London Zoo, Birds Eye, ITV: 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.

ZSL enlists Sir David Attenborough in his first ad to help save the conservation charity

ZSL, which owns London and Whipsnade zoos, has enlisted the help of Sir David Attenborough for a new campaign to help safeguard the future of the conservation charity.

Attenborough, who is lending his voice to an advert for the first time, paints a stark picture of the challenges the charity faces. Airing from 9 July, the ad, created by Wunderman Thompson, uses archive footage from the zoos and its conservation work.

ZSL director general Dominic Jermey says: “The closure of London and Whipsnade Zoos put us under immense financial pressure. Our zoos may have been able to reopen their gates, but with strict social distance measures and heavily restricted visitor numbers we have no way of recouping what was lost; we’re fighting our biggest challenge in our 200-year history.”

ZSL’s two zoos were closed for three months during the coronavirus lockdown. While they are now open, social distancing means visitor numbers have to be limited, causing a huge drop in its income. This has put huge pressure on its reserves, especially as the cost of animal care continues.

ITV reveals diversity ‘acceleration’ plan

ITV plans to accelerate the change in representation of Black, Asian and minority ethnic people, as well as other underrepresented groups, in its business and the content it broadcasts.

The broadcaster is creating a new role of group diversity and inclusion director that will sit on its management board and report to CEO Carolyn McCall. The role will head up a new diversity and inclusion team, and will lead and coordinate ITV’s activities in this area, as well as overseeing and driving ITV’s financial and operational performance against strategy.

ITV will also change commissioning to better represent Britain on screen, improve diversity and career progression in TV production, take positive action on recruitment, and work to educate and develop staff so they understand racism and their role in creating an inclusive culture.

McCall says: We have engaged with and listened to our people and there is clear commitment to accelerate change by creating more opportunities.  Our plan sets out some of the actions which will create more openings for those from a Black, Asian and minority ethnic background to demonstrate their talent.

“We want a culture where everyone feels comfortable being themselves and we will listen actively to the lived experiences of colleagues so that we continue to build a fully inclusive culture. I know that everyone across ITV will put their weight and energy behind making that happen.”

Gyms, beauty salons and pools to reopen as lockdown eases further

Gyms, beauty salons, swimming pools and leisure centres will be able to reopen in the coming days in England as the government further eases lockdown restrictions.

Outdoor pools can reopen from Saturday (11 July), while indoor gyms, swimming pools and sports facilities can reopen from Saturday, 25 July as long as they follow guidance on social distancing and cleaning. Some team sports such as cricket will be allowed from this weekend, as will outdoor theatre and music. All, however, must follow limits on the number of people allowed.

Beauticians, tattoo parlours, spas, and tanning salons can open from Monday (13 July). However, there will still be restrictions on procedures carried out directly in front of the face, such as facials.

Culture secretary Oliver Dowden, speaking at a press conference yesterday, said:“We pressed pause on many of the things that brighten our lives but as we’ve made huge progress against this disease, we’ve gradually seen the things we love return. Normal life is slowly returning.”

READ MORE: Gyms, pools and salons to reopen shortly in England

Retail footfall starts to recover as shops reopen

Retail footfall has started to recover as shops reopened after coronavirus lockdown restrictions but remain well down on normal levels.

Data from the British Retail Consortium and ShopperTrak shows UK footfall decreased by 62.6% year on year in June, with footfall down 77.1% in the first two weeks of the month but this improving to a 53.3% decline in the remaining three weeks. This is also a 19 percentage point improvement from May.

High street footfall was down 64.5% year on year, retail parks down 33.8% and shopping centres down 68.3%.

BRC CEO Helen Dickinson says: “With lockdown measures easing, consumers are slowly re-emerging onto their high streets, shopping centres and retail parks. Footfall levels are still well below pre-coronavirus levels; however, the decline was softer than it was in May thanks to the reopening of non-essential retail stores on 15 June.

“Retail parks have performed the best because they have a broad mix of retailers, more space and on-site parking, however, high streets and shopping centres are quickly catching up. UK recovery has been sluggish, especially compared with European standards, but retailers with stores remain hopeful that the reopening of hospitality will provide a welcome boost.”

Birds Eye to swap Captain Birds Eye for ‘Captain Charlotte’

Birds Eye is replacing its brand mascot Captain Birds Eye on its packs of fish fingers with a real shopper for the first time in its 50-year history.

Charlotte Carter-Dunn, also now known as ‘Captain Charlotte’, has been selected to replace Captain Birds Eye. She was picked as part of a nationwide competition, run with retailer Iceland, to find a frozen food hero – someone who uses their freezer to reduce food costs and food waste.

Carter-Dunn stood out from more than 500 competition entrants for looking after two foster children, her impersonation of the Captain and her frozen food tips. These include organising drawers so that they don’t forget what is in there, keeping easy frozen meal components in the freezer, and buying frozen BBQ food.

Birds Eye’s UK general manager, Steve Challouma, says: “We’re excited to be temporarily replacing our iconic Captain with Charlotte, who is a real champion of the benefits of using your freezer more. Frozen food has never been more relevant and important to the average household, as shown by the invaluable tips sent in by some of the UK’s savviest shoppers.

“Saving money and reducing food waste are just two of the many benefits to using frozen food, something we’ve long been passionate about. It was clear from Charlotte’s frozen food top tips that she was worthy winner, so we hope shoppers are equally inspired by her advice to make the best use of their freezers and to discover the real variety of exciting food options that sit in the freezer aisle.”

Thursday, 9 July

Closed signGovernment unveils £30bn plan to save jobs

In his summer statement the chancellor Rishi Sunak unveiled a £30bn package to save jobs in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis.

The government is offering employers a one-off £1,000 payment for every furloughed employee retained to the end of January 2021, amid calls from the Labour Party to extend the furlough scheme for certain industries.

The chancellor outlined a £2bn Kickstart scheme to fund six-month work placements for 16 to 24-year-olds on universal credit, which covers the national minimum wage for 25 hours per week, plus national insurance and pension contributions.

The government is rolling out a £1,000 grant per trainee for companies which take on young people aged 16-24 in England. In addition, the chancellor has committed £2,000 in funding for every apprentice a business hires aged between 16 and 24, and £1,500 for every apprentice aged 25 and over.

In a bid to stimulate the hospitality industry, Sunak announced the ‘Eat out to help out’ scheme offering a 50% discount for every diner up to £10 a head from Monday to Wednesday throughout August, at participating restaurants.

The government is also cutting VAT from 20% to 5% from 13 July to 12 January 2021 on food and non-alcoholic drinks in restaurants, pubs and cafes, as well as hot takeaway food. The VAT cut also applies to hotel and B&B accommodation, and admission to attractions such as theme parks and cinemas.

Despite the package of measures fears of mass unemployment remain. Director general of the Institute of Directors, Jonathan Geldart, said the chancellor had “missed a trick” and while his peers understood the desire to focus on the young and badly affected sectors, “coronavirus has crippled many parts of the economy.”

Elsewhere, Garry Young, deputy director of the National Institute for Economic and Social Research, called the measures “badly timed” and said the incentives looked “too small to be effective”.

Others expressed concern over the cost of the coronavirus measures, with the Institute for Fiscal Studies estimating that in total the government has pledged £190bn in support since the start of the pandemic.

READ MORE: Mass unemployment feared despite Rishi Sunak’s ‘plan for jobs’

Burger King warns closures could risk 1,600 jobs

Burger KingBurger King could close 5% to 10% of its UK outlets due to the impact of Covid-19, putting 800 to 1,600 jobs at risk.

The fast food chain, which has so far reopened 370 of its 530 UK restaurants, has been pushing landlords to re-negotiate rents, an issue it calls “decisive”.

Speaking to the BBC, UK boss Alasdair Murdoch welcomed the government’s new ‘Eat out to help out’ scheme offering consumers 50% of restaurant bills up to £10 per person in August as an “innovative approach” and said the chain would get involved.

However, he claimed that such schemes will not be able to overcome the combination of fixed costs and lost sales inflicted by coronavirus, and that the country may never be able to get “over the top of this problem”.

On the restaurant closures he added: “If we can possibly avoid it, we will. We don’t want to lose any. We’ll try very hard not to, but one’s got to assume somewhere between 5% and 10% of the restaurants might not be able to survive.”

READ MORE: Burger King boss warns of UK job cuts

Facebook criticised for civil rights record by own review

FacebookFacebook has been criticised for causing “significant setbacks to civil rights” by an audit it commissioned in 2018. The news comes as the number of advertisers boycotting Facebook in support of the ‘Stop Hate for Profit’ campaign reaches close to 1,000.

While the auditors say they were hopeful that Facebook would develop “a more coherent and positive plan of action” that demonstrated its commitment to civil rights, they describe the company’s approach as “too reactive and piecemeal”.

The audit stated: “Many in the civil rights community have become disheartened, frustrated and angry after years of engagement where they implored the company to do more to advance equality and fight discrimination, while also safeguarding free expression.”

While the review did praise some steps taken by the social media giant, the auditors believe those gains could be obscured by the “vexing and heartbreaking decisions Facebook has made that represent significant setbacks for civil rights.”

The review calls on Facebook to develop a more effective policy to tackle voter suppression with the US presidential election looming in November and make civil rights a visible and consistent priority in its decision-making.

The auditors also want Facebook to invest more in addressing “organised hate” against Muslims, Jewish people and other groups, institute a ban on “praise” and “support” of the ideas underpinning white nationalism, and take action to address any bias in its algorithms.

Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg said the audit had had a “profound effect” on the company and while not every change will be made, more of the audit’s proposals will be put into practice soon.

READ MORE: Facebook civil-rights record hammered in own review

Uber secures naming rights for London river bus service

Uber has signed a five-year deal with London river bus service Thames Clippers to rebrand the service as Uber Boat by Thames Clippers.

The ride hailing giant described the deal as a “strategic move” to expand its platform in the transportation sector and widen its customer base. The partnership enables Thames Clippers to accelerate its plans to encourage more people to travel by boat around the city and supports the ongoing expansion of the river network across London.

“Londoners are looking for new ways to travel around the city, particularly when they start commuting back to work,” says Jamie Heywood, regional general manager for Northern and Eastern Europe at Uber.

“Later this summer we will launch the Uber Boat by Thames Clippers partnership in London as a means for people to travel into the City by water, which will be fully integrated through the Uber app.”

Twitter shows interest in subscription service

Twitter appears to be building a subscription service according to a job advert announcing the creation of a new team codenamed Gryphon.

The ad says that “in a first for Twitter” a team of web engineers are building a subscription platform, collaborating closely with the payments team. In the posting Twitter says it is looking for an engineer to lead the payment and subscription client work.

A source familiar with the company’s plan told Bloomberg that Twitter is considering “alternative revenue streams”, news of which caused the company’s stock to hit a three-month high.

There have been calls for the social media platform to diversify its revenue streams given that more than 84% of its revenue comes from advertising. During the first quarter of 2020 Twitter’s sales rose by 3%, its smallest increase in more than two years.

READ MORE: Twitter Is Considering a Subscription Service; Shares Rise

Wednesday 8 July

Just Eat

ISBA brings in Peter Duffy as new president

ISBA has appointed Peter Duffy, currently CEO of Just Eat, as its new president.

Duffy will head up the the industry trade body representing UK advertisers as it looks to navigate a new normal in the face of coronavirus.

He is taking over from the former managing director and non-executive chair of Boots UK and Ireland, Elizabeth Fagan.

Duffy joined Just Eat in 2018 as chief customer officer, before being promoted to CEO in 2019. He most recently oversaw the £6bn combination of the business with Takeaway.com and prior to Just Eat held senior marketing roles at brands including easyJet, Audi UK and Barclays Bank.

He is set to join Moneysupermarket Group as CEO in September.

Duffy says: “I am delighted to be able to support Phil [Smith, director general] and the team at ISBA. I have been impressed with how ISBA has been championing positive change in the industry and am looking forward to working with its members to continue this important work.”

Fagan adds she is “delighted” to pass the role on to Duffy, who will continue ISBA’s work to create an advertising environment “that delivers positive social and economic impact”.

Premier Inn sees bounce back in bookings

Premier Inn is seeing a rise in bookings as the UK lockdown eases.

Its owner Whitbread reported an 80% fall in first quarter like-for-like UK sales, noting improving demand for hotel rooms in tourist spots but subdued demand in London and elsewhere.

Of its more than 1,200 Premier Inn hotels and pubs across the UK, around 270 hotels and 24 restaurants had reopened after lockdown, with the rest to reopen by the end of this month.

CEO Alison Britain says: “It is still very early days … to draw any conclusions from our booking trajectory, especially as there has been volatility in hotel performance in other countries that relaxed controls before the UK.

Whitbread kept 39 of its UK hotels open during the shutdown to provide accommodation for NHS staff and other key workers, which the company says has helped as its reopens the rest of its chain.

READ MORE: UK hotel bookings returning after Covid-19 slump, says Premier Inn owner

Kerry  Foods promotes top marketer Nick Robinson to CEO

Kerry Foods has appointed its top marketer Nick Robinson to become its chief executive officer.

Robinson joined the company in 2017 as chief marketing officer and assumed the role of managing director of brands in January 2019. Prior to his roles with Kerry Group, he had a variety of sales, commercial and marketing roles with Diageo, Coca-Cola and AB InBev – where he was the North Europe marketing director.

He takes over from Duncan Everett, who is moving to become CEO of Noble Foods.

CEO of Kerry Group, Edmond Scanlon, says: “I would like to congratulate Nick on this new role with the company. He is stepping into this role at a very interesting time as the food industry responds in innovative ways to the changing consumer behaviours resulting from Covid-19. I look forward to working with Nick and his team to further grow our business across the UK and Ireland.

“I would also like to thank Duncan for his support and commitment and recognise the significant contribution he has made to Consumer Foods and the wider Kerry business over the past 25 years.”

Robinson will transition into the role over the next two months.

Retailers drop Bohoo over workers scandal

Asos, Amazon, Next, Very and Zalando have dropped fashion brand Boohoo amid allegations of poor pay and conditions at its warehouse in Leicester. The retailers are understood to have temporarily stopped selling Boohoo’s brands, which include PrettyLittleThing, Nasty Gal and BoohooMan, amid claims that staff at a factory are being paid £3.50 per hour to work.

A Sunday Times article reported that the Leicester factory was operating last week without any additional health measures in place, after the city and surrounding areas were placed into lockdown following a surge of Covid-19 cases. The fast-fashion brand had more than £1.5bn slashed from its stock market value on Monday, after the allegations came to light.

Boohoo has since launched its own investigation into one of its suppliers following the allegations. The company told investors on Monday that it will end relationships with any supplier it finds to have broken its code of conduct.

A spokesperson for Next says: “Next needs to prove to itself the two Boohoo Group labels that it was stocking are being sourced in a manner that is appropriate and acceptable to Next. Next therefore has its own investigation under way to ascertain whether they are being made in a way that Next does not approve of.”

An Amazon spokesperson adds: “Selling partners are required to follow all applicable laws, regulations, and Amazon policies when selling in our store. We will be suspending the sale of the brands in question.”

READ MORE: Next, Asos and Amazon drop Boohoo amid Leicester factory claims

Levi’s to cut 15% of workforce

US jeans brand Levi Strauss is cutting 700 jobs as it copes with the consequences of coronavirus.

The cuts make up approximately 15% of its workforce, which the company say are necessary “given the uncertainties” of the virus impact.

The brand saw a 62% fall in sales in its most recent quarter, a reverse on a previous trend of rising sales. Levi’s reported a loss of £290m in the three months to 24 May, compared to a profit of £23m in the same period last year.

However, Levi’s said shoppers are returning as 90% of its stores are now open and ecommerce sales are also doing well.

Levi’s chief executive Chip Bergh says “there are still a lot of uncertainties” warning that expected sales will be “significantly adversely impacted” through the end of this year.

Levi’s benefited from a rise in popularity for jeans in recent years but as consumers spent less on clothes, and more on loungewear, the company suffered.

READ MORE: Levi’s sales fall 62% in second quarter, to cut 15% of corporate workforce

Tuesday 7 JulyTikTok

TikTok set to pull out of Hong Kong

Tiktok, owned by Chinese-based ByteDance, is following other tech companies including Facebook, Google and Twitter in pulling out of Hong Kong after the introduction of new security laws.

The Chinese government has requested user stats for the region as part of a clampdown on protesters.

TikTok has some 150,000 users in Hong Kong, which represents a small market for a global company whose video app has been downloaded more than 2 billion times via Apple and Google app stores.

The platform was designed specifically so that it couldn’t be accessed by mainland China, part of a strategy to appeal to a more global audience.

“In light of recent events, we’ve decided to stop operations of the TikTok app in Hong Kong,” a TikTok spokesperson says.

The company, now run by former Walt Disney executive Kevin Mayer, has said in the past that the app’s user data is not stored in China.

READ MORE: Exclusive: TikTok says it will exit Hong Kong market within days

Channel 4 launches ‘The Great High Street Comeback’

Channel4Channel 4 is calling on small, independent retailers to apply to feature free of charge in a prime television advertising campaign marking the return of high street shopping.

The ads will also involve a number of household brands, yet to be revealed, that will be making donations towards the cost of the campaign, as well as taking part as partners for the lesser-known companies, many of which will be making their TV debuts.

The resulting ads will all feature in a celebratory ad break takeover on Friday 31 July, during Channel 4’s 8 out of 10 Cats Does Countdown.

The break will also air across E4, Film4, More4 and All4 as well as the broadcaster’s social platforms with hashtag #Back4Business.

Channel 4’s head of digital and partnership innovation Jonathan Lewis says: “This campaign is all about using the power of TV alongside the might of big brands to support the independent high street – encouraging the public to get back shopping and kickstart the local economy.

“With the help of some of our great advertiser friends and partners, we want to provide bold and dynamic adverts that show the high street is open for business and shops are welcoming in their beloved customers with open arms.”

UK ad spend to drop 7.5% this year

Total media ad spending in the UK will be £21.03bn this year, down 7.5% from 2019, according to the latest eMarketer forecasts.

The downturn is attributed to a lack of spending on traditional media, prompted in turn by global recession and the coronavirus pandemic.

Figures suggest that the decrease will be by as much as 22.6%, while digital ad spend will enjoy a slight increase, up 0.3%.

“Traditional advertising has suffered hugely during the pandemic, due to stay-at-home orders and the cancellation of large sporting events,” said eMarketer senior analyst at Insider Intelligence Bill Fisher.

“Digital, meanwhile, has offered the biggest captive audience and an easy and cost-effective route to consumers.

“Spend on traditional media will rebound once some semblance of normalcy returns next year, but it’s unlikely to reach pre-pandemic levels.”

Vodafone launches ‘Business Unusual’ podcast

Vodafone is launching a podcast series that aims to provide tips, advice and inspiration for the startup and scale-up business community.

The first in the series, hosted by Claudia Winkleman, features an interview with Freddie Blackett, CEO of online gardening retailer Patch.

The seven other half-hour episodes will include Howard and Vivien Wong, co-founders of Japanese sweet shop Little Moons, and Russell Bissett from the Northern Monk brewery.

Vodafone UK director Anne Sheehan says: “We want to highlight those small businesses who have been able to use and adapt their digital capabilities to navigate themselves through the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We hope this podcast serves as a valuable resource for insight and tips to inspire others.”

Activia’s ‘A to Z’ campaign targets Gen Z and Millennial audience

ActiviaActivia is lauching a new campaign that aims to boost awareness around how vital the stomach is to overall physical and mental wellbeing.

With the number of Google searches for ‘gut health’ rising by more than 400% between 2015 and 2020 (according to Google Trends), the campaign uses the alphabet as an analogy to the all-encompassing nature of the gut.

“Consumers know and love Activia as one of the original brands to bring probiotics to the mainstream,’” says Danone’s vice-president of marketin fpr North America Sonika Patel.

“Our goal is to connect with a younger audience and illuminate how the gut is the starting place for so much about how we feel. Bright, fun and musical, our new direction calls attention to how much of your daily life is affected by your gut.”

Monday, 6 July

Channel 4 celebrates Pride and the NHS with rainbow campaign

Channel 4 is launching a marketing campaign that asks people to be kind to each other and stay safe as the country loosens coronavirus restrictions and faces issues around race.

The campaign, #BeMoreRainbow, features an animated sparkly rainbow who talks about how he’s been busy representing both the NHS and Pride, while standing up for all communities during the Covid-19 pandemic. However, having been easier than ever, he calls on people to just be kind.

Created by the broadcaster’s in-house agency, the campaign will run across Channel 4’s TV and social channels. The release coincides with the 72nd anniversary of the NHS yesterday (5 July) and lockdown restrictions easing this weekend.

Channel 4’s CMO Zaid Al-Qassab says: “These can feel like turbulent times and as we move out of lockdown and into a new, socially distanced norm, the community spirit that’s thrived over the last three months will be as important as ever. Our hope is that this playful campaign will continue to remind viewers of benefits of being community-minded in a typically irreverent Channel 4 way, whilst saying thanks to all those in our communities who work hard to keep us safe.”

Tesco asks suppliers to agree price cuts

Tesco has reportedly given suppliers under 10 July to agree to a series of price cuts as it steps up its battle with Aldi and Lidl.

The move is part of a shift by Tesco to ‘everyday low pricing’ rather than promotions. According to the Grocer, a number of suppliers are facing pressure to reduce prices but have raised questions over the timescale of demands and a lack of clarity over promotion plans.

A Tesco spokesperson says: “We are committed to open, fair and transparent partnerships with all of our suppliers.”

Tesco has already taken aim at Aldi with a price-matching scheme that it says has helped it gain customers from the German grocers for the first time in a decade.

READ MORE: Tesco pressures suppliers to drop prices in Aldi price war (£)

Virgin Money opens socially distanced outdoor music venue

Virgin Money is partnering with SSD Concerts to launch a socially distanced outdoor music venue in Newcastle.

The Virgin Money Unity Area is opening in Gosforth Park and will run predominantly music events over the summer. Guests will arrive by car or bike and have their own personal viewing platform, complete with a table, chairs and personal fridge.

All guests will be placed at least two metres apart, with food and drinks available for pre-order. There will be a one-way system to allow safe use of toilet facilities.

Virgin Money’s group brand and marketing director Helen Page says: “At Virgin Money we are being as innovative as possible during these challenging times, and music is very much at the heart of our new brand direction. We are delighted to play a part in bringing back live music events as we start to emerge from lockdown.

“This feels like a unique opportunity to celebrate music and all the wonderful emotions that come with experiencing it live alongside other music fans. We’re looking forward to partnering with The Unity Arena on this event near to our Virgin Money home in Gosforth.”

Lloyds CEO to step down after almost a decade as boss

Lloyds Bank Group CEO António Horta-Osório is to step down next year after almost a decade leading the bank.

Horta-Osório plans to leave the role by June next year. Lloyds is now hunting for his replacement.

After joining in 2011, Horta-Osório led the bank’s turnaround after the financial crisis. He says he leaves with “mixed emotions”.

Horta-Osorio says: “I have been honoured to play my part in the transformation of large parts of our business. I know that when I leave the group next year, it has the strategic, operational and management strength to build further on its leading market position.”

Elsewhere, Aviva’s CEO Maurice Tulloch has stepped down with immediate effect due to family health reasons after little over a year in the role. Independent director and former Zurich Insurance executive Amanda Blanc has been appointed the new CEO.

Uber to buy rival delivery startup Postmates

Uber is expected to announce its acquisition of rival US food delivery startup Postmates for $2.65bn today.

A report in the New York Times says Uber will combine Postmates with its food delivery business Uber Eats, which has been growing during the coronavirus pandemic as Uber’s main business stalls.

Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty, Uber’s head of food delivery, will reportedly run the services, which would have a 37% share of food delivery in the US. DoorDash is the largest company with 45% market share, followed by Just Eat-owned GrubHub on 17%.

Uber has struggled during the Covid-19 pandemic as more people stay home, hitting its taxi business. It posted a $2.9bn loss for the first three months of 2020 and plans to lay off 14% of its workforce. However, revenue for its Uber Eats division was up 53%.

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