AB InBev, Amazon, Sky Sports: 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.

Source: Shutterstock

AB InBev claims marketing is becoming ‘more efficient’ as it pushes on with its digital transformation

AB InBev has committed to maintaining marketing investment as it pushes ahead with its digital transformation, claiming marketing is becoming “more efficient” as it becomes more connected.

The business says it is seeing increased return on investment (ROI) as a result, as it posts an 11.3% revenue increase, with a volume growth of 3.4%, for the second quarter.

During a call with investors yesterday (28 July), CEO Michel Doukeris was asked his reaction to drinks giant Diageo’s commitment to investing in marketing, as it reported soaring profits which it partly attributed to having upped marketing spend.

Doukeris said there will be “no change” to AB InBev’s marketing spend going forward. However, he said the digital transformation of the business is allowing it to become more efficient.

“What has been changing is that we are becoming more efficient, so our campaigns have been working together,” he claimed. “The more digital we become, the more we’re connected with points-of-sale and with our customers, we can see growing ROI on the investments that we’re making.”

AB InBev’s B2B digital platform BEES reached monthly active 2.9 million users as of 30 June 2022.

Amazon posts second quarterly loss, after increasing sales and marketing spend

Amazon has reported its second quarterly loss in a row, while quarterly sales have increased by 7% in the three months to the end of June.

Sales increased to $121bn (£99bn), compared with $113bn (£92bn) in 2021’s second quarter – marking a slower increase. The company reported a second quarter loss of £2bn (£1.6bn), while this time last year it reported $7.8bn (£6.4bn) profit.

The company’s filings show a sales and marketing spend of $10bn (£8bn), up from $7.5bn (£6bn) compared with the three month’s to end of June in 2021. Likewise, the figure reaches $18.4bn (£15bn) for the last six months, compared with $13.7bn (£11bn) for the first half of 2021.

“Despite continued inflationary pressures in fuel, energy, and transportation costs, we’re making progress on the more controllable costs we referenced last quarter, particularly improving the productivity of our fulfilment network,” said Amazon CEO Andy Jassy.

He added that the company is seeing “revenue accelerate” as it improves its Prime offering, by investing in “faster shipping speeds” while adding benefits like free delivery from Grubhub and access to NFL thursday night games to its roster. He also references the upcoming Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power series which launches in September.

The company said Prime members worldwide have shopped “more and saved more” during this quarter’s ‘Prime Day’ than previously, “saving more than $1.7bn (£1.4bn)”.

Speaking to investors yesterday (28 July), chief financial officer Brian Olsavsky said the company is still seeing “strong advertising growth” which he says is a position for both customers and the brand. “I think our advantage is that we have highly efficient advertising,” he added.

He added that “people are advertising at the point where customers have their credit cards out and are ready to make a purchase” saying it’s “very measurable” and that Amazon products “compete very well” when it comes to companies “looking to potentially streamline or optimise their advertising spend”.

Frasers Group continues buying spree with I Saw It First acquisition

Following its purchase of Missguided last month, Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group has bought fast fashion retailer I Saw It First.

The group has plans to integrate the womenswear brand with Missguided, which it bought following the brand’s tumble into administration. The group bought Missguided for £20m, but the acquisition fee for I Saw It First has not been revealed.

I Saw It First was founded in 2015, and launched in the UK in 2017, by Jalal Kamani, the brother of Boohoo boss Mahmud Kamani, and boasts 5 million shoppers.

“I Saw It First will benefit from the strength and scale of Frasers Group’s platform and from the integration with Frasers’ recently acquired business, Missguided,” says Frasers Group in a company statement.

Back in 2019, I Saw It First joined up with ITV dating show Love Island as an official partner, which ITV says led to an additional quarter of a million customers using the brand.

READ MORE: I Saw It First bought by Frasers Group two months after £20m rescue of Missguided

Sky Sports campaign reminds fans that football is ‘Only Live Once’

A new Sky Sports campaign aimed at getting “hearts racing” ahead of the upcoming Premier League season has launched, to remind fans of footballs ‘Only Live Once’ factor.

The film from Sky Creative and Brothers & Sisters highlights why fans should be watching football as a live experience, instead of catching up on highlights through YouTube and Twitter.

It features Sky Sports pundits such as Jamie Carragher, Karen Carney and Gary Neville and features moments from the last seasons Premier League, Women’s Super League, Scottish Premiership and English Championship.

“Sky Sports has always been the biggest champion of live sport and as we head into the start of the new Premier League season that excitement hasn’t changed,” comments Sky Sports marketing director Bekah Huggett.

“We’re passionate about making the live experience a moment that should never be missed and this campaign really reinforces that message.”

Families using credit more to mitigate impact of cost of living crisis

UK families are using credit more during the cost of living crisis to meet rising costs, suggests new data from BritainThinks.

The research suggests 1 in 5 people have been using credit products to mitigate the crisis, with 40% of families with children under the age of five using credit more too.

One fifth (20%) of the general public are “not confident” they can pay back their credit if they experience a change in circumstances, such as unemployment.

The cost of living survey has also found that nine in 10 people are “concerned” about the cost of living crisis, and a third of people are “pessimistic” about being able to afford essentials. Again, this rises up to 44% for families.

Data also suggests money expert Martin Lewis is the “go-to for support and advice” on how to cope with the crisis for more than half of the UK. And while two thirds of the population are focusing on saving money where they can, a third of respondents say they “will not be holding back” this summer.

Thursday, 28 July

Facebook Meta

Meta revenue falls for first time amid ‘weak advertising demand’

Meta blamed softening advertiser demand for its first year-on-year revenue decrease in the company’s 18-year history.

The social media giant’s total revenue fell 1% to $28.8bn (£23.7bn) during the second quarter, hit by a dip in ad revenue to $28.15bn (£23.3bn), down from $28.58bn (£23.6bn) the previous year. Meta spent $3.6bn on marketing and sales in the three months to 30 June, up from $3.26bn the previous year.

Facebook daily active users reached on average 1.97 billion during the second quarter, an increase of 3% year on year, while the platform’s monthly active users rose 1% to 2.93 billion.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg blamed weakening demand on businesses lowering their ad spend in response to the increased economic uncertainty and foreign currency headwinds. He also pointed to the “targeting and measurement headwinds” caused by Apple’s iOS privacy changes, which the Meta boss claims have contributed to “growth challenges across the digital advertising industry.”

Geographically, ad revenue growth was strongest for Meta in Asia Pacific (13%) and the rest of the world (11%), while ad revenue fell by 4% in North America and 12% in Europe. During the second quarter, the total number of ad impressions served across Meta’s services increased 15%, although the average price per ad decreased 14%.

Zuckerberg appeared gloomy, predicting the economic downturn will have a “broad impact” on the company’s digital advertising business and the situation “seems worse” than it did a quarter ago.

He noted several key challenges, including the growth of short-form video. While not naming rival TikTok directly, the Meta CEO admitted the Reels product does not yet monetise at the same rate as feed or stories. When asked specifically about the impact of TikTok, outgoing COO Sheryl Sandberg said the company is in a “really competitive advertising market”, which means Meta has to earn its share and “continue to deliver great ROI and be able to measure results.”

Zuckerberg also noted the need to grow the company’s understanding of first-party data, given the privacy changes introduced by Apple, and cope with the macroeconomic environment.

“I’ll note that periods like this are when marketers re-evaluate their budgets and are even more focused on finding the highest performing advertising,” Zuckerberg said. “In the last recession, we invested in our ads business through the downturn and came out stronger on the other side. And I’m focused on making sure we do the same today.”

From a recruitment perspective, Meta intends to “steadily reduce headcount” over the next year, with teams set to shrink and restructures planned. Zuckerberg says he expects the company, which grew 32% in the second quarter to 83,553 employees, to “get more done with fewer resources”.

As of 1 November current CFO David Wehner will take on a new role as Meta’s first chief strategy officer, overseeing the company strategy and corporate development.

ITV performs ‘ahead of expectations’ as digital ad revenues rise 20%

ITVhubITV says it is performing ahead of expectations, as the broadcaster claims its investment in content, data and technology is “already bearing fruit”.

Pointing to “significant revenue growth” of 8% to hit £1.68bn in the six months to 30 June, total ITV Studios revenue rose 16% to £927m, while revenue in the media and entertainment division increased 4% to £1.06bn.

Total advertising revenue grew by 5% over the period, with digital ad revenue up 20%. This spike in digital ad sales was driven by “record levels” of streaming on the ITV Hub, up 8% to 814 million streams during the first half of 2022.

Noting the tough comparison to last summer, when the Euros and “rebounding economy” drove record advertising revenues, chief executive Carolyn McCall expects ITV’s total advertising revenue to remain broadly flat in the nine months to the end of September.

“We are mindful of the macroeconomic uncertainty, however we have for the first time ever in Q4 the football World Cup to look forward to,” she notes.

“We are on track against all the new KPIs and targets we announced earlier this year as part of the second phase of our ‘More Than TV’ strategy and we are very focused on successfully launching ITVX, our new free ad-funded streaming service, in Q4 this year.”

Within ITV Studios, the percentage of total revenue from streaming platforms grew from 16% to 19% during the first half, as the business inked commissions or development deals with most of the major platforms.

In the media and entertainment division, ITV claims its “strengthened” streaming offering has helped drive its best ever digital viewing. The broadcaster’s addressable advertising platform Planet V now has 1,500 users, up from 1,200 as of 31 March 2022, and during the first half attracted 192 new digital-only advertisers to ITV.

The broadcaster says its media and entertainment KPIs “demonstrate good strategic progress”, with total UK streaming subscribers up 16% to 1.45 million compared to 31 December 2021. BritBox international subscribers rose by 13% to 2.7 million over the period.

In terms of linear TV viewing, ITV claims to have captured a 33.7% share of commercial viewing over the half year period, versus 33.6% in 2021, as well as 94% of the top 1,000 commercial broadcast TV programmes, versus 93% last year.

Diageo hails 25% increase in marketing investment as profits soar

Diageo is hailing the success of its continued investment in marketing, as net sales rose 21.4% to hit £15.5bn for the year to 30 June.

The drinks giant says it has increased its organic marketing investment by 24.7% ahead of organic net sales growth, while its organic operating margin rose 121 basis points. Over the year to 30 June, Diageo spent £2.72bn on marketing, up 25% from £2.16bn in 2021.

The company saw operating profits rise 18.2% to £4.4bn, with growth attributed to the continued recovery of the on-trade business, resilient consumer demand in the off-trade and market share gains. This, Diageo explains, was underpinned by the “favourable industry trend” of spirits claiming a larger share of the total market.

Growth was broad-based, although particularly strong within the scotch, tequila and beer segments. Premium-plus brands contributed 57% of reported net sales and drove 71% of organic net sales growth. The brand’s price/mix growth was 11.1 percentage points, reflecting a “strong performance” in Diageo’s ‘super-premium-plus’ brands and price increases across all regions.

During the period the company acquired flavoured tequila brand 21Seeds and Mezcal Unión, a premium artisanal mezcal brand. Diageo also invested £1.1bn in its production capacity, sustainability, digital capabilities and consumer experiences.

In North America, marketing investment rose 24% over the year to 30 June, ahead of net sales growth, while in Europe Diageo ramped up its marketing spend by 26% to support on-trade recovery and off-trade share momentum.

Across its African business, Diageo increased marketing spend by 22%, focusing on ecommerce and new routes to reach consumers. In the Asia Pacific region, the company’s investment in marketing investment rose by 16%, mainly driven by Greater China and categories such as Chinese white spirits and scotch. Marketing spend also shot up across Latin America and the Caribbean, 49% ahead of net sales growth.

The business says will continue to use its “deep understanding of consumers” to quickly adapt to changes in trends and behaviours, while “investing strongly” in marketing and innovation. Diageo does, however, expect to rely on its “strategic pricing” approach in 2023.

Describing himself as “very pleased” with the results, chief executive Ivan Menezes believes Diageo will remain resilient in the face of macroeconomic pressures.

“We believe we have an advantaged portfolio with extraordinary brands across geographies, categories and price points,” he adds. “We continue to actively shape our portfolio to fast-growing categories through innovation and acquisitions. We are staying close to our consumers and our digital tools and data capabilities enable us to quickly understand trends and execute with precision.”

UK first quarter ad spend ‘outperforms expectations’

UK ad spend during the first quarter of 2022 rose 28.3% year on year to reach a total of £8.6bn “outperforming” expectations, according to the latest Advertising Association/WARC Expenditure Report.

This figure is 7.7 percentage points ahead of the previous forecast in April, as all media recovered compared to the lockdowns experienced during the first quarter of 2021.

As a result, the outlook for the total UK advertising market in 2022 has been upgraded (+0.2 percentage points) to 10.9% growth, with ad spend set to reach a new high of £35.4bn. These figures also reflect what the AA/WARC describes as the “consistent growth” of online advertising, which is forecast to account for 74.3% of all spend in 2022, compared to 73.5% last year.

Online formats – notably search, display (including social) and classified – grew the most in absolute terms, as the market share reached 74.9% for online channels combined. Triple and quadruple digit recoveries were seen in the outdoor and cinema sectors, respectively. The publishing and direct mail sectors also saw growth over the first quarter, resulting in improved outlooks for the year ahead.

However, despite the “encouraging growth” across most sectors, the impact of inflation means real growth in the UK’s ad market is expected to be just 1.8% in 2022. AA/WARC predicts the erosion of margins due to increased costs may affect marketing budgets, with inflationary pressures likely to continue into 2023.

Based on this latest data, the UK ad market is expected to grow by a further 4.4% in 2023, to a value of £37bn. This figure is, however, a one percentage point downgrade from the April forecast and equates to a 0.9% contraction in real terms. Due to the continued inflationary pressures, coupled with the level of geopolitical uncertainty, AA/WARC warn the UK advertising market is liable to see “further headwinds on the horizon.”

While encouraged by the growth seen over the first quarter, Advertising Association CEO Stephen Woodford reiterates the pressures of inflation on living standards and economic growth could represent a “real-term contraction” of nearly 1% in 2023 for UK ad investment.

Despite the relatively “soft landing” from the turmoil of Covid in 2021, WARC director of data, intelligence and forecasting James McDonald expects higher costs to carve into advertisers’ margins going forward.

McDonald’s hikes cost of cheeseburger for first time in over a decade

mcdonald'sMcDonald’s is putting up the price of a cheeseburger for the first time in more than 14 years, as the fast-food giant claims to be facing “tough choices” due to the ongoing inflation crisis.

The price of a cheeseburger has increased from 99p to £1.19, while prices for other items will rise between 10p and 20p. These include breakfast meals, large coffees, McNugget share boxes and upgrades from medium to large meals, the company confirmed. However, prices may vary as those outlets operated by franchisees set prices based on recommendations from McDonald’s.

According to an analysis by the BBC, if the price of a cheeseburger had increased in line with inflation it would now cost £1.42.

In an email to customers, McDonald’s UK and Ireland chief executive Alistair Macrow explained the company had “delayed and minimised” these price changes for as long as it could, recognising that “any price increases are not good news”.

Presenting its second quarter results on Tuesday, McDonald’s confirmed it was considering adding more discounted menu options, after seeing European customers on lower incomes choosing to buy cheaper items and fewer big meal deals.

CEO Chris Kempcziski suggested the possible need to “lean into the value end” of the McDonald’s portfolio amid the cost of living crunch. He also stated the fast-food chain’s intention to focus on loyalty and driving the number of digital sales, which represented almost a third of system-wide sales in the second quarter. The MyMcDonald’s Rewards loyalty programme, for example, rolled out across the UK earlier this month, after launching in the US last year.

Overall, McDonald’s global comparable sales increased 9.7% in the second quarter, including a 3.7% rise in the US and 13% increase in international markets. However, operating income fell 36% to $1.71bn (£1.42bn), related in large part to the financial impact of permanently exiting the Russian market earlier this year.

READ MORE: McDonald’s puts up price of cheeseburger for first time in 14 years

Wednesday, 27 July

Reckitt Rebrand

Dettol-owner Reckitt’s focus on innovation and penetration pays off

Reckitt, owner of brands including Dettol, Calgon, Nurofen and Durex, reports group like-for-like (LFL) revenue growth of 8.6% for the first half of the year, with price up 7.4% and volume sales up 1.2%.

For the second quarter alone LFL revenue grew 11.9%, as price jumped 9.7% and volume increased 2.2%. The firm’s health, nutrition and hygiene portfolios all delivered “strong” growth, with health revenue up 24.2%, nutrition up 26.8%, and hygiene up 8.9% when excluding the Lysol cleaning brand, which was down “as expected” after experiencing increased demand during Covid.

CEO Laxham Narasimhan credits innovation and “improved in-market execution” with driving “sustained, broad-based revenue growth and market share momentum” across Reckitt’s portfolio.

For example, dishwashing brand Finish saw net revenue grow in the high-single digits, “underpinned” by its latest Quantum All in 1 innovation. The brand is now delivering “better performance” to “mid-tier” consumers.

Meanwhile, with Lysol’s net revenue over 50% higher than pre-pandemic levels as consumers continue to exhibit “elevated” hygiene behaviours, and Dettol’s stabilising at around 40% higher, Reckitt is continuing to focus on “new demand spaces” for the brands. Innovations include the launch of Lysol’s On the Go range and Dettol’s Tru Protect 4in1 laundry pods.

“The actions we have taken to broaden the shoulders of our Lysol and Dettol franchises, combined with our innovation and penetration building initiatives, have built a significantly larger, sustainable base from which we will grow,” Narasimhan says.

Moving forward, mitigating the “very challenging” inflationary environment is a “key focus” for the organisation, he says. However, the business is “confident” about the rest of the year.

“We have built a stronger, more resilient business around our portfolio of trusted brands in growth categories. Despite challenging conditions, we are confident about the rest of the year, we are already delivering sustainable mid-single digit net revenue growth, and remain firmly on track to deliver our medium-term adjusted operating margin goal,” he says.

Shop price inflation hits new high

Annual shop price inflation has accelerated to 4.4% in July, up from 3.1% in June, according to the latest BRC-Nielsen IQ Shop Price Index.

The figure marks the highest rate of shop price inflation since the index began in 2005, and is well over the 12 and six month average price increases of 1.5% and 2.8%, respectively.

Food inflation rocketed from 5.6% to 7%, the highest rate since May 2009, as the war in Ukraine caused the cost and availability of animal feed, fertiliser and produce to rise sharply. According to the British Retail Consortium’s CEO Helen Dickinson, some of the bigger price rises were seen in dairy products, including lard, cooking fats and butter.

Non-food inflation rose from 1.9% to 3%, another record-high. Prices were hit by rising shipping prices, production costs and continued disruption in China, Dickinson says.

“As inflation reaches new heights, retailers are doing all they can to absorb as much of these rising costs as possible and to look for efficiencies in their businesses and supply chain,” she explains.

“Nevertheless, households and businesses must prepare for a difficult period as inflationary pressures hit home.”

NielsenIQ’s head of retailer and business insight, Mike Watkins, says the grocery industry “in particular” is under intense pressure as it tries to “shield” customers from inflation.

“At the same time there has been an increase in competitive intensity so customer retention over the summer holiday season will be key to help stem any further fall in volumes,” he adds.

Sue Ryder launches first TV ad to promote ‘better’ grief support

Bereavement support charity Sue Ryder is on a mission to make sure no one struggles with grief alone, after finding through research that 70% of people have been unable to access the support they would have liked.

With the launch of its first TV ad, the charity aims to start a national conversation about bereavement and raise awareness around the different ways people grieve and how friends and family can support them.

Created by creative agency GOOD, the ad forms the next stage of the charity’s  ‘Grief Kind’ campaign. Since launching in 2021 the campaign has engaged over 200,000 people, with 95,000 Grief Kind cards ordered, 22,000 listens of the Grief Kind podcast, and 12,000 views of Grief Kind classes online.

“Everyone’s experience of grief is unique, but you don’t have to be a trained counsellor to support someone who has experienced a bereavement,” says senior marketing manager Susie Darcy.

“Our Grief Kind campaign aims to help people meet grief with warmth and acceptance, rather than fear of saying or doing the wrong thing,”

The spot is directed by director Joanna Bailey, and produced by Snapper Films. The media partner is Media Lab.

Sue Ryder launched its first ever brand campaign in 2019 to raise awareness of its services, after introducing a five-year strategy the year prior. The strategy saw Sue Ryder add bereavement to its mission for the first time, alongside palliative and neurological support.

IMF warns global economy ‘teetering’ on recession

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has downgraded growth projections for this year and next, warning the global outlook has “darkened significantly”.

A “tentative” recovery in 2021 has been followed by “increasingly gloomy” developments this year, including higher-than-expected inflation worldwide, rising interest rates, the impact of the war in Ukraine, and a slowdown in Chinese growth.

As such, the IMF forecasts a slow in global growth from 6.1% last year to 3.2% in 2022, 0.4 percentage points lower than projected in April.

The UK is now forecast to grow by 3.2% in 2022 and by just 0.5% in 2023, a downgrade of 0.5 points and 0.7 points, respectively. The UK is expected to be the weakest of the G7 economies in 2023, with Italy to grow 0.7%, Germany by 0.8%, France and the US by 1%, Japan by 1.7%, and Canada by 1.8%.

“The outlook has darkened significantly since April. The world may soon be teetering on the edge of a global recession, only two years after the last one,” chief economist Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas warned at the launch of the latest IMF World Economic Outlook report.

“In particular, a full shutdown of Russian gas flows to Europe or inflation pressures remaining more elevated than they’ve been in the past. And we’ve been repeatedly surprised by the persistence and the broadening of inflation in recent times, and also an increase in financial tightening around the world.”

Gourinchas said multilateral cooperation between countries will be “key” in areas ranging from the climate transition to food security and debt distress.

“Amid great challenge and strife, strengthening cooperation remains the best way to improve economic prospects for all and mitigate the risk of geo-economic fragmentation,” he added.

ITV’s mental health campaign ‘Britain Get Talking’ returns

ITV’s ‘Britain Get Talking’ campaign is returning to screens with a new film, which encourages adults to start conversations with teenagers as a way to tackle the growing mental health crisis among young people.

The broadcaster claims the campaign is the UK’s “most recognised” mental health campaign, after first launching in 2019. The new campaign, created by Uncommon Creative Studio, addresses the difficulties young people face in opening up about their challenges, using subtitles to illustrate how a parent and child really feel during a difficult conversation about school as opposed to what they say.

The ad aims to give adults hope they can break through to their teens, while the wider campaign seeks to give them the time and tools to have those conversations.

Britain Get Talking is supported by charities Mind and YoungMinds, and by SAMH in Scotland. Research indicates that Britons have had 100 million new and more meaningful conversations as a result of the campaign.

“Britain Get Talking has always been about connecting, which is one of the most powerful ways we can look after our mental health,” says ITV’s director of social purpose Susie Braun.

“We hope this campaign can be a reminder to anyone with a teenager in their lives to keep making time to break through.”

The film first aired on ITV’s Good Morning Britain yesterday (Tuesday 26) and will run throughout the channel and STV this Summer. The campaign will also include on screen breakthrough moments interrupting the broadcaster’s programming throughout the week.

Tuesday, 26 July

Source: Unilever

Unilever hails ‘strong investment’ in brands as sales rise despite inflation

Unilever has recorded underlying sales growth of 8.1% for the first half of 2022, which CEO Alan Jope says was driven by “strong pricing to mitigate cost inflation”.

The measures taken to offset inflation have impacted volume sales “as expected”, which is down 1.6% for the first six months of the year. Underlying operating profit, meanwhile, has increased by 4.1%.

“Unilever has delivered a first half performance which builds on our momentum of 2021, despite the challenges of high inflation and slower global growth,” he adds.

Jope says Unilever made further progress against its strategic priorities over the period and is “maintaining strong investment” in its brands. The business “stepped up” brand and marketing investment by €200m (£169m) in constant exchange rates in the first half, which equated to a 40bps contribution to margin.

This supported a 9.4% underlying sales growth for its ‘billion+ Euro’ brands, which account for more than 50% of group turnover.

Ecommerce sales now represent 14% of Unilever’s turnover, up from 6% pre-pandemic in 2019.

Looking forward, Jope says Unilever began the planned restructure of the organisation on 1 July, with the introduction of a “simpler, more category-focused” model.

“This major change to Unilever’s operating model is an important further step that will underpin the delivery of consistent growth, which remains our first priority. The challenges of inflation persist and the global macroeconomic outlook is uncertain, but we remain intensely focused on operational excellence and delivery in 2022 and beyond.”

Bugatti looks to broaden appeal with new brand identity

Source: Interbrand

Luxury car marque Bugatti has unveiled a new brand identity as it looks to move beyond its “exclusive” positioning and become a “wider-reaching luxury brand”.

‘Create the Incomparable’ forms the foundation of the overhaul, which takes inspiration from founder Ettore Bugatti’s motto, “If comparable, it is no longer Bugatti”.

The brand hopes the move will make it “bolder, more self-confident, more modern, more progressive” and help it drive growth going forward.

The French automotive brand describes its new corporate identity as a “key part” of its evolution as it looks to expand its portfolio, including the introduction of new technologies, as well as exploring opportunities “outside the automotive territory”.

Hendrik Malinowski, managing director for sales and marketing at Bugatti Automobiles, references models like the Veyron and Chiron as being central to the development of the brand’s new identity.

He says: “We did not just create a new look and feel. We analysed where we came from, the historical connection we intensively referenced to when re-installing the brand and the Veyron in the 2000s. We evaluated, how did the Chiron change Bugatti’s positioning and brand appeal, how did the world change during the last 10 years. Don’t forget, at the time the Veyron came out, the iPhone did not yet exist.”

Bugatti developed the new corporate identity with Interbrand.

Amazon increases annual Prime subscription by 20%

Amazon is increasing the price of its Prime subscription in the UK for the first time since 2014, with the increase coming as a result of “increased inflation and operating costs”.

From September, a monthly subscription will go up by £1 to £8.99, a £12.5% increase. An annual Prime subscription, meanwhile, which includes unlimited deliveries for online shopping, access to Amazon’s video and music streaming services and Amazon Fresh grocery deliveries, will rise by 20%, from £79 to £95.

Amazon says the fees hike follows a series of improvements to the Prime service.

“We have increased the number of products available with fast unlimited Prime delivery, recently added ultra-fast fresh grocery delivery, and have significantly expanded our high-quality digital entertainment, including TV, movies, music, games, and books,” a spokesperson said.

The price rise will come into effect from 15 September and will be activated when members’ contracts come up for renewal.

READ MORE: Amazon UK to charge £1 more a month for Prime service from September

Households have 12.1% less cash to spend on non-essentials

The amount of spare cash the average family had to spend in June dropped by £135, a 12.1% decline compared to a year ago, according to the latest data from the Retail Economics-HyperJar Cost of Living Tracker.

Across economy as a whole, this amounts to £3.9bn as spend on non-essential items gets reined-in.

As a result, two-thirds (32.7%) of UK households say they are now putting strict limits on the amount they spend on food each week.

The poorest households have been the worst affected, with inflation across their spending in June hitting 12.1%, higher than the official rate of 9.4%, as people in this bracket spend a disproportionate amount of their income on food and fuel.

The least affluent households saw the amount of sprae cash they have drop by 15.6% equating to £77 less per month to spend on non-essential items. The most affluent households, meanwhile, saw their spare cash drop by £146 per month, a decline of 3.2%.

As well as limiting spend on food shops, three quarters of people are also planning to cut back on takeaways (74.1%), while 72.8% of households expect to eat out less. Holidays (51%), cinema trips (47.2%), day trips in the car (45.8%) and local car journeys (39.7%) are also going to be limited.

Richard Lim, CEO of Retail Economics, says: “The amount of spare cash available for families continues to vanish at an astonishing rate – especially for the most vulnerable in society. Many households have no choice but cut back across all areas of their discretionary spending as their financial positions are plunged into the red.

“For others, the bleaker economic outlook has encouraged a much more cautious approach to spending and they are trading down and delaying across many discretionary areas.”

Amazon Books launches global campaign to inspire reading

Amazon Books has launched a global campaign designed to inspire people to read and “feel the rewards” of getting lost in a good book.

‘The Reading Feeling Awaits’, created in partnership with Droga5 London, highlights the “invisible magic” that is created every time a reader picks up a book.

A series of online videos look to show the emotions a reader feels towards the key characters when they are engrossed in a book, such as awe, love, fear and loss.

Each scene starts wide before zooming in to the reader and then flipping to their perspective and showing the book come to life. It will be supported by social, digital and out of home.

The campaign will run in the UK and the US from the end of July and through out the summer in two bursts.

Josh Fein, director of worldwide marketing at Amazon Books, says: “That Reading Feeling Awaits is our call to crack open that hardcover or switch on your Kindle to feel the rewards of the immersive reading experience.”

Monday, 25 July


Co-op cuts 400 jobs amid cost pressures

The Co-op Group is to cut 400 jobs at its Manchester head office as it aims to curb costs amid a “tough” economic environment.

Co-op employs more than 63,000 people including 4,000 at its head offices. It also owns retailer Nisa, where it is consulting on cutting an additional 50 jobs. The group has emphasised that none of the job cuts will be in customer-facing roles in its stores or funeral homes.

The retailer warned in April of continuing problems with food supplies and inflation after its annual profits more than halved amid supply chain disruption and higher staff wages.

It says the job cuts are designed to “simplify” the business and are the “right thing to do for the long-term health” of the group. It says it will try to reduce roles through closing open vacancies and through voluntary redundancy where possible.

“At our last set of annual results, we shared, that as part of our strategy, making our Co-op more efficient and cost-effective was a priority. The tough trading environment, including rising inflation, means we have taken the difficult decision to bring forward some of the changes we had planned for 2023,” the group says in a statement.

“These changes, designed to simplify our approach to business, will sadly mean a number of colleagues in central functions will leave the business.”

READ MORE: Co-op Group to cut 400 jobs at Manchester head office

Competition watchdog approves BT and Warner Bros Discovery joint venture

Source: BT

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has approved a joint venture between BT Group and Warner Bros Discovery, which will see BT Sport and Eurosport UK combined in the UK and Ireland.

The deal between BT and Warner Bros Discovery was struck in May but was subject to the approval of the CMA before it could proceed. The approval from the competition watchdog now allows the two companies to merge their assets.

BT and Warner Bros Discovery say they will initially retain the separate branding and product propositions of BT Sport and Eurosport UK, before bringing them together under a single brand in the future.

The crown jewel in BT Sport’s broadcasting rights is the Premier League, and Eurosport UK has rights to the Olympic Games, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League.

Executives from the companies involved in the joint venture (JV) have called the approval from the CMA “a big win for fans”.

“It’s great news that the CMA has approved the new JV that we are forming with Warner Bros. Discovery, combining the very best of BT Sport and Eurosport UK, to create an exciting new offer for live sport programming in the UK,” says future chairman of the joint venture and CEO of BT’s consumer division Marc Allera.

“Today is a huge milestone, as we now look toward day one of the new business, which we hope to be in the coming weeks.”

NatWest launches new iteration of brand platform

NatWest has launched a new iteration of its brand platform ‘Tomorrow Begins Today’, which encourages people to take action for a better future.

The latest iteration of the platform was creatively concepted and executed by agency The&Partnership. It looks to encourage consumers to gain financial confidence in order to create a better tomorrow for themselves, and presents NatWest as a supportive force for this.

The campaign is led by an energic video soundtracked by Gwen Stefani’s ‘What you waiting for?’. British rapper Lady Leshurr provides the voiceover. It was first debuted during Friday night’s Love Island.

NatWest has also partnered with TikTok to work with creators and expand the audiences the brand can reach with its message of spreading financial confidence.

“This is a creative vehicle which is built from the ground up in terms of insight and data, but also one which is bursting at the seams with energy, confidence, inclusivity and swagger,” says NatWest chief marketing officer Margaret Jobling.

“It’s a platform which we’ll continue to build on and develop, as we launch exciting new initiatives over the coming months to help the people and businesses of Britain thrive and reach their goals sooner.”

Decathlon launches sports equipment rental service range

Sports retailer Decathlon has launched a rental service, which allows shoppers to “pay-per-use” on a range of products.

The range, which include stand-up paddleboards, kayaks and e-bikes, will be available for consumers to rent with the idea of making these activities more affordable during the cost of living crisis.

The products will be available to rent per hour, rather than per day. The initiative is being launched in four stores in different parts of the UK, but the retailer intends to roll it out further across the country.

Under the initiative, a kayak will cost £30 to rent for the day, £15 for the next day, and £10 for subsequent days. This means that the cost to rent a kayak for a week would work out at 56p per hour.

Earlier this year, Decathlon partnered with clothes hire platform Hirestreet to allow consumers to rent out ski and hiking wear, in a bid to become more sustainable.

Decathlon’s rental lead Sharon Poulter says the new initiative is “an excitement development”.

“Our mission is to make sports more accessible to the many, and offering rental services is definitely the most environmentally-friendly way to do so. All of our rental products are refurbished or ‘like new’, creating a genuinely circular economy.”

READ MORE: Decathlon launches rental service to make sports more affordable

Office attendance up by one third since January, says workplace provider

Workplace provider IWG, which operates brands including co-working company Regus, has reported office attendance has risen by a third since January.

The group claims its data not only shows that office attendance is continuing to rise, but that having a branch of Pret a Manger nearby boosts it further. It says there have been major upticks in visits to its office and co-working spaces in regional towns and cities with Pret branches in the area.

While IWG says workers are returning to its offices, it also says businesses and workers have moved away from major cities. The group has opened more rural and suburban offices over recent months and reports that these are becoming increasingly popular, as workers shun big cities to stay local.

Earlier this month, Pret reported a return to profitability. The sandwich shop chain has been increasingly focused on its regional offering and saw sales grow faster outside the capital than in London.

IWG CEO Mark Dixon says that changes which occurred over the pandemic are “irreversible”.

“The data shows that more workers are choosing to base themselves in offices closer to home, and that the era of long daily commutes is well and truly over,” he says. “Gone are the days of having to choose between working locally and having your favourite sandwich for lunch, which only strengthens the allure of working in the heart of your local community.”

READ MORE: Office attendance continues to climb – and it helps if you’ve got a Pret nearby




    Leave a comment