Business calls for swift action following Johnson’s resignation
Asda chairman Stuart Rose is calling on Boris Johnson to leave Number 10 as soon as possible, describing the situation as “unsustainable”.
Hoping for a rapid transition to the new administration, Rose characterises Johnson as a “lame duck prime minister”.
“This has been too long in happening and it is unsustainable to continue with a hamstrung, lame duck prime minister into the autumn,” Rose tells the Guardian.
“There doesn’t seem to be anybody dealing with the serious issue of the economy. This political crisis has hamstrung everything.”
Advertising Association CEO Stephen Woodford insists the new Prime Minister must recognise the “positive economic and social contribution” advertising makes in supporting businesses and jobs during difficult economic times. Woodford points to the fact every £1 spent on advertising generates £6 of GDP, with ad spend reaching a record £32bn last year.
“To best support the UK’s recovery from the pandemic and to help deal effectively with the issues we all face such as the cost of living crisis, the Advertising Association urges the government, in this transition period to a new administration, to deliver clear, consistent leadership with properly informed, evidence-based policy decisions that support jobs and sustainable growth,” Woodford adds.
IPA director general Paul Bainsfair agrees the UK needs a government which fully acknowledges the value of advertising to the economy. Referencing news of an impending government-funded campaign advising brands to refocus marketing spend, the IPA is calling on the state to heed evidence “against diverting marketing budgets to hold down prices artificially at a time of inflationary supply side costs and weakening consumer demand.”
Bainsfair says the country needs a Prime Minister and government that can provide “stability, a long-term strategic vision and calm stewardship” to lead the nation through the current volatility and return UK plc to growth.
“Having welcomed 10 culture secretaries over the past 10 years, our industry urgently requires stability too in order to be able to fully engage with the evidence on the topics that matter to business and society,” he adds.
“There are a number of chunky issues already in their inbox including the planned privatisation of Channel 4, impending HFSS legislation, the gambling review whitepaper, as well as the online harms bill.”
Elsewhere, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, Shevaun Haviland, told the Guardian she hopes Johnson’s resignation will “finally bring this chapter of political instability to an end.”
Haviland believes swift action is needed to help business: “We’re on limited time and the government must reset, rethink and get their house in order and swiftly demonstrate that it is on the side of business if confidence is to be restored.”
Musk deal in ‘jeopardy’ as Twitter admits suspending 1 million fake accounts a day
Twitter suspends more than 1 million spam accounts daily, up on the 500,000 figure shared by chief executive Parag Agrawal in May.
The social media giant has been under pressure to reveal the scale of fake accounts in order to save its $44bn (£37bn) takeover from Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who put the deal on hold in May to examine this issue.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the acquisition is in “serious jeopardy”, after Musk’s team concluded Twitter’s details on fake accounts cannot be verified. The Tesla CEO’s representatives are said to have “stopped engaging” in certain discussions, with talks said to have “cooled” in recent weeks.
Since 2014, Twitter has estimated spam accounts represent less than 5% of its daily active users. However, with almost 230 million daily active users Musk believes this figure could be much higher. The newly confirmed 1 million figure takes into account users removed before joining the platform for failing to pass human verification tests such as phone verification, the Guardian reports.
Tweeting back in May, Agrawal explained that the 5% estimate is based on multiple human reviews of thousands of accounts, sampled at random over time, from accounts Twitter does recognise as monthly daily active users.
Admitting the system isn’t perfect, Agrawal added that the “hard challenge” is many accounts which look fake superficially are actually real people, adding: “Some of the spam accounts which are actually the most dangerous – and cause the most harm to our users – can look totally legitimate on the surface.”
Ban on gambling shirt sponsorships paused
The Premier League is pausing a vote to ban shirt sponsorships from gambling brands following the resignation of gambling minister, Chris Philp.
According to Sky News, the Premier League emailed clubs to inform them the deadline to give their backing for the proposals had been scrapped, following the departure of Philp in a round of resignations which forced Prime Minister Boris Johnson to resign. The proposals will now be discussed at a shareholder meeting on 26 July.
Last week, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport said it was undertaking the “most comprehensive review of gambling laws in 15 years” to ensure they work for the digital age, with a whitepaper on gambling legislation originally expected in the coming weeks.
The initial idea had been to drop front-of-shirt sponsorship deals with gambling brands over the next three to five years, to help Premier League clubs “avoid a cliff-edge” situation of money disappearing from the gambling sector. The suggestion was betting companies would still be given the option to sponsor the sleeves of football kits, which have less exposure and therefore are considered “less valuable”.
For the voluntary ban to come into place Premier League rules require approval from a minimum of 14 clubs. The issue of banning shirt sponsorships from gambling companies is a contentious one, given close to half of top-flight clubs were sponsored by a betting brand last season.
Nike celebrates Euro 2022 with call for ‘greater investment’ in women’s sport
Nike is looking to celebrate the “outrageous confidence and skill” in women’s football with its new campaign for Euro 2022.
Developed by Wieden+Kennedy London, ‘Never Settle, Never Done’ features Lionesses captain Leah Williamson, France’s Marie-Antoinette Katoto, Spain’s Alexia Putellas, Norway’s Ada Hegerberg, Sweden’s Magda Eriksson and Denmark’s Pernille Harder, as well as freestyler Rocky Hehakaija and girls from grassroots teams across Europe. The film intends to showcase the “speed, technical ability and sheer quality” in the women’s game.
Nike describes celebrating athletes and the women’s game today, whilst working for changes to drive the sport forward, as not being “mutually exclusive concepts.” The sportswear giant believes the fact investment, media coverage and crowds are at record levels, and female participation at grassroots level is higher than ever before, are achievements that “cannot be overlooked or diminished.”
However, Nike adds that “basking in the glory of the heights the game has reached cannot create complacency”. The company is, therefore, calling for more opportunities for women in football, greater investment and access at all levels, coupled with greater visibility for the sport through media coverage.
The sportswear giant points to its own partnership with Grenfell Athletic FC to create a women’s arm of the club in 2021, which will play its first competitive fixtures this year. Recognising this summer as a “high watermark for women’s football”, Nike argues everyone invested in the sport should want this to be the “highest mark so far.”
New marketing course seeks to plug ‘serious skills gap’
The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) Academy and Cranfield University have teamed up on a new marketing qualification aimed at plugging the “serious skills gap” at a senior marketer level.
The joint Master of Science (MSc) in Marketing and Leadership is a part-time programme running over 26 months, delivered in two parts. The idea is to blend academic theory, commercial insights and practical application, with learners receiving both the MSc and CIM Marketing Leadership Programme qualifications.
Apprenticeship Levy funding of £14,000 can be used to fund part one of the programme, with an additional £5,000 required to fund part two. In part one, the senior leader apprenticeship, participants will gain an understanding of general management functions, specialist and strategic marketing disciplines. In part two, participants will complete a “significant work-based project” within their organisation.
The programme was developed following various research projects undertaken by CIM with more than 1,200 marketing professionals, which revealed a “serious skills gap at a senior marketer level.”
Director of CIM Academy, James Sutton believes such research should “act as a wake-up call” for organisations across all sectors.
“With consumer requirements changing, and marketing technologies and social media platforms continuing to innovate at pace – the range of skills expected from management and senior marketing professionals will continue to expand. There is a real risk of senior personnel being left behind,” he adds.
Ad agency Oliver and its parent company the Inside Ideas Group (IIG) are poised to offer the qualification to employees via an in-house version of the programme tailored to the business. Both organisations will invest £19,000 per student in the programme, with some of the cost covered by the Apprenticeship Levy.
Other companies have until 7 November to submit their expression of interest.
Thursday, 7 July
British Airways cancels another 10,300 flights
British Airways has cancelled another 10,300 flights that were due to run between August and late October of this year. This brings the total number of flights to have been removed from the airline’s schedule between April and October 2022 to 30,000.
“The whole aviation industry continues to face into significant challenges and we’re completely focused on building resilience into our operation to give customers the certainty they deserve,” BA says.
Short-haul flights, and those going from London Gatwick, Heathrow and City are particularly affected by the cancellations.
BA has made the announcement before an amnesty deadline on Friday. Until Friday the amnesty given by the Department for Transport allows airlines to hand back any airport slots in the summer season that they are not confident they will be able to operate. The intention of this amnesty is to reduce the amount of disruption and late-notice cancellations.
Budget airline Ryanair released a statement criticising this move saying it was handed out for the sake of other airlines who failed to adequately prepare for travel post-Covid.
“These slot waivers will lead to fewer flights and reduced connectivity, which will ultimately harm competition and lead to higher fares for hard-pressed UK consumers,” it said.
EasyJet has also cancelled around 10,000 flights between July and September this year, as staff shortages across airlines mean they are struggling to keep up with demand. Consumer group Which? says it has reported EasyJet to the Civil Aviation Authority, asking it to investigate the airline’s treatment of passengers who have their flights cancelled.
Currys warns of lower profits but doubles down on price promises
Currys is pledging to support consumers through the cost of living crisis by maintaining and extending its price promises.
The pledge comes as the electrical retailer reports what it calls a “strong” set of results for the full year ended 30 April 2022. Its adjusted EBIT margins rose to 2.7%, compared to 2.5% the previous year. In the UK and Ireland it also saw a 61% increase in store sales as consumers returned to physical shopping after the pandemic.
However, overall sales in the UK and Ireland were down 4% on a like-for-like basis compared to a “very strong 2020/21”.
Looking to the year ahead, Currys says it is taking a “prudent” view, given the uncertain outlook for consumer spending. While it says forecasting for the year ahead is difficult, the group currently forecasts its adjusted profit before tax (PBT) to be between £130-150m. This would be a decrease from this year where the retailer reported adjusted PBT of £186m.
Currys’ group CEO Alex Baldock says the business will maintain and extend its price initiatives to “help customers through the cost of living crisis”. These initiatives include Currys’ “won’t get it cheaper. Full stop” price pledge. The retailer is also introducing a price freeze on dozens of its products, in addition to a “12 month Pay Delay” on every purchase over £99, which it says will allow consumers to “spread the cost” of purchases.
“Our scale as an international market leader, our grip on costs and our strong relationships with suppliers will allow us to manage inflationary headwinds and keep amazing technology within reach of everyone, even now,” says Baldock.
Amazon investigated for alleged anti-competitive practices
Amazon is under investigation in the UK for practices that may work anti-competitively to benefit its own retail services or those who use its services, compared to third-party sellers on the Amazon Marketplace.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is looking at how Amazon decides the criteria for selling items under its Prime label and how it’s using third-party seller data.
The investigation will also look at how Amazon decides which suppliers are given preferred first choice in the “Buy Box”, a section displayed prominently on Amazon’s product pages. Being placed in the box provides customers with one-click options to “Buy Now” or “Add to Basket”.
“Any loss of competition is a loss to consumers and could lead to them paying more for products, being offered lower quality items or having less choice,” says CMA general counsel Sarah Cardell.
The tech giant insists that it has “always worked hard to help small businesses selling on Amazon to succeed”.
The CMA already has an ongoing open investigation into Amazon, as well as Google. This is looking at concerns that five-star reviews on their websites could be misleading shoppers.
Morrisons launches lower environmental impact store
Morrisons is today (7 July) launching a store that uses 43% less carbon, stocks 366 loose products and that will be almost zero waste.
The lower environmental impact store will be opened in Little Clacton, Essex, and has four times the number of locally sourced products compared to regular stores, as well as increased biodiversity schemes and community hours.
The supermarket chain says the initiatives in-store are not “one-offs” and have the potential to be scaled up and introduced across Morrisons’ stores. The store was built from scratch and recycled 99% of materials from the old Little Clacton store in the new build.
The innovations inside the new building include fridges powered by CO2 from agricultural waste, roof solar panels to provide a fifth of energy, rainwater harvesting for toilet flushing, a near zero waste back-of-house system, and facilities to recycle customers’ waste.
Morrisons CEO David Potts says this will not be the last lower environmental impact store opened by the supermarket chain.
“This store is a significant step forward on our sustainability journey. It brings together all of the environmental and social initiatives we have created that can be rolled out into other stores across the country. It will start to inform the design of many more similar stores to come,” he says.
Bodyform launches #Periodsomnia campaign
Bodyform has launched a new campaign to tackle ‘periodsomnia’, the phenomenon of not being able to sleep due to being on your period.
Research from the brand finds that over six in 10 (62%) women report sleeping worse on their periods. A similar proportion of the 10,000 women surveyed report that they don’t enjoy staying over at others’ homes or going on holiday during their period.
Bodyform’s new campaign seeks to dispel the “sleeping beauty” myth, that periods are somehow put on pause when the person sleeps. The campaign was created with AMV BBDO, and is led by a film created by Kim Gehrig. The film mixes live action, animation and thermal imagery to illustrate the fact that periods never sleep.
The brand, which is owned by Essity, has a history of tackling taboos in its marketing. This work has included being the first brand to show period blood in its campaign #Bloodnormal, and showcasing the diversity of vulvas in “Viva la Vulva”. Gehrig also directed the Viva la Vulva film.
“For years, society, brands and advertising have presented images of peaceful, restorative sleep, even for those who are menstruating. The reality shown through #Periodsomnia is that it can be more chaotic for some women,” says Essity femcare global marketing and communications director, Tanja Grubner.
“By revealing these universal truths, we tackle the invisibility around the realities of nights spent menstruating to reassure women that what they go through is completely normal and that they’re not alone in their experiences.”
The brand has also launched its Goodnight Towels product, designed to be better suited to when the wearer is lying down, making nights with periods that bit easier.
Wednesday, 6 July
Mars Petcare pauses Tesco supply in latest price disagreement
Mars Petcare is halting its supply of brands including Whiskas, Pedigree and Dreamies to Tesco in the supermarket’s latest dispute over price rises.
Supply of Mars’ chocolate and confectionary products is not effected by the row, the Guardian reports.
Mars is the second company to have paused supply of its products to Tesco due to a disagreement around prices, with FMCG giant Kraft Heinz also holding back supply of Heinz baked beans, ketchup, soups and other products from the grocer.
A Tesco spokesperson has reiterated that the supermarket “will not pass on unjustifiable price increases to our customers” amid inflation and the cost of living crisis.
“We’re sorry that this means some products aren’t available right now, but we have plenty of alternatives to choose from and we hope to have this issue resolved soon,” they said.
Meanwhile, a Mars spokesperson reassured pet owners that the company’s products are still “widely available” across the UK.
Ben & Jerry’s sues Unilever over sale of Israeli business
Ben & Jerry’s has sued parent company Unilever over the sale of its business in Israel, arguing the deal threatens to undermine the integrity of its brand.
The complaint was filed in the US district court in Manhattan, the Guardian reports, stating that an injunction against transferring the business and related trademarks to Israel-based licensee American Quality Products (AQP) was necessary to “protect the brand and social integrity Ben & Jerry’s has spend decades building”.
The ice cream brand was acquired by Unilever in 2000, but as part of the acquisition agreement has always been allowed to make its own decisions around its social mission. However, Unilever reserved primary responsibility for financial and operational decisions.
In July 2021, Ben & Jerry’s said continuing to sell its products in the West Bank would be “inconsistent” with its values. The brand faced considerable backlash from within Israel, with foreign minister Yair Lapid blasting the move as a “shameful capitulation to antisemitism”.
Last week, a year since the decision to withdraw from the West Bank was made, Unilever announced it had sold Ben & Jerry’s Israeli business to Avi Zinger, owner of AQP. The brand is to be sold under its Hebrew and Arabic names through Israel and the West Bank under the full ownership of AQP, with the same flavours and similar artwork.
Earlier this year Unilever highlighted the superior growth of purpose-driven brands Ben & Jerry’s, Hellmann’s and Dove in its full year results for 2021, following accusations the business had “lost the plot” with its focus on brand purpose and sustainability.
Ben & Jerry’s grew 9% over the year, one of the group’s “key performances”.
PepsiCo unveils partnership to support female football coaches ahead of Euros
FMCG giant PepsiCo is partnering with Women in Football to sponsor 45 aspiring female coaches on the Football Association (FA)’s ‘Introduction to Coaching’ course.
According to the Female Coaching Network, 72% of head coaches in women’s football are men, and no Premier League side currently has a female coach as part of its men’s first team staff. Two-thirds (66%) of women in the industry have experienced gender discrimination on at least one occasion, the research reveals.
In addition to coaching courses, the partnership will give the chosen female coaches access to group training sessions and networking opportunities. Nominations for the FA course are open to all women 18 or over with a passion for coaching across the UK.
The partnership also aims to educate PepsiCo’s 4,500 employees in the UK about female participation and leadership in football through a series of courses, conferences and volunteering opportunities.
The company is also making a long-term commitment to women’s football by partnering with UEFA Women’s Football until 2025 and sponsoring the UEFA Women’s Euros 2022.
A “heavyweight” marketing campaign involving PepsiCo brands Doritos, Walkers Max and Pepsi Max will encourage the nation to show the same level of support for the women’s team as the men’s team, with activity across digital, social, PR, point-of-sale, out-of-home and in-store.
“As a global company, we want to use our platform to help women thrive in the game, from the players leading the line-up at UEFA Women’s EURO 2022, to talented coaches looking to break into football,” says PepsiCo UK and Ireland CMO Fiona Tomlin.
“We believe that the women’s game should be just as valued and celebrated as the men’s game, and this partnership with Women in Football is one way we’re hoping to make a meaningful and long-term difference to champion female participation at all levels.”
KFC-owner confirms intentions to ‘fully exit’ Russia
Yum! Brands, owner of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, is undergoing a process to “fully exit” the Russian market as the invasion of Ukraine continues.
The fast food giant has revealed that last month it completed the transfer of ownership of all Pizza Hut franchise assets to a local operator, who has initiated the process of re-branding locations to a “non-Yum!” concept.
The company is also in advanced stages of transferring ownership of its KFC restaurants, operating system and master franchise rights, including the network of franchised restaurants, to a local operator.
Last month, Russia reopened its first rebranded former-McDonald’ restaurants under the new name “Vkusno-i tochka”, which translates as “Tasty and that’s it”. The company first announced its plans to fully exit the Russian market in May.
Boots teams up with ITV on menopause awareness
Retailer Boots has partnered with ITV’s flagship daytime show This Morning to help raise awareness of the menopause through the launch of a new ‘Menopause Bus’, which will take to British roads this month.
The initiative aims to change the way people think and talk about the menopause, with ITV branding it “one of the biggest taboos left to tackle”. The bus will appear live as a ‘drop in’ where people can get information and insight through leaflets and experts from The Menopause Charity.
Additional support will be available across Boots’ and This Morning’s social and digital channels. As part of the campaign, ITV daytime has created a bespoke ident for Boots that will run in the show adjacent to the programme items.
“Boots is uniquely placed to help those experiencing the menopause, whether it is advice and support from our pharmacists in store, specialist services via the Boots Health Hub or the vast array of products we offer to treat and alleviate symptoms,” says CMO Pete Markey.
“We are delighted to partner with This Morning to help raise awareness of this important topic.”
Tuesday, 5 July
Sainsbury’s sales down as the supermarket commits to easing impact of cost of living crisis
Announcing its first quarter trading results for the 16 weeks to 25 June 2022, Sainsbury’s has reported a drop in sales across grocery, general merchandise, clothes and Argos.
Grocery sales are down 2.4% compared with last year’s results – which the company says were driven by Covid-19 levels – but are still 8.7% ahead when compared to pre-pandemic levels.
Argos sales were down 7% in the last 11 weeks of the quarter and 9% in the first five weeks, while general merchandise sales were down 5% in the last 11 weeks, and down 30% in the first five.
Likewise, clothing sales were down 26% for the first five weeks, and 2% in the last 11.
The company is taking on a “food first” strategy, as it takes on the cost of living crisis with a £500m investment across the two years to March 2023 to keep “prices low”. The company is also continuing its Aldi price match campaign, matching more than 240 of the budget retailer’s products.
“Our customers are watching every penny and every pound but they also look to Sainsbury’s when they want to treat themselves, particularly at special occasions,” says chief executive officer Simon Roberts, who says the company “outperformed” the market at key events, such as the Jubilee.
He adds: “We are proud to be the first major supermarket to pay the Living Wage to all colleagues, regardless of where they live – and to have increased Sainsbury’s colleague pay by 25% and Argos by 39% over the past five years.”
Pret bounces back to profitability
Pret A Manger has returned to profitability for the first time since the pandemic began.
The sandwich chain’s half-year sales reached £357.8m, more than double the £155m figure from last year, with the company saying its sales outside of London grew faster than inside the city with “particularly strong regional and suburban sales”.
The company “grew fastest in some of the places where we only had a handful of Pret shops before”, says chief executive Pano Christou.
The results come following losses of £226m in 2021 and £343m in 2020, when the company was hindered by the Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns and a lack of foot traffic in key locations.
More recently, the chain’s need for foot traffic was highlighted during recent rail strikes, where the company’s trading in its City of London and Canary Wharf outlets fell to just 62% of its pre-Covid levels.
“Even the days in between were a lot quieter because services didn’t fully recover,” Christou told PA Media, commenting on the “huge negative” impact for the company.
But in light of returning to profitability, Christou says there is now the “opportunity” for the brand to take its growth and “apply it internationally”, following news last week that the chain will be opening up to 100 shops across India in the next five years, with a franchise partnership with Reliance Industries.
Right now, the chain has 558 outlets in the UK and internationally combined.
Kellogg’s loses high court battle against government over HFSS rules
Food giant Kellogg’s has lost its court case against the government, where the brand argued that upcoming high in fat, salt or sugar (HFSS) rules do not take into account the nutritional value added milk provides to the products.
“Disappointed” in the ruling, Kellogg UK managing director Chris Silcock says “it makes little sense to us that consumers will be able to buy other products, like donuts and chocolate spreads, on promotion – but not many types of breakfast cereals”.
A government spokesperson said that “together with the volume price restrictions, these changes will protect children up and down the country” from HFSS products.
From October, HFSS products will no longer feature at supermarket checkouts, as well as store entrances, aisle ends and online equivalents. Brands will see online advertising and work with paid influencers restricted.
Kellogg’s argued that its brands such as Crunchy Nut Corn Flakes and Fruit and Fibre are classes as ‘high sugar’ only when dry, and that stipulations didn’t account for how added milk would change the proportion of sugar and salt content.
The judge ruled that the cereals “do not come with instructions for preparation which say that they should be consumed with milk”.
Silcock says the brand will be appealing the result.
New Tesco Mobile campaign highlight’s no EU roaming fees for customers
Tesco Mobile customers don’t have to pay any EU roaming fees, highlights a new campaign from the network showing how its customers can save costs abroad as one of the networks without roaming charges post-Brexit.
The campaign shows how customers on the network’s ‘Home from Home’ roaming plan don’t pay EU roaming fees, with assets across OOH, radio, press and social emphasising the plan.
The BBH-produced campaign plays on the UK’s penchant for “home comforts”, with questions such as “What’s French for builders tea?” and “Spag bol in Italian?”
“We know household budgets are under increasing pressure, so for families lucky enough to travel abroad this summer, we want to give them the confidence that they won’t be struck with an unexpected roaming bill this year,” says Tesco Mobile chief customer officer, Rachel Swift.
“At Tesco Mobile, everything we do is rooted in our commitment to being truly helpful to our customers – with a side of cheerful cheekiness that hopefully, raises a smile.”
Klarna and Visa promote ‘Klarna Card’ ahead of Women’s Euro 2022
BNPL provider Klarna has launched a new campaign with Visa, one of the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 sponsors, to promote its Klarna card.
The card, which aims to replace the interest fees related to traditional credit cards, first launched in January this year. The new campaign will appear across football locations in the UK, such as London’s Wembley Stadium and Manchester’s Old Trafford, featuring players from ‘Team Visa’, the Visa led athlete initiative.
Running for the duration of the football tournament, the campaign aims to show how the Klarna card is “traditional norms”, similarly to “women in football”.
“We are delighted to partner with Visa and their athletes to ‘Play by new rules’ bringing together Visa’s commitment to women’s football and Klarna’s distinctive visuals and creative flair,” says Klarna chief marketing officer David Sandström.
“Incorporating the worlds of two such recognisible and trusted brands has been exciting, and we hope this campaign will help increase awareness of women’s football and the Klarna card against the backdrop of what will be a festival of football in England this summer,” he adds.
The campaign launches amid Klarna’s valuation struggle, with the company raising capital at a valuation of around $6.5bn, compared to its $46bn valuation last year, according to the Financial Times.
Monday, 4 July
Ryanair claims flying is ‘too cheap’ as fares set rise until 2027
Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary expects air fares to rise for the next five years because flying has become “too cheap”.
Speaking to the Financial Times, O’Leary expressed his surprise that when he flies into Stansted Airport the cost of a train journey into London is more expensive than the flight. He therefore expects the cost of an average Ryanair flight to rise in the medium term from €40 to €60, due to a combination of surging oil prices and environmental charges.
“I don’t believe air travel is sustainable over the medium term at an average fare of €40. It’s too cheap at that,” O’Leary told the Financial Times.
“But I think, you know, it will still be very cheap and affordable at €50 and €60.”
Describing the government’s claim that ‘Brexit is done’ as the “height of idiocy”, the Ryanair boss argues the “disaster” of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union has stopped airlines hiring European workers, which has caused further staff shortages.
The comments from O’Leary come as Ryanair cabin crew in Spain plan to strike for 12 days this month.
In May the airline warned it was experiencing a “fragile recovery”, as the price of average fares fell 27% to €27 (£23) due to the pandemic and war in Ukraine.
At the time, Ryanair admitted its first quarter pricing would “need stimulation”, although it was “cautiously optimistic” peak summer 2022 fares would be “somewhat ahead” of peak summer 2019 fares due to the level of pent-up demand.
The airline posted a loss of €355m (£301m) in the year to 31 March, despite notching up revenue of €4.8bn (£41.bn), an increase of 193% on last year. While traffic “recovered strongly” over the year period, up 253% on 2021 to 97.1 million passengers, this figure is still 35% behind pre-Covid levels.
Meta to slash hiring amid ‘worst downturn’ in recent history
Meta has warned staff to expect reduced hiring and fiercer performance targets as the business braces itself for “one of the worst downturns” in recent history.
In an audio recording obtained by Reuters, CEO Mark Zuckerberg told employees the company now aims to hire 6,000 to 7,000 engineers, down from an initial plan to recruit 10,000. Pressure is ramping up on the existing 77,800 employees, with plans to leave positions unfilled and “turn up the heat” on targets to force out those seen as underperforming.
In the meeting, Zuckerberg is reported to have acknowledged there are probably people in the business “who shouldn’t be here”, adding: “Part of my hope by raising expectations and having more aggressive goals, and just kind of turning up the heat a little bit, is that I think some of you might decide that this place isn’t for you, and that self-selection is OK with me.”
Reuters also reports that prior to the meeting, chief product officer Chris Cox wrote a memo claiming Meta will need to “prioritise more ruthlessly” and “operate leaner, meaner, better executing teams”. Describing the current economic environment as “serious times”, Cox called on employees to “execute flawlessly in an environment of slower growth” and not expect “vast influxes” of budget.
Meta already announced it was pausing hiring for some mid- to senior-level positions in May, slowing recruitment to counteract the tough economic conditions.
In February, Facebook’s global daily active users fell for the first time, dropping to 1.929 billion from 1.930 billion the previous quarter, which caused Meta’s share value to plunge 20%. At the time, the social media giant blamed the decline on Apple’s introduction of app tracking transparency and the rise in competition from the likes of TikTok.
Meta is not the only tech company to put the brakes on hiring in recent months. In June, Tesla CEO Elon Musk proposed cutting staff by 10% and pausing all recruitment globally, given his “super bad feeling” about the economy.
Meanwhile, in May Uber said going forward it would treat hiring “as a privilege” and be deliberate about when to add to the team, confirming that the “least efficient marketing and incentive spend will be pulled back.”
Yorkshire Tea invites Sir Patrick Stewart to give ‘proper’ leaving speech
Yorkshire Tea has teamed up with actor Sir Patrick Stewart on the latest iteration of its ‘Where everything’s done proper’ campaign.
The company credits the brand platform, created by agency Lucky Generals in 2017, with helping to make Yorkshire Tea the number one black tea brand by value and volume in the UK, rising from a 21% value share in 2017 to 34% today. Previous stars to join the Yorkshire Tea team include Sir Michael Parkinson, Sean Bean and the Kaiser Chiefs.
For the latest campaign Stewart, who reportedly takes Yorkshire Gold tea with him wherever he travels, delivers the “leaving speech to top all leaving speeches”. As the team hand employee Tina her leaving card they explain: “Patrick has a few words”. A chair spins around revealing Stewart, mug of Yorkshire Tea in hand, who delivers a tear-jerking farewell as colleagues dim the lights and add dramatic music.
The monologue ends with Stewart explaining leaving drinks will be at the Dog and Trumpet and “there’s a tab behind the bar”.
The 40-second TV ad, which goes live today (4 July), was filmed in Harrogate with employees from across the business. The advert will be supported by a 60-second version for cinema screens and will run across social media.
“We’re chuffed to bits with this new advert and hope everyone loves it as much as we do,” says senior brand manager Lucy Hoyle.
“Sir Patrick is an absolute legend when it comes to delivering a heart-felt performance. If anyone is a master of the art of ‘doing things properly’ – something that is central to everything we do here at Yorkshire Tea – it’s Sir Patrick and we’re thrilled he is part of the Yorkshire Tea team.”
Premier League proposes dropping front-of-shirt gambling sponsors
The Premier League has suggested dropping front-of-shirt sponsorship deals with gambling brands over the next three to five years.
Under plans proposed to ministers, betting companies would still be given the option to sponsor the sleeves of football kits, Sky News reports. According to a Whitehall source, sleeve sponsorships are less visible and “therefore less valuable” than a brand appearing on the front of a footballer’s shirt.
The Premier League believes moving to such an arrangement would enable clubs to “avoid a cliff-edge” of money disappearing from the gambling sector, given close to half of top-flight clubs were sponsored by a betting brand last season. It is thought the Premier League would be looking at three to five years for the changes to come to fruition due to the length of existing deals.
Last week it was reported the government will stop short of banning gambling brands appearing on football shirts, preferring instead to seek a “voluntary agreement” with Premier League clubs.
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport says it is undertaking the “most comprehensive review of gambling laws in 15 years” to ensure they work for the digital age, with a whitepaper on gambling legislation expected in the coming weeks.
Diet Coke names Kate Moss as creative director to mark 40 years
To celebrate its 40th anniversary, Diet Coke has signed supermodel Kate Moss as the brand’s first creative director in over a decade.
Moss will be the face of Diet Coke’s ‘Love What You Love’ campaign, building on what the brand describes as its “impressive legacy” of partnering with leading fashion designers since the 1980s.
The tie-up with Moss follows Diet Coke’s partnership with London Fashion Week in the spring, which saw the brand offer thousands of fashion themed prizes such as luxury retail vouchers, weekend stays and exclusive access to runway shows.
The Love What You Love campaign first went live in March, with a film and outdoor creative focusing on one woman’s decision to transform her hectic post-work commute by roller skating. Further iterations of the campaign will roll out over the summer.
“We are honoured to appoint Kate Moss as our new creative director, continuing Diet Coke’s rich history of collaborating with some of the biggest names in fashion and culture,” says Coca-Cola European integrated experience director, Michael Willeke.
“This year, Diet Coke marks its 40th global anniversary, kick-starting with an official London Fashion Week partnership and brand experience, which gave fans the chance to reclaim their break.”