Co-op, Channel 4, Morrisons latest: 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.


Co-op charity ad promotes food banks

Co-op has pulled its planned Easter television ad campaign and will instead donate the airtime, worth £2.5m, to promote the fight against Covid-19.

Partnering with the charity FareShare, the retailer has also created an ad paying tribute to the many local heroes in the fight against the pandemic and encouraging viewers to support food banks.

Co-op retail CEO Jo Whitfield says: “In these times of national crisis, foodbanks are a lifeline for those who rely on the donations to feed their families.

“Every day we are seeing outstanding acts of kindness as communities pull together to support those who are struggling, and our amazing Co-op members and customers tell us they want to help to support their communities and do right by those in greatest need.

“I’m delighted we can make it easy for them to donate what they can to help FareShare and its very own band of local heroes. If we all co-operate together, we can make a huge difference.”

FareShare CEO Lindsey Boswell adds: “As we face up to the coronavirus crisis, we’re determined to do everything we can to continue getting food to those who are most vulnerable.

“The money raised by generous Co-op customers will enable FareShare to provide emergency food supplies to frontline charities in communities across the UK.”

Channel 4 reacts to Covid-19 crisis with budget cuts

National broadcaster Channel 4 is to cut its marketing budget as it looks to weather the ongoing Covid-19 storm.

With ad revenues taking an unprecedented hit, the commercially funded channel has needed to introduce urgent measures.

The television ad market is expected to fall by 50% over the next two months, a reduced marketing budget is expected to help the broadcaster save up to £95m.

Channel 4 CEO Alex Mahon says: “As a commercially funded business, the Covid-19 outbreak has had a severe impact on our advertising revenues and so we are taking action now to manage our costs appropriately and ensure that we both protect our staff and our ongoing ability to serve our audience.

“We are committed to safeguarding our long-term ability to invest in distinctive and challenging content and create jobs and opportunities in the sector across the UK.”

Common Goal launches Covid-19 response fund

CommonGoalCommon Goal, the international football social impact movement, has created a special fund to help tackle the Covid-19 pandemic.

The initiative will focus on young people in deprived communities and conflict settings and will help tackle the immediate effects of the pandemic, and also ensure that support continues beyond the initial response.

A campaign, created in collaboration with the Jung von Matt/SPORTS agency, to promote the fund, features the voices of of Juan Mata, Giorgio Chiellini, Vero Boquete, Serge Gnabry and Eric Cantona.

Manchester United player Mata features in the first 90-minute ‘Live Match’ on Instagram, when he will interact with fans, fellow players and one of the world’s leading medical authorities on the Coronavirus.

Mata’s Instagram event takes place on Thursday at 6pm UK time.

Top Shop seeks to raise millions to ensure survival

The Arcadia Group is trying to raise a reported sum of £50m as it struggles to cope with the ongoing damage caused by the pandemic.

The funding would be raised against its distribution centre in Daventry, Northamptonshire, and will be used to support ailing TopShop and Dorothy Perkins stores.

Arcadia is scheduled to hold a board meeting on Thursday to discuss the damage caused by Covid-19.

The group has already been forced to furlough 14,500 of its employees and faces further financial woe if, as expected, Debenhams ends up going into administration, with a high number of concession operations based in the stores.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: High street tycoon Green seeks £50m to prop up Arcadia

Morrisons partners with Deliveroo for home delivery service

A Morrisons and Deliveroo grocery on-demand home delivery service aims to help customers access 70 household items during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Goods will be delivered by a Deliveroo rider in 30 minutes.

Morrisons CEO David Potts says: “Our partnership with Deliveroo will help us to continue to play our full part in feeding the nation.

“Customers will be able to order essential products from Morrisons biked by Deliveroo to the door in as little as under 30 minutes.

“It’s a great combination of traditional and modern methods and it will provide more vulnerable people with the opportunity to receive their home delivery.”

Deliveroo’s vice-president of new business Ajay Lakhwani adds: “With families and vulnerable people in isolation, it is more important than ever that we make sure they have access to the essential household items they need.

“During this worrying period, we want to play our role in making sure people have access to a range of items, in particular the vulnerable who cannot leave their homes.”

Items will be priced the same as Morrisons stores and there will be a flat £4.99 delivery fee (unless customers have the Deliveroo Plus service).

The service will be available from more than 130 Morrisons stores and on the Deliveroo app or website.

Wednesday, 8 April

Tesco social distancing

Tesco sees 30% sales uplift amid coronavirus panic buying

Tesco says it saw “significant panic buying” in the first few weeks of the coronavirus outbreak, causing a 30% sales rise in the UK and a shortage of certain products.

However, the supermarket says buying behaviours have now stabilised, with “more normal” sales volumes being experienced. It has increased capacity on online shopping by 20%, but says between 85% and 90% of food bought will require a visit to store, meaning it will priorities home delivery for the most vulnerable in society.

Tesco CEO Dave Lewis says: “In this time of crisis we have focused on four things: Food for all, safety for everyone, supporting our colleagues and supporting our communities.

“Tesco is a business that rises to a challenge and this will be no different. I would like to thank colleagues for their unbelievable commitment and customers for their help and understanding. Together, we can do this.”

While sales were up, Tesco says Covid-19 has had a “significant impact” on its business and it is incurring significant costs, including in payroll as it has recruited 45,000 more staff. It estimates these costs will be between £650m and £925m.

If customer shopping returns to normal by August it expects the costs to be offset by increased volumes, rates relief and operations management.

Asos sales fall by 20% as coronavirus impacts business

Asos has seen sales fall by between 20% and 25% in its most recent three weeks of trading as consumers react to the coronavirus outbreak.

The ecommerce company says there was a sharp drop in demand as lockdown measures were rolled out across Europe but that has since “partially moderated”. And where consumers are in lockdown, Asos is “an important part of their lives”.

Asos CEO Nick Beighton says: “We have been focused on keeping our business delivering for customers while implementing a series of aactions to mitigate the sales impact we have been experiencing.

“The Asos business model provides us with significant resilience and we are encouraged to have seen, across our markets, that where consumers are in lockdown Asos continues to be an important part of the lives. The Covid crisis is clearly going to be tough for everyone and the short-term routlook remains highly uncertain but the measures we have taken ensure we are able to be clearly focused on making sure that Asos emerges as a stronger and better business.”

PepsiCo backs digital concert to support fight against Covid-19

PepsiCo is suspending its ‘That’s What I Like’ marketing campaign to instead promote an online concert aimed at highlighting healthcare workers and the work organisations are doing to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

The One World: Together At Home concert will be livestreamed on 18 April as part of an initiative by Global Citizen and supported by Pepsi. It will feature acts including Lady Gaga, Paul McCartney, Elton John, Billie Joe Armstrong and Alanis Morissette.

It will be available on TV networks in the US, as well as online via YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Yahoo, Amazon Prime Video and Apple Music. The BBC will also show the concert in the UK the following day.

Pepsi is reallocating planned ad budgets to publicise the show, as well as offers its expertise in areas including marketing and talent procurement. The aim is not to ask people to donate but to raise money from businesses and brands ahead of time.

READ MORE: Global Citizen Teams With Pepsi for Virtual Concert to Help Those Impacted by COVID-19

Kraft Heinz sees sales bump from Covid-19

Kraft Heinz has seen a sales bump amid the Covid-19 outbreak as consumers forced into lockdown buy more of its brands.

The company had previously expected sales to experience a low single digital drop in its fiscal first quarter but is now expecting sales to rise 3% and organic net sales to rise 6%. However, it does not expect this to flow through to its profits as it has to meet rising supply chain costs, a decline in foodservice sales and unfavourable currency moves.

The company is due to release its first quarter earnings on 30 April. It was also due to update on its strategy in May but this has been postponed as the company deals with the impact of the pandemic.

“Right now, our mission as a company has never been clearer: we have a huge responsibility to keep feeding the world,” says CEO Miguel Patricio. “Each leader on our team is focused on making the company and our global business as flexible and agile as possible to meet demand forecasts that are changing daily – and sometimes, hour by hour.”

Waitrose launches e-gift card for self-isolating customers

Waitrose is introducing an e-gift card for self-isolating customers who want a way to pay for groceries that might be delivered by volunteers, family or friends – including those signed up to help via the government NHS Volunteers initiative.

People who are unable to get to the shops can buy an e-gift card online and have it emailed directly to someone who might be doing the shopping on their behalf. The idea is to give self-isolating household the ability to pay for their shopping without having to take out cash, share bank card details or transfer money online.

John Lewis Partnership executive director of customer service Bérangère Michel says: “We are pleased to be able to support our customers and the nation’s brilliant army of volunteers during these unprecedented times. Local communities have really rallied around those unable to get to the shops themselves and we want to make it as simple as possible for kind-hearted volunteers to get essential groceries to them.”

Waitrose and its sister brand John Lewis are also giving away 50,000 boxes of Easter confectionary to NHS workers as a show of appreciation. The boxes include truffles and mini Easter eggs and will be given away across 51 Waitrose shops when NHS staff visit from this Friday until the Easter weekend. The branches were picked due to their proximity to NHS hospitals.

Google bans ads around 5G coronavirus conspiracy theories

Google is cracking down on advertising around misleading content that links 5G mobile technology to the coronavirus outbreak.

The company has banned ads on its search service for search terms and keywords that relate to the false information, as well as banning all videos that link the two. The move comes after the conspiracy theory gained traction online and at least 20 mobile phone masts were damaged in arson attacks in recent weeks.

The likes of Google and Facebook have come under pressure to stop the spread of misinformation amid concerns that the damage to critical infrastructure could put lives at risk because emergence services rely on technology.

Facebook is also taking steps to remove content that links coronavirus and 5G, with its Whatsapp messaging service limiting the number of times a message can be forwarded to try to slow the spread of misinformation.

Digital services have previously faced criticism for not stamping out ads that attempting to profit from the pandemic, for example by promoting key equipment such as face masks and hand sanitiser at huge mark-ups.

READ MORE: Google bans adverts on 5G conspiracy theories

Tuesday, 7 April

Women’s Aid launches ad to highlight rise in domestic abuse

Women’s Aid is launching a campaign to highlight the rise in domestic abuse due to the government lockdown.

The national domestic abuse charity has experienced a 41% increase in users visiting its Live Chat service, compared to the previous week, with a marked increase in visitors across all digital support services since the government introduced the new rules.

‘The Lockdown’, created by Engine, shows empty streets and public spaces throughout the UK while the nation is on lockdown. It ends with a statement reminding people that “domestic abusers are no longer walking among us, they’re locked in with their families instead”.

Women’s Aid acting CEO Nicki Norman says: “Covid-19 household isolation is having a direct impact on survivors with abuse already escalating and we have seen this reflected in demand for our digital services. Accessing support online can be a safer option for survivors unable leave the household as it can be done discreetly, quietly and in private. The restrictions of the pandemic have shut down many physical routes to safety and support.”

The ad will run on social channels and in donated media including in The Guardian in print and digital, as well as Sky and Eurosport.

Chartered Institute of Marketing lowers age of accreditation

The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) is lowering the age of accreditation in order to make it more relevant and accessible to younger marketers.

The changes represent a shift in the skills required of marketers with the aim of providing businesses with an up to date indicator when it comes to appointing qualified marketing talent.

The changes came into force at the beginning of the month and will now require the following: three years’ experience (or level six qualification); two years of recorded Continuing Professional Development (CPD); and completion of the Chartered assessment.

Previously, marketers needed to hold a Member or Fellow grade CIM membership, and have submitted two years’ CPD at this level. This was in addition to holding a Level 7 qualification in marketing, which is the equivalent to a Master’s degree.

CEO of The Chartered Institute of Marketing, Chris Daly, says: “Marketing is a key function in delivering business growth, so it’s essential that we equip marketers with the most up to date training and accreditation to ensure they can prove their worth as a key driver of performance.”

The decision also brings CIM in line with other Chartered bodies. The average age for chartered status in accountancy and management, for example, is just 24. The earliest a marketer can secure the status is around 29. The changes will make 7,000 younger marketers eligible for the accreditation.

Daly says: “We pride ourselves on setting the standard for professional marketing. These changes will have a significant impact on younger marketers, who will benefit from the new opportunities their chartered status will unlock, as they progress in their careers.”

EasyJet secures Treasury loan as founder warns it will run out of cash

The founder of EasyJet has warned that the airline will run out of cash by August if an order for more than 100 new Airbus jets is not cancelled.

Stelios Haji-Ioannou, who has no executive role but whose family controls a third of the carrier’s shares, is seeking to remove the chief financial officer, Andrew Findlay citing the company’s financial difficulties during coronavirus.

In an open letter the businessman says: “If this £4.5bn liability to Airbus is preserved – and not cancelled – by the EasyJet board then, I regret to report, EasyJet will run out of money around August 2020, perhaps even earlier.”

EasyJet has secured a £600m loan from the Treasury and Bank of England’s emergency coronavirus fund, but Haji-Ioannou, claimed it would run out of cash by December regardless and is adamant the budget airline needs to cancel its order of planes.

In response, EasyJet CEO Johan Lundgren says: “We remain absolutely focused on ensuring the long-term future of the airline, reducing our costs and preserving jobs, to make sure EasyJet is in the best position to resume flying once the pandemic is over.”

In response to the coronavirus pandemic and the collapse in demand among passengers, the airline has grounded its entire fleet throughout April and May and will be furloughing approximately 4,000 of 9,000 pilots and crew during April and May.

READ MORE: EasyJet secures £600m coronavirus loan from UK Treasury and Bank

Bacardi partners with Deliveroo to support bartenders

Bacardi is partnering with Deliveroo to support bartenders during the coronavirus.

The spirits brand is teaming up with Deliveroo Editions to launch its #RaiseYourSpirits virtual bar as part of an initial £1.5m investment to support the hospitality industry during the government lockdown.

The initiative, which will launch in London and Manchester next week, aims to give more than 120 bars a platform to sell their drinks to local customers across the country.

Focusing on smaller, independent bars which have no corporate support, #RaiseYourSpirits recognises will help smaller bars deliver to homes and keep afloat during this difficult time for hospitality.

Bacardi UK & Ireland’s managing director Amanda Almond says: “Our strong relationships with bars and bartenders in the UK is incredibly important to us, and as we face the current challenges together, we’re doing all we can to provide the support they need. We have 158 years’ experience of overcoming crises and coming out fighting, and through our #RaiseYourSpirits initiative, we intend to do exactly that for our On-Trade partners.”

Bacardi is also hiring bartenders to host training events or to serve cocktails at events and pay their fees in advance.

Paddy Power launches mini series

Paddy Power is launching a comedy series to entertain people during lockdown.

The four-part online series follows an out-of-work dinosaur mascot called Frank The Tank as he gets into various escapades.The first episode earned more than 1 million views within 48 hours over the weekend.

The gambling company’s head of content and channels, Jack Wilson, says: “Anyone with even a passing interest in football will know that the real stars of the sport are the mascots – so we wanted to take fans behind the scenes to see what their life is like away from the pitch.

“Unfortunately, that wasn’t possible, so we just had to imagine what it might be like instead. We hope it gives our followers a smile, and an escape from the news updates for five minutes or so.”

Monday 6 April

Apple iPhone 11 ProApple to make face shields for medics amid Covid-19 pandemic

Apple is making face shields for medical workers in a bid to help health services deal with the coronavirus crisis.

In a tweet, Apple chief executive Tim Cook says the tech company plans to make more than 1 million shields a week, the first shipment of which was delivered last week to hospitals in Silicon Valley, California. The plastic face shields, which can be assembled in less than two minutes, will be also be distributed globally.

In addition, Apple has sourced 20 million face masks, which it is donating worldwide to help protect people from the virus.

Describing the response to coronavirus as a truly global effort, Cook says Apple is working “continuously and closely with governments” to ensure the masks and face shields reach those in need.

He adds: “Our focus is on unique ways Apple can help, meeting essential needs of caregivers urgently and at a scale the circumstances require. For Apple, this is a labour of love and gratitude, and we will share more of our efforts over time.”

READ MORE: The iShield: Apple to design and make medical gear

YouTube squashes conspiracy theories linking 5G to coronavirus

YouTubeYouTube will remove content spreading conspiracy theories about the links between 5G and coronavirus after four phone masts were attacked across the UK in 24 hours.

A spokesperson reiterates that YouTube has “clear policies that prohibit videos promoting medically unsubstantiated methods to prevent the coronavirus” and says the platform is quick to remove such videos.

“We have also begun reducing recommendations of borderline content such as conspiracy theories related to 5G and coronavirus, that could misinform users in harmful ways,” the spokesperson adds.

Content that promotes conspiracies about 5G tech, but does not mention Covid-19, will not be removed. However, “borderline content” could be suppressed, causing the loss of ad revenue.

The move from YouTube comes after Vodafone confirmed two of its masts, and two it shares with O2, were targeted over the weekend, while a further three were attacked last week.

Vodafone UK chief executive, Nick Jeffery, condemned the destruction of the tech infrastructure that is providing “essential connectivity to the emergency services” during the lockdown.

READ MORE: YouTube moves to limit spread of false coronavirus 5G theory

Channel 4 pays out £5m in bonuses as TV ad market falters

Channel 4 has handed out £5m in bonuses to staff as it contemplates cost-cutting measures to cope with the hit to ad revenue caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Guardian reports that the broadcaster paid out the bonuses, which it was committed to pay based on performance last year, despite reportedly being in talks to access a government-backed £75m credit facility.

According to the publication, Channel 4 is also expected to announce a series of cost-cutting measures, including a temporary 20% pay cut for the executive team and board.

Last week, ITV confirmed that chief executive Carolyn McCall and her top team will not take a cash bonus this year and will commit to a 20% salary cut for the duration of the UK lockdown.

Channel 4 is under particular pressure during the crisis, the Guardian reports, because its £1.1bn annual revenues are derived almost entirely from advertising and sources say the broadcaster could experience a slump of more than 40% in advertising during the second quarter of 2020.

READ MORE: Channel 4 pays millions in bonuses amid coronavirus TV ad slump

Gaming industry adopts ‘stay at home’ messaging

Video games including Candy Crush Saga and Dirt Rally 2.0 will feature ‘stay at home’ messaging in a bid to help contain the spread of Covid-19.

Games from three of the UK’s leading developers will feature ads saying ‘Stay home. Save lives.’ These include Activision Blizzard-owned King, the publisher of Candy Crush, which has also donated 230 in-game digital advertising screens to carry coronavirus information.

Fellow games developer Rebellion has offered advertising space in its comics for government messaging. Rebellion’s games will display the ‘stay at home’ message on a screen shown before play begins within its Strange Brigade and Sniper Elite titles. PC gamers will also be served a link containing further information about the virus.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has now invited the UK’s remaining 2,000 games developers to get involved.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Video games add ‘stay at home’ Covid-19 adverts

Vodafone teams up with the British Red Cross on new campaign

Vodafone had launched a campaign in aid of the British Red Cross as it hopes to spread the message of staying connected during the Covid-19 outbreak.

The mobile company is using its airtime to encourage donations via a short text code shown at the end of the ad. Viewers are prompted to text to donate £5, with 100% of the donation going to the British Red Cross to support its work with vulnerable communities during the coronavirus crisis.

The ‘Keeping the UK Connected’ ad features footage of families during the lockdown exercising together, home-schooling their children, playing instruments, offering cooking demonstrations and contacting their relatives.

Other companies to have launched campaigns over the past week showing the UK staying connected during the nationwide lockdown include Giffgaff, Virgin Media and Barclays.

The release of the Vodafone campaign comes as the telecoms giant had two of its phone masts, and two it shares with O2, attacked over the weekend amid conspiracy theories linking 5G tech with the spread of the coronavirus.