O2, Nokia, Amazon: 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.

O2 launches sonic identity

O2 has joined the ranks of bands launching a sonic identity, introducing its first audio branding as it looks to build its brand equity through sound.

Created with music agency MassiveMusic, the sound revolved around human breath as a way to reflect the importance of digital oxygen. The sound will be heard in its apps and stores, as well as at live experiences at O2 venues – including The O2 in London.

O2’s brand and creative director Rachel Swift says: “O2 has always had a strong visual identity so it was a natural progression to extend this into the world of sound. This comprehensive and adaptive identity will be integrated across all customer touchpoints, bringing to life the unmissable moments that our customers experience on O2.”

The audio brand can first be heard in O2’s latest TV campaign and will be rolled out across the brand gradually.

HMD launches largest ever ad campaign for Nokia with James Bond tie-up

HMD Global, the owner of Nokia phones, is launching the biggest marketing campaign for the mobile phone brand as part of a tie-up with the 25th James Bond film.

The campaign, created by Grey London, features actress Lashana Lync, who is also in the new Bond film. It aims to showcase a Nokia smartphone as ‘The Only Gadget You’ll Ever Need’, with Nokia becoming the official phone partner for the film.

A range of Nokia phones will appear in the No Time to Die film. Creative will also fun across cinema, digital, social, outdoor and retail from Sunday to promote the launch of a range of new Nokia devices set to be unveiled on 19 March.

The latest James Bond film was due to be released later this month, but that release date has been pushed back to November in light of the coronavirus outbreak.

Amazon struggles to stamp our price hikes amid coronavirus demand

Amazon is struggling to stop third-party sellers drastically increasing the price of products such as face masks, hand sanitisers and wipes that are growing in demand amid mounting fears about the spread of coronavirus.

Amazon says it has removed tens of thousands of items because they were on sale at unreasonably high prices. It is also removing ads from sellers making unsubstantiated claims about how their products can ward off or treat the virus.

Items listed include 70 disinfecting wipes from the brand Clorox for $27.99, five times what they would normally cost. A two-pack of Purell hand sanitiser is listed at $49.99, six times the amount it would cost in a major retailer.

Demand for such products has grown as health officials say cleaning hands and surfaces is one of the most effective to stop the spread of the disease. According to figures from Kantar, sales of hand sanitiser were up 255% in February, while sales of liquid soaps grew by 7%.

In the UK, the competition regulator has warned retailers and individuals about price hiking and said it will target those looking to profit. It has also said it may ask the government to introduce price caps.

Virgin Media data breach affects 900,000 customers

Virgin Media has admitted that a database containing the personal details of 900,000 customers was left unsecured and accessible online for 10 months.

The database was used for marketing purposes and contained phone numbers, home addresses and email addresses, but did not contain passwords or financial details. The company say it was accessed “on at least one occasion” by an unknown user but this was not a hack.

Instead, a member of staff had incorrectly configured the database after not following correct procedures. Virgin Media was made aware of the problem by an independent security researcher.

Virgin Media has informed the Information Commissioner’s Office and launched an investigation.

READ MORE: Virgin Media data breach affects 900,000 people

Coronavirus impacts Starbucks’ revenues

The coronavirus outbreak has slowed revenue growth at Starbucks.

The company has reduced revenue expectations in its second biggest market by at least $400m in the current quarter. Last quarter, it generated $745m in China.

Elsewhere, Facebook and Google have asked all their staff in offices in San Francisco to help limit the spread of the virus.

In the UK, the government has launched a public information campaign on handwashing that will run in print media, radio, online and in public places, including billboards.

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock says: “We all have a role to play in stopping this disease and that’s what this expanded campaign is all about – making sure the public knows exactly what they should be doing to keep themselves and others safe. Washing hands regularly is the single most important thing that an individual can do.”

Thursday, 5 March

Flybe collapses as coronavirus hits bookings

Flybe has collapsed into administration less than two months after the government announced a rescue deal for the embattled airline.

The impact of the coronavirus on flight bookings tipped Europe’s largest regional airline over the edge, as the government stalled on a controversial £100m loan.

In a letter to the airline’s staff, chief executive Mark Anderson says: “Despite every effort, we now have no alternative – having failed to find a feasible solution to allow us to keep trading.”

The airline operates almost 40% of UK domestic flights and was one of the leading carriers at airports including Belfast, Southampton, Manchester and Birmingham. More than 2,000 staff will be affected.

READ MORE: British regional airline Flybe says enters into administration

ITV warns of ad revenue decline due to coronavirus

​ITV is warning that advertising revenue will be down by 10% in April as it is impacted by coronavirus.

The broadcaster saw revenues of £3.31bn, up 3% on 2018’s £3.21bn, but reported a 1.5% drop in advertising revenues largely due to travel companies’ reluctance to broadcast due to the outbreak. ITV says travel companies have postponed campaigns that had been due to run in March and April.

Chief executive Carolyn McCalladdds: “We are making good progress in each area of our strategy and our investments in data, technology, online and in streaming will enable ITV to be a sustainable, diversified and structurally-sound digital media and entertainment business.​”​

ITV says the outlook for 2020 is on track to deliver ​the firm’s​ medium term targets.

Boots suspends Advantage Card payments after cyber attack

Boots has suspended payments using loyalty points after a cyber attack affected nearly 150,000 customers’ accounts.

The suspension comes after the company’s IT security team spotted “unusual” activity on a number of Boots Advantage Card accounts with the aim of accessing and spending the points.

Boots says none of its own systems were compromised, but attackers had tried to access accounts using reused passwords from other sites.

According to the retailer, the issue affected less than 1% of the company’s 14.4 million active Advantage Card users – around 150,000 people.

A spokesperson for the company says: “We are writing to customers if we believe that their account has been affected, and if their Boots Advantage Card points have been used fraudulently we will, of course, replace them,” the company said in a statement.”

READ MORE: Boots halts Advantage Card payments after cyber-attack

Volkswagen partners with British Gas owner on electric vehicles

Volkswagen has signed a three-year partnership with British Gas owner Centrica to provide domestic charging points for new electric vehicle owners.

The tie-up is aimed at helping Volkswagen accelerate the roll-out of its electric vehicles across the UK by helping drivers to charge at home at a lower price.

Under the exclusive agreement, British Gas engineers will be responsible for installing the fastest home car-charger available, alongside an energy tariff that offers cheaper rates for nighttime charging.

The deal comes after Volkswagen’s pledged to introduce 80 electric and plug-in hybrid models by 2025.

READ MORE: British Gas and VW unveil three-year electric vehicle deal

Barclays streamlining to impact 1,000 staff

Barclays is cutting 250 jobs across a number of UK sites and shutting down a large office in Leeds as part of an overhaul that will affect around 1,000 staff.

The changes will see jobs move to Manchester, Northampton and Sunderland, and the creation of a new flagship site in Glasgow.

All staff whose jobs are moving have been given the chance to keep their positions, and financial support to help them relocate.

Barclays is offering another 100 of the affected workers in Leeds the option to work from home or at other Barclays locations in the area. Barclays has not confirmed its plans for the remainder of the processing centre’s workers, accounting for about 140 staff.

A Barclays spokesman says: “In order to drive collaboration, Barclays is moving teams closer together at our UK sites in Glasgow, Greater Manchester and Northampton; where we are investing in new campuses and office space.

“This will enable us to innovate at pace for the customers and clients we serve. We will do everything we can to support colleagues impacted by the changes announced today.”

READ MORE: More than 1,000 Barclays jobs hit by staff shake-up

Wednesday, 4 March


Facebook ‘rethinks’ plans for cryptocurrency as scrutiny mounts

Facebook is said to be rethinking plans for its Libra cryptocurrency following criticism from regulators and dwindling support from its high-profile backers.

The BBC reports that the social media giant is now considering a system with digital versions of established currencies, such as the dollar and the euro, which would likely also include Libra. Facebook’s digital wallet is now expected to launch in the autumn, more than a year since the cryptocurrency was unveiled in June 2019.

The Libra Association, the group established to develop the currency, is reportedly set to continue its work.

“The Libra Association has not altered its goal of building a regulatory compliant global payment network and the basic design principles that support that goal have not been changed, nor has the potential for this network to foster future innovation,” says head of policy and communications at the Libra Association, Dante Disparte.

While Lyft, Spotify and Shopify are still members of the Libra Association, the likes of Vodafone, Visa and Mastercard have already walked away from the project.

Libra has also faced resistance from multiple governments and regulators, with the French Finance Minister, Bruno Le Maire, saying in September that his country would block Libra amid fears the system was open to abuse.

READ MORE: Facebook ‘rethinks’ plans for Libra cryptocurrency

Missguided ad banned for ‘objectifying women’

An outdoor ad from fast fashion retailer Missguided has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for presenting women as “sexual objects”.

Seen on 24 November on a train station platform, the ad showed a model leaning against a side table wearing an unbuttoned jacket with nothing underneath, sheer tights and high heels. Complainants argued that the advert was overly sexualised and objectified women, and questioned whether it should be seen by children.

In response, Missguided argued that while the ad did show a young woman baring some skin, the styling was “in keeping with industry norms” and similar ads within the fast fashion industry. The retailer also said that promoting and encouraging female empowerment was “extremely important” to the business and that it believed the ad enabled its customers to be “bold and brave”.

The ASA, however, ruled that the model could be perceived as being in a “state of undress”, with the focus on her chest and lower abdomen rather than the clothing being advertised. The regulator also noted that the model’s stance – with her head tilted back, mouth slightly open and her leg raised – was likely to be seen as a “sexually suggestive pose”.

“We considered that the sexually suggestive styling and pose would be seen as presenting women as sexual objects. Because the ad objectified women, we concluded that ad was likely to cause serious offence,” the ASA adds.

The ad must not appear again in its current form and the ASA has told Missguided not to use advertising that objectifies women. In October, the regulator banned another ad from the fast fashion company for “objectifying women” which was screened during Love Island episodes on the ITV Hub.

Debenhams appoints marketing operations director

debenhams marketing campaignDebenhams has appointed Sainsbury’s head of marketing, trade planning and media, Andrea Abbis, as its new marketing operations director.

Abbis worked cross-functionally as part of the senior leadership team to develop the strategic vision, growth drivers and marketing strategy across the Argos, Tu Clothing and Sainsbury’s Home brands. She was also charged with linking up marketing, digital, stores, supply and commercial.

Prior to this, Abbis served as brand director at Time Developments, having made the switch into marketing from buying following roles as buying manager for watches and clocks at Argos and a buyer at Wilko.

Abbis will join Debenhams on 9 March. In January the department store chain appointed former British Airways marketer Abi Comber as its new CMO in a bid to turnaround the struggling business.

Amazon hits out at ‘bad actors’ profiteering from coronavirus

amazonAmazon has hit out at “bad actors” profiteering from fear as the coronavirus spreads by raising prices of masks and sanitisers by up to 2,000%.

Having removed “tens of thousands” of listings, Amazon says there is “no place for price gouging” on its site and has expressed disappointment that “bad actors are attempting to artificially raise prices” on basic products to cash in on a global health crisis. The Guardian reports that Amazon staff are now monitoring listings 24 hours a day.

Any traders found to be breaking the company’s “fair pricing policy” can have their accounts suspended or selling privileges revoked.

The issue of online profiteering has been exacerbated by the fact products such as hand sanitisers and face masks are being rationed in stores, which is forcing consumers to turn to sites such as Amazon, eBay, Walmart and Etsy.

READ MORE: Amazon struggles to halt tide of coronavirus profiteers

IAB brings in ABC to audit its Gold Standard initiative

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB UK) has appointed ABC to audit its Gold Standard initiative in a push for greater transparency.

The Gold Standard brings together industry programmes to combat ad fraud, increase brand safety and improve the digital advertising experience for users. The IAB sees the appointment of an independent auditor as a key next step ahead of the introduction of Gold Standard 2.0 later this year, which will address privacy concerns within the digital supply chain.

By appointing ABC – an independent third-party auditor – to audit the Gold Standard certification process, we are not only providing assurance of its thoroughness, we are also able to ensure that we put in place internal measures to maintain this level of rigour as the Gold Standard grows and evolves,” says IAB UK chief digital officer, Tim Elkington.

Currently, companies need to take three steps to certify to the existing Gold Standard. The must implement IAB Tech Labs’ ads.txt, undergo an independent JICWEBS DTSG audit and adhere to the principles set out by the Coalition for Better Ads. To date 93 media owners, media agencies and ad tech companies are certified and 11 are registered to certify.

In December Tesco and McDonald’s became the first advertisers to commit to using the Gold Standard, meaning they will only work wherever possible with digital ad suppliers that have signed up to the initiative.

Tuesday, 3 March

John Lewis introduces ‘hand down’ labelling

John Lewis is introducing new labelling to encourage customers to hand down children’s clothing and reduce the amount that goes to landfill.

‘Wear it, Love it, Hand it down’ labels will be attached to the retailer’s own-brand babywear and childrenswear ranges, which comprise around 700 different garments.

It is also introducing permanent organic cotton labelling on the inside of its range of children’s coats so that the new owner can cross out the name of the last owner in pen and write their name.

Recycling brand WRAP estimates that extending the average life of clothes (2.2 years) by just three months of active use per item would lead to a 5% to 10% reduction in each of the carbon, water and waste footprints, and cut resource costs by £2bn.

The new labels will be made from Forest Stewardship Council-certified paper that has been harvested in a responsible way.

Tesco warns of Clubcard data breach

Tesco will issue 600,000 new cards to Clubcard holders following a security breach that has put some of its most valuable customer data at risk.

The retailer believes a database of stolen usernames and passwords from other platforms have been tried out on its websites, some of which may have worked.

“We are aware of some fraudulent activity around the redemption of a small proportion of our customers’ Clubcard vouchers,” says a Tesco spokesperson.
“Our internal systems picked this up quickly and we immediately took steps to protect our customers and restrict access to their accounts.”

Tesco says no financial data has been accessed and its systems have not been hacked. Clubcard members will not lose their points and new vouchers will be issued.

READ MORE: Tesco sends security warning to 600,000 Clubcard holders

Guardian reaffirms commitment to Europe with new series and campaign

The Guardian has launched a dedicated series and marketing campaign to reaffirm its long-term commitment to Europe.

The series, This is Europe, kicks off with a week-long special of in-depth reporting, interviews, features and films across all sections of the Guardian.

This is supported by a ‘Hope has no borders’ campaign, which has been created with The Guardian’s in-house creative agency Oliver. It will include a takeover of all 36 screens in the Eurostar departure lounge at London St Pancras.

The creative aims to highlight a series of important and globally relevant issues, with messages including ‘the climate crisis has no borders’ and ‘inequality has no borders’.

“The values we share with our readers at The Guardian means we are well-placed to report on stories that offer hope and unite us,” says Guardian News & Media’s director of brand and awareness, Kate Davies.

“The advert provides a stop-and-stare moment for travellers that is equally impactful when seen online or on social. This unique design was a brilliant creative opportunity to support the Guardian’s new This is Europe series and a natural next step in expanding on our ‘Hope is Power’ campaign last year.”

Greenpeace targets Barclays over fossil fuel funding

Greenpeace forced almost 100 Barclays branches to close on Monday to draw attention to the bank’s funding of fossil fuel companies.

Ninety-seven branches in towns and cities including London, Manchester, Belfast and Cardiff were blocked by activists, with Greenpeace calling on Barclays to reduce its support for companies that are not aligned with the Paris climate agreement.

Barclays is Europe’s biggest funder of fossil fuels and has lent billions of pounds to fracking companies, coal power firms and tar sands pipeline companies.

“Banks are just as responsible for the climate emergency as the fossil fuel companies they fund, yet they’ve escaped scrutiny for years,” says Greenpeace’s head of oil, Richard George.

A Barclays spokesperson says: “We recognise that climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing the world today, and are determined to do all we can to support the transition to a low-carbon economy, while also ensuring that global energy needs continue to be met.

“Greenpeace has a view on these issues to which they are completely entitled, but we would ask that, in expressing that view, they stop short of behaviour which targets our customers, and our colleagues, going about their lives in communities around the country.”

READ MORE: Greenpeace ‘shuts down’ 100 Barclays branches over fossil fuel funding

Ladbrokes unveils new TV ads

Ladbrokes has launched a TV advertising campaign, aiming to portray the excitement, energy and anticipation of betting on racing, football and gaming.

‘Where the nation plays’, which is the first campaign done with creative agency BBH, is made up of three films: Game Life, The Football Bettors, and The Racers. Each ad aims to convey the message that Ladbrokes is the most inclusive, fun and diverse betting operator.

“Ladbrokes offers a unique and appealing proposition for bettors everywhere and our new TV campaign brings to life the great excitement and pleasure that people experience when watching and betting on racing and football, and when gaming,” says Ladbrokes owner GVC Group’s managing director of UK and Ireland digital sports brands, Dominic Grounsell.

The films were shot in and around London and include 37 featured actors, 25 walk-ons and 180 extras.

READ MORE: ‘Most gambling ads are disposable’ – Why Ladbrokes and Coral are relaunching their brands

Monday, 2 March


O2 campaign puts customers centre stage

O2 has launched an integrated advertising campaign, building on the brand’s music and live experiences, and focusing on its customers as a headline act.
A 30-second spot debuted on Saturday night and will be appearing across various platforms, including social media.

In the ad, a customer’s phone dying sets off a series of events that culminate in him becoming part of an onstage performance and, eventually, becoming the owner of a bright shiny new phone.

“We’re a brand that’s built around our customers and that’s why we’re excited to launch this new campaign that brings to life that special feeling of what it’s like to be with O2,” says Nina Bibby, CMO at O2.

“This year marks the 18th birthday of the O2 brand and as the UK’s No.1 network with industry-leading levels of loyalty this campaign really demonstrates how customers continue to be our headline act.”

Sky Sports preparing to buy Six Nations broadcast rights

Six Nations Rugby could soon be leaving terrestrial television and heading to Sky Sports.

Sky is reportedly close to completing a £30m deal for the tournament, with the current BBC and ITV agreement, worth £90m, finishing next year.

The two terrestrial channels teamed up in 2016 to outbid Sky, but no joint deals will be allowed this time around.

It is understood that any deal will also include a number of other international fixtures.

However, with a number of influential figures in the game keen for rugby to be available on free-to-air channels, Sky’s proposed deal could yet hit a stumbling block.

READ MORE: Sky closes in on bumper £300m Six Nations broadcasting deal

Waitrose to roll out nationwide online delivery


Waitrose will this week start a national online roll-out programme that will add its Waitrose.com online delivery service to 24 more of its shops.

The move is in preparation for Waitrose’s split from Ocado, which will lose the right to sell any of the supermarket’s products from September this year.

Currently, 150 of the retailer’s shops cover deliveries across the country, with 84% of active UK postcodes able to order Waitrose.com shopping.

In addition to the new 24 shops, work is underway with the current online shops to further increase their order capacity.

“September offers the single biggest growth opportunity for our business and we’re investing heavily to achieve it,” says Waitrose digital director Ben Stimson.

“We’re not starting from scratch – Waitrose.com is growing significantly ahead of the market and we already deliver to tens of thousands of customers each week, added to the millions who visit our shops.

“We are well prepared for boost in demand and capacity has already been tested with our busiest ever online order week – the week before Christmas in 2019.”

UK Advertising Export Group launched

A new industry initiative aiming to showcase and promote British advertising and marketing services abroad has been launched today.

The UK Advertising Export Group kicks off a four-week programme of events focusing on the industry’s global successes.

With 37 members, the group will target key territories including China, Japan, South Korea, North America and Europe and is backed by the Advertising Association, the IPA, APA, DMA, London & Partners and the Creative Industries Council.

The Department for International Trade is providing funding and access to government events overseas and Aisling Conlon has been appointed as the group’s marketing manager, joining from the IPA.

“The UK Advertising Export Group is a unique cross-industry business development drive to accelerate investment in our sector from international business,” says Janet Hull, chair of UKAEG, member of the Creative Industries Council and IPA director of marketing strategy.

“Our aim is to support our members to deliver 50% revenue growth by 2023, in line with wider creative industries targets in the Government’s sector deal and safeguard the UK’s position as a global advertising hub.”

Comedian changes name in Hugo Boss protest

German designer Hugo Boss’s targeting of small businesses who use the name ‘boss’ or similar with cease and desist letters has prompted a comedian to change his name.

Panel show regular and presenter Joe Lycett is now legally known as Hugo Boss, in protest against the German company’s actions, most recently forcing an independent brewery in Swansea to both rebrand and pay legal fees.

In 2018, the charity DarkGirlBoss was reportedly challenged by Hugo Boss when it attempted to trademark its name.

READ MORE: Comedian Joe Lycett changes his name to Hugo Boss in support of small businesses ‘targeted’ by fashion designer



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