’t feel loyal enough to any brand to consider it their favourite. Some 33% felt this way in 2018.
“Despite consumers’ heavy reliance on Amazon’s services during 2020’s nationwide lockdowns, it has not gained significant traction with customers over the last two years,” says DMA head of insight Tim Bond.
“Coronavirus has led to an increasing number of consumers relying on brands like Amazon for key services but their appears to be driven by necessity and not entirely preference.”
McDonald’s pauses walk-in takeaway service in safety review
McDonald’s has paused walk-in takeaway services temporarily as it reviews additional safety measures in light of the UK’s latest Covid-19 lockdown.
Drive through and delivery services will still be available from the fast food chain, while rivals are continue to offer walk-in services.
McDonald’s UK and Ireland chief executive, Paul Pomroy, told the BBC that an independent health and safety body would be reviewing safety measures at the chain’s 1,300 sites.
Quaker Oats tells consumers to have 2021 for breakfast
Porridge brand Quaker Oats encouraging consumers to ‘Have 2021 for Breakfast’ with its latest multichannel campaign.
Launching this month with on-pack promotions, the campaign will seek to inject some much-needed cheer into the start of the day after a difficult year. Thousands of prizes will be available for customers to win, including home experiences, staycations and outdoor activities.
“2021 is set to be a new chapter for many – it signifies a fresh start,” says Quaker Oats senior brand manager, Danielle Mendham. “UK consumers have spent the last year re-evaluating exactly what is important to them in life and Quaker can provide the proper breakfast they need to set them up for a new day and a new year.”
Four promotional pack designs are being rolled out to showcase the breadth of experiences that can be won in the promotion, with winners able to pick between at home and outdoor options. Multichannel support will seek to ensure that the campaign is hard to miss, with in-store, social, video-on-demand and influencer activity bolstered by the return of the brand’s ‘Go Forridge’ TV ad.
Wednesday, 6 January
Greggs bets on delivery to mitigate ‘enormous’ impact of Covid-19
Coronavirus restrictions continue to take a toll on Greggs, which saw fourth quarter sales dip to £293m from £344m during the same period in 2019.
While trading in December was initially more robust for the food-to-go business, supported by the reopening of non-essential retail, the introduction of tighter restrictions has put pressure on sales. In the five weeks to 2 January, like-for-like sales in company managed (non-franchisee) outlets averaged 85.7% of sales during the same period in 2019.
Greggs is betting on the success of its delivery partnership with Just Eat and for continued “strong sales” through its tie-up with Iceland, which offers products for home baking. During the fourth quarter, delivery represented 5.5% of Greggs’s company-managed shop sales. Some 600 outlets now provide delivery services via Just Eat, which is expected to increase to 800 sites this year.
“Whilst the impact of Covid-19 has been enormous, we have established working practices that allow us to provide takeaway food services under the different levels of restrictions we have experienced,” says chief executive, Roger Whiteside
“The breadth of Greggs’s customer base provides ongoing demand for our services which, combined with our diverse geographical spread, has demonstrated the resilience of our business.”
Greggs has resumed the opening of new outlets where it sees “good opportunities”, with sites that can be accessed by car performing particularly well. During the 2020 financial year the business opened 84 new sites and closed 56, taking the estate to 2,078 outlets nationwide as of 2 January, 328 of which are franchised.
However, due to “below-normal activity levels” Greggs was forced to make 820 redundancies during the fourth quarter. The company says that given the “significant uncertainty” over the duration of social restrictions and higher unemployment levels, it does not expect profits to return to pre-Covid levels until 2022 at the earliest.
“In light of the recent Government announcements significant uncertainties remain in the near-term. We have taken action to position Greggs to withstand further short-term shocks and are optimistic about our prospects for growth once social restrictions are lifted,” Whiteside adds.
M&S eyes acquisition of Jaeger
Marks & Spencer is poised to buy premium fashion label Jaeger, which fell into administration in November along with the rest of the Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group.
According to Sky News, the deal would include Jaeger’s brand and stock, but not its standalone stores, which have remained closed since England entered its second national lockdown in November.
The acquisition of Jaeger would fit with M&S’s wider ambitions to stock a range of clothing brands. Last year the retailer started selling sustainable fashion label Nobody’s Child online and attempted to buy the UK arm of lingerie brand Victoria’s Secret, before losing out to Next.
YouTube reverses decision to ban TalkRadio
YouTube has reversed its decision to ban TalkRadio, just hours after confirming the radio station’s channel had been “terminated” amid claims it posted material contradicting expert advice on the pandemic.
In a statement, YouTube explained the TalkRadio YouTube channel was “briefly suspended” as a result of the platform’s policy to remove any content deemed to “explicitly contradict” expert consensus from local health authorities or the World Health Organisation regarding Covid-19.
In the case of TalkRadio, the channel was reinstated as YouTube makes exceptions for material posted with an “educational, documentary, scientific or artistic purpose, as was deemed in this case”.
While TalkRadio welcomed the decision to reinstate its channel, the radio station initially claimed that its ban amounted to “censorship of free speech and legitimate national debate” and accused YouTube of making decisions about which opinions the public are allowed to hear, which it alleged set a “dangerous precedent”.
However, independent fact checking organisations, such as Full Fact, have challenged claims made by some TalkRadio interviewees regarding the coronavirus pandemic.
P&G takeover of beauty startup Billie blocked
Proctor & Gamble’s proposed acquisition of DTC beauty startup Billie has been blocked by the US Federal Trade Commission following claims the deal would harm competition in the wet shave razor market.
In a joint statement P&G and Billie said they were “disappointed” by the ruling and while they believe there is still “exciting potential” in bringing together the two companies to serve consumers worldwide, both parties do not want to enter a prolonged legal challenge.
A favourite of Gen Z consumers, Billie has been praised for depicting women with body hair in its marketing and adopting a competitive price point in opposition to the so-called ‘pink tax’, which sees women’s products such as razors sold at higher prices than similar items targeted at men. The brand has since branched out from razors, offering a range of free-from chemicals beauty products such as lip balms and body lotions.
While Billie’s DTC business model is focused on online sales and razor blade subscriptions, the company had reportedly been planning to open standalone stores.
In a statement, the FTC said P&G’s decision to abandon the acquisition was “good news for consumers who value low prices, quality and innovation”.
Unilever commits £170,000 to grassroots organisations fighting racism
Unilever plans to donate £170,000 to grassroots organisations fighting racism via the Crown Fund UK, an initiative set up by the FMCG giant to stop discrimination around black hairstyles and texture.
Already a signatory of the Halo Code, which tackles hair discrimination in the workplace, Unilever will offer grants of £20,000 to support organisations working to break down barriers to progress for black women and girls.
Research from the Crown Fund UK reveals the scale of the problem, with 63% of black adults having experienced hair discrimination.
Unilever is also hoping to land the message in schools through the work of the Dove Self-Esteem Project, which will see material being offered to teachers to help start conversations with pupils about hair discrimination.
Tuesday, 5 January
Morrisons posts 9.3% rise in Christmas trading as online sales triple
Morrisons’ group like-for-like sales (excluding fuel) increased by 9.3% over the key Christmas trading period as the grocer promises to “carry on listening, responding and growing” as the UK is hit by a third national lockdown.
The supermarket witnessed different shopping patterns and customer behaviour last year as a result of Covid restrictions, with people shopping earlier than in previous years and a with a greater focus on traditional Christmas fare.
Over the 22 weeks to 3 January, the supermarket’s group like-for-like sales (excluding fuel) rose by 8.1%, with retail accounting for 7.2% and wholesale 0.9%. Including fuel, sales were up 1.9%, with fuel like-for-like sales down 23.1% impacted by the various lockdowns and tier restrictions.
Online performed well thanks to the sustained increase in customer demand for services including Morrisons.com and Morrisons on Amazon, with sales more than tripling so far in Q4 across all channels year on year.
Morrisons CEO David Potts, says: “The pandemic has had a severe effect on people and communities around Britain for nine months now but it has been especially hard at Christmas time… We will carry on listening, responding and growing, and take all the positive learnings and momentum of the most challenging of years into what we believe will be a better 2021 for all.”
Unilever invests £8m in self-cleaning technology
Unilever is set to begin consumer trials of a substance derived from seaweed that it says can create self-cleaning surfaces.
Working with Innova Partnerships to market the technology, the FMCG giant, which makes Domestos and Cif, says Lactam prevents micro-organisms from forming biofilms on surfaces rather than killing bacteria and will pilot its use in cleaning products.
Unilever’s vice-president for science and technology, Jonathan Hague, told the Financial Times: “The growth of bacteria is a problem when you are pumping gas and oil, in medical catheters, malodoring shoes, bacteria spreading on banknotes, there are multiple applications in vet care. There is an enormous market this technology could be of benefit to.”
Unilever also plans to license the technology as Hague says the B2B market is much bigger than the consumer market for a product of this type.
The group has so far invested £8m in the technology.
Ladbrokes owner rebuffs £8bn takeover bid
Entain, the owner of Ladbrokes and Coral, has rejected an £8bn takeover proposal from its US partner MGM Resorts, saying it significantly undervalues the company and its prospects.
Shares in the gambling company, which owns several online betting brands and more than 3,300 high street bookmakers, rose by more than 25% yesterday morning, suggesting traders think MGM – owner of the Bellagio casino in Las Vegas – could increase its bid.
The move follows the legalisation of sports betting in the US, which has seen a number of American companies looking to benefit from UK firms’ technology and experience.
Last September, Caesars Entertainment, owner of Caesars Palace casino, agreed to buy William Hill for £2.9bn.
Next sales drop better than predicted thanks to online surge
Next says a surge in online sales has compensated for “almost all” sales lost through the closure of its retail stores as a result of lockdown restrictions during the nine weeks to 26 December.
Online sales increased by 38% while in-store sales dropped 43% resulting in full price sales falling by 1.1% compared to last year, better than the drop of 8% predicted in the retailer’s October trading statement. Next’s online customer base is up 24% compared to last year.
The retailer’s overall profit for 2020 is £370m, better than the £365m it outlined previously.
Next says it has not experienced any disruption as a result of Brexit and it does not expect it to have an impact on its ability to import or export stick in the year ahead.
Weetabix launches campaign to drive category sales
Weetabix has launched the next iteration of its ‘Have you had yours?’ campaign as it builds on its commitment to drive category sales.
The £2m campaign, which talks up the health benefits of the breakfast cereal, comes following research that 40% of the UK say they have eaten more as a result of lockdown restrictions and 80% want to make more effort to stay healthy.
The brand made its biggest marketing investment in more than a decade during the pandemic last year and plans to continue along the same trajectory in 2021.
The campaign will run across TV, video on demand (VOD), online and social platforms throughout January and February and is targeted to reach 70% of the UK population five times each. It will be supported by in-store and online retail activity that promotes the ‘Superfood’ message.
Weetabix Food Company’s head of brand Gareth Turner, says: “The new TV ad and in-store campaign kick-starts another big year for Weetabix and builds on our ongoing commitment to driving category sales.
“In 2020 we made our biggest marketing investment for more than a decade and this campaign sets Weetabix up nicely for a host of exciting activity throughout 2021, including our exclusive partnership with The Football Association.”
Monday, 4 January
Keith Weed awarded CBE
President of the Advertising Association Keith Weed has been awarded a CBE in the New Year Honours List for services to the advertising and marketing industry.
Weed, Unilever’s former CMO, is also a fellow of the Marketing Society and a regular guest contributor to Marketing Week.
His work at Unilever included overseeing a shift towards further digitisation and sustainability, including the setting up of the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan. He was appointed president of the Royal Horticultural Society in July of last year.
Weed said on Twitter he was “deeply honoured” to receive the award and that it was “very much a shared recognition with all those building more purposeful, environmentally and socially sustainable businesses” at Unilever, the Advertising Association and WPP.
Paddy Power partners ITV Racing in title sponsorship deal
Bookmaker Paddy Power has been announced as the headline sponsorship partner for ITV Racing’s live coverage, covering races across the ITV main channel and ITV4.
The partnership includes broadcast, catch-up, digital, social, podcast and licensing rights. ITV Racing’s 2021 coverage features marquee events such as the Cheltenham Festival, the Grand National and Royal Ascot.
“ITV Racing has been brilliant for the sport for the last four years and we viewed it as a natural synergy to become headline sponsor for the BAFTA Award-winning show,” says Paddy Power marketing director Michelle Spillane.
Lloyd Page leaves MoneySuperMarket
MoneySuperMarket (MSM) CMO Lloyd Page is to leave the price-comparison web-based service after two years in the job.
Page, who is a former director of brand and brand communications at Virgin Media, is yet to reveal what his next move will be.
He posted on social media: “It’s time for me to move on from MoneySuperMarket. A huge thank you for all your support to so many great people, past and present, inside and outside of the business.
“But special thanks to the incredible marketing team for your skill, dedication and wicked sense of humour.”
Page oversaw the return of MSM’s ‘Get Money Calm’ campaign last year, working with Engine at the onset of the first Covid-19 lockdown.
Kate Wall promoted at KFC
KFC’s Kate Wall has been promoted to strategy and innovation director at KFC UK and Ireland. The move sees Wall moving on from the role of head of advertising, retail and home delivery that she held at the brand for one year and nine months.
Wall has launched a number of successful KFC campaigns over the past year, including the 2019 ‘Chicken Town’ and ‘Christmas’ ads.
In 2020, she played a central role in KFC’s decision to temporarily drop its famous ‘finger lickin’ good’ slogan amid concerns about the spreading of the coronavirus.
Talking to Marketing Week last August, Hall said: “This year has thrown everyone – all brands – and we took a bit of a global stance that actually right now our slogan is probably the most inappropriate slogan out there, so we need to stop saying it.”
UEFA’s ‘Outraged’ film tackles discrimination
European football’s administration body UEFA has produced a film starring some of the game’s biggest names, including Paul Pogba and José Mourinho, encouraging viewers to take a stand against all forms of discrimination.
Produced by agency Shoot the Company, ‘Outraged’ will be distributed by UEFA’s partner broadcasters. Two years in the making, the documentary covers the whole of Europe, exploring attitudes towards racism, homophobia, sexism and refugee inclusion.