Marketing Week Tue, 23 May 2017 08:51:52 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 <link></link> </image> <item> <title>EasyJet CEO Carolyn McCall urges marketers to stop ‘over-using’ the term innovation Tue, 23 May 2017 08:51:52 +0000 The EasyJet CEO advises marketers to think carefully about what innovation really means to both their customers and their business, as well as consider how they can use digital transformation to create a personalised experience.

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Innovation is a “very over-used” word according to EasyJet CEO Carolyn McCall, who argues that brands need to assess what impact innovation really has on both their customers and their bottom line.

For a low-cost airline innovation is needed to enhance the customer proposition and reduce costs in order to offer lower fares for passengers, says McCall. One such innovation being implemented by the airline is predictive maintenance powered by artificial intelligence (AI), which allows EasyJet to change an aircraft’s path to avoid delays.

READ MORE: Marketers must reclaim the word ‘innovation’ before it dies

The EasyJet CEO, who was speaking to Marketing Week at Mumsnet’s recent Mumstock event, believes marketers also need to consider how digital transformation can help them personalise the brand experience to create more intimate relationships with consumers.

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]]> 0 Theo Paphitis puts the focus on employee wellbeing with credit union for retail Mon, 22 May 2017 23:05:05 +0000 Retailers including John Lewis, Ryman, Debenhams, Iceland and New Look have signed up to the scheme, which is supported by charity RetailTRUST and designed to improve long-term financial management and therefore employee wellbeing.

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Former Dragons’ Den star Theo Paphitis is taking on payday lenders with the launch of a credit union to enable retailers to provide employees with “responsible and competitive” credit and savings options.

The RetailCURe offer, which is supported by the RetailTRUST, launches with retailers including the John Lewis Partnership, Schuch, Pets at Home, Debenhams, Iceland, New Look and Paphitis’s stationery chain Ryman, on board.

He hopes the move will give back control to individuals and change behaviour by providing an infrastructure that encourages saving, improving employee wellbeing as a result.

“A lot of people still don’t have a financial toolbox,” he tells Marketing Week. “When the financial crash happened back in 2008 a huge number of people were disenfranchised and that gap was very quickly filled by certain people [payday loan companies] which I can’t stand.”

READ MORE: Payday loan brands must prioritise emotion as ad scrutiny continues

By working together as an industry Paphitis hopes to provide a long-term, sustainable solution for employees, which in turn will have a positive impact on businesses.

“Lots of retailers give advances and season ticket loans, but this is something the industry as a whole can do a lot better together rather than individually,” he says.

If you can keep your colleagues happy I can guarantee they will keep your customers happy and your customers really will come first by doing that.

Theo Paphitis

Financial pressure has been identified as one of the major causes of stress, anxiety and depression in the UK and personal debt is on the rise thanks in part to the emergence of short-term loan providers, which have been accused of taking advantage of vulnerable consumers. Last year alone debt charity StepChange received a record 600,000 requests for advice, which equates to one person every 53 seconds.

Richard Boland Smith, CEO of the RetailTRUST and non-executive director at retailCURe, says: “We as a charity have historically focused on physical and emotional wellbeing but we realised there was a gap. Financial wellbeing is just as important, because actually a lack of physical and emotional wellbeing is often an output of financial stress.”

RetailCURe offers loans of £500 to £5,000, available over a 6-month to three-year period with interest rates close to 11%, depending upon personal circumstances. Meanwhile, for savings it provides 1% on instant access, 2% on 6-month accounts and 3% on one-year deposits, with a maximum annual saving of £15,000.

It is a not-for-profit financial co-operative so any extra funds the organisation generates will be returned to members.

Employee wellbeing is good for business

Employee wellbeing is high on the agenda for Paphitis, who also owns the Robert Dyas and Boux Avenue retail businesses, because it leads to better service and customer experience, and ultimately has a positive impact on the bottom line.

“For me, the customer never comes first in any of my businesses. My colleagues come first. The reason they come first is because if I keep them happy, they will keep my customers happy. People have enough stress in their lives without having to come to work and us heaping even more on them,” he says.

“If you can keep your colleagues happy I can guarantee they will keep your customers happy and your customers really will come first by doing that.”

Alongside his issue with payday lenders, Paphitis has also taken offence at comments politicians have made about employee wellbeing.

“Employers realise and understand the importance of their colleagues and the people they work with – irrespective of what some half-wit politicians keep saying,” he says.

“We know our biggest asset is our people. We don’t need to be told that by politicians. Businesses are already far more aware and communicative with their colleagues, not just in retail but in the business environment as a whole. We take our responsibilities seriously.”

Boland Smith adds: “There is more engagement now in terms of wellbeing than I’ve ever seen. Not just in retail – it’s top of the agenda for industry. Why? Because the wellbeing of your employees is the wellbeing of your business.”

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Keith Weed: Improving ad quality will solve the industry’s digital issues Mon, 22 May 2017 16:13:27 +0000 Previewing his Cannes Lions keynote session, Unilever chief marketing and communications officer Keith Weed says focusing on quality and diversity will make consumers more open to ads where they see themselves reflected.

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It’s time to reset. Over recent months we have seen several important issues – brand safety, ad fraud, incorrect billings, diversity in advertising to name a few – flare up, incite outrage and then drift back away again from the public consciousness. These are all important issues, and deserve our continued attention. But instead, as an industry we have focused and refocused our tunnel vision on the matter right in front of us at the expense of the previous problem.

If we are to stand a real chance of tackling the endemic issues of our industry it’s time to start thinking much more holistically about how they interrelate, and how we can solve them. Making real, lasting, impactful difference is not achieved by quick, reactive fixes. It requires systemic shifts in the way we work, think and create. For me it is about simplification, in several key ways.

READ MORE: Keith Weed – We need comparable metrics in a digital world

Firstly, it is about tackling the ‘structural’ issues to bring a new level of transparency to the digital ecosystem. It’s about how we build the architecture, the pipes, of the digital landscape, and who has access to what. Only when we address the walls and layers of complexity which abound in an integrated way through mature conversations and with a collaborative mindset will we build an environment where our brands can really thrive.

The number of people blocking ads is rising. The way to tackle this is to improve the quality.

At Unilever, we are committed to tackling this with our partners, to building a better, simpler, more transparent system together – and have been for some time. I’m absolutely all for holding others to account, but I firmly believe that it’s through working in partnership that we will shape and build the system that works best for everyone.

Secondly, to continue the analogy, it’s about the quality of what we put down the pipes. We are living in exciting times, with a multitude of channels available for us to connect with our consumers. But at the same time, the risk of fragmenting our brands has never been stronger.

In parallel, the number of people blocking ads is rising. The way to tackle this is to improve the quality. Put simply, it’s about creativity. We need to flex our creative muscle to build brand communications that really resonate with people.

Cannes Lions diversity focus

Unilever’s moves to reduce the number of our ads and review our agency roster are certainly part of this drive. We want to create space for our brands to be nimble and agile, reacting to local market conditions and competitors, while leveraging global scale and consistencies. One part of that is creating more thematic ads that resonate deeply with our consumers, and that air for long enough to build a connection with the brand and the deep social themes they address.

Aside from the moral and societal imperative, there is a clear business case for removing stereotypes from advertising.

Another part is thinking carefully about the diversity we are portraying in our ads – and consciously working to counteract the use of unhelpful stereotypes. We know that 40% of women say they do not identify at all with the women they see in ads. And yet ads that are progressive in their portrayals of women are 12% more impactful.

READ MORE: Pepsi’s ad failure shows the importance of diversity and market research

Aside from the moral and societal imperative, there is a clear business case for removing stereotypes from advertising. Unilever led the charge on this last year at the Cannes Lions with our #Unstereotype commitment, and I’m looking forward to putting another big marker in the sand next month at Cannes again.

At the moment I’m very focused on how we tackle these various issues holistically to build a better industry, and this year at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity I’m going to be addressing them on stage. I’m delighted that I’ll be joined on the main stage by Lydia Polgreen, the new editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post. It certainly promises to be a frank and entertaining exchange of views.

You can vote to get this session broadcast live from Cannes on YouTube by visiting the Cannes Lions website – voting closes on 30 May. I hope to see you there.

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Innocent’s Helen Pomphrey joins Cawston Press as first marketing boss Mon, 22 May 2017 16:11:34 +0000 Pomphrey will join the soft drinks brand as UK head of marketing in June after 10 years at Innocent.

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Helen Pomphrey

Soft drinks brand Cawston Press has appointed Innocent marketer Helen Pomphrey as its first full-time UK marketing director as the brand looks to accelerate growth.

Pomfrey currently heads up Innocent’s Nordic region as head of marketing and transition project manager. She has been with Innocent for 10 years and was previously in charge of running the UK marketing team. She will join Cawston Press on 12 June.

Cawston Press’s co-founder, Mark Palmer, previously the marketing boss at Pret A Manger and who is currently heading up marketing at the brand alongside other responsiblities, says Pomphrey is joining Cawston Press at a “critical” time, as it looks to expand in the UK and abroad. Palmer says she will be taking over his role, but claims he will stay closely involved with the business.

Palmer tells Marketing Week that the brand, which sells juices as well as carbonated drinks, has been on a mission to assemble the right team over the last 18 months after experiencing “rapid growth”.

“It’s fantastic that she has drinks experience. She also has the right career experience to span consumer and shopper marketing, as she’ll be responsible for both at Cawston Press,” he explains.

“We’re growing at such a pace that [marketing] needs a full-time leader. For fast growth, non-corporate companies, it’s super important for both parties that it’s the right fit. We feel we have got that with Helen.”

Palmer adds that Pomphrey’s experience at Innocent is “incredibly helpful”, as she has experienced the brand go through different phases – from when it was founded to when it was fully acquired by Coca-Cola in 2013.

“There has been constant growth, there has never been a quiet year. And she’s watched our brand, so she’s excited about joining something that is earlier in its life but no less ambitious,” he explains.

Pomphrey was one of Marketing Week’s Vision 100 in 2016.

Marketing Week approached Innocent to find out if it will be replacing Pomphrey, but the brand did not return the request for comment.

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Tanya Joseph: For brand safety, look to insight not algorithms Mon, 22 May 2017 13:59:40 +0000 Brand safety is not a new problem but businesses need to be even more vigilant in the digital world.

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Tanya Joseph
Photographer: Rehan Jamil

Brand safety and the perils of online advertising have been in the news lately, but concerns about brand safety are not new.

The issue of the editorial content sitting next to your ad has been something marketers have fretted about forever and a day. What airline CMO wants to see their latest ad sitting alongside news of a plane crash in the newspaper, or toymaker see a 48-sheet poster outside a park where a child has died? If it happens in print and out-of-home, you know about it pretty quickly. In digital you may never find out.

Of course, there are things you can do to reduce the chances of it happening. Apart from anything else, invest a bit more wisely, avoid the temptation to go for the lowest-cost option, ensure you and your team really do understand the marketplace and put in sensible safeguards.

But the issue also makes me think about the relationship between marketers and our audiences, and how we build – or, more accurately, rebuild – trust with them. Ad misplacement is nothing compared to the reputational damage done when that misplacement translates to the newspaper front pages as brands funding terror.

As ISBA’s Phil Smith recently reminded us, consumers now trust advertisers less than bankers. That is not a good place to be in for anyone. Except perhaps bankers.

READ MORE: Consumers now think ‘less of advertisers than bankers’

So what can we do apart from blame social media platforms for putting our brands at risk? I believe we have to completely rethink how we engage with our audiences. I’m not saying give up programmatic but I am saying don’t do it on the cheap and use it as part of the broader mix of marketing activity.

For me, the most effective marketing is that which creates a dialogue with consumers, builds a relationship, drives trust and supports behaviour change.

Yes, consumers are looking for value and choice but they are also looking for authentic engagement with brands. If our campaigns are to be successful, we need to respond to this demand more creatively and effectively.

We can achieve some of that by doing the kind of things I talk about all the time – basing our campaign firmly on insight, telling compelling stories, being authentic, reflecting the diversity of our audiences, not patronising, expressing universal truths. For me, the most effective marketing is that which creates a dialogue with consumers, builds a relationship, drives trust and supports behaviour change.

And if these are the essential elements as far as content is concerned, we should also think about the channels we are using.

We all know that the classic combination of a fantastic TV ad combined with great print, digital, outdoor and direct executions can deliver results. But what if you don’t have the budget, appetite, or frankly product to undertake a heavyweight campaign?

I believe some good old-fashioned marketing just might do the trick.

I saw a great bit of what we used to call advertorial the other day. It was in an online magazine that doesn’t take display advertising but will partner with brands to produce content in line with its editorial standards – no compromising quality for the sake of a buck.

READ MORE: UK advertisers split over ending YouTube boycott after brand safety scandal

So when I clicked on the link, I found not brash, shouty ‘buy-me’ messages but interesting, engaging and appealing writing – clearly paid for but with subtle brand references. I was sufficiently interested to speak to the magazine, and found the brand had been brave enough to allow the editorial team to develop a series of executions that worked for the audience and met the brand’s objectives.

A campaign I worked on recently saw some of its most effective results when the digital activity was combined with hyperlocal leaflets at hairdressers and other high street shops, signposting people to very local opportunities to get involved.

For me, this latest round of brand safety worries just underlines the absolute need for us to think more carefully and creatively. Less reliance on the algorithm, more on the insight.

Tanya Joseph is a consultant and was architect of the ‘This Girl Can’ campaign at Sport England.

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5 killer stats to start your week Mon, 22 May 2017 13:30:08 +0000 We arm you with all the stats you need to prepare for the coming week and help you understand the big industry trends.

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1. The impact of data breaches on corporate reputation

Data breaches have a bigger impact on corporate reputation than PR scandals or environmental incidents, according to 59% of top marketers surveyed by Centrify.

Data breaches can also lead to a 5% hit to share price, a customer churn rate of 7% and 65% of customers losing trust in the brand.

2. Augmented reality is going mainstream

Snapchat and Facebook are fuelling growth in the use of augmented reality among US consumers. According to eMarketer, 54.4 million Americans will have tried the technology by 2019, up from 30.7 million in 2016.

Virtual reality has been slower to catch on, with just 10.2 million Americans trying it out last year. That growth will accelerate, however, with 49.2 million US consumers set to have tried it out in 2019.

3. Consumers are abandoning brands without a social purpose

Some 40% of consumers have either abandoned or never tried a brand because of its values or behaviours, says a report by MediaCom. And even if brands do claim to have a social purpose, consumers often don’t trust them. Some 65% think companies overstate their environmental credentials, while 45% are sceptical about the causes brands support.

4. Poor customer service is turning consumers away

Poor customer service is the biggest reason consumers are put off a brand, with 73% citing it as the main cause, according to Salesforce. A third of consumers say an inconsistent experience across mobile, online and in-store puts them off purchasing. A further third say irrelevant offers turn them off.

5. How consumers use apps is changing

A study by Verto Analytics found that social media, communications and entertainment apps are hoovering up all the time people spend with apps. Social media and communications account for 44%, ahead of entertainment on 21% and games on 13%. That leaves just 22% of people’s time for all other apps to get a look in.

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The secrets of building heritage brands Mon, 22 May 2017 11:56:48 +0000 Glenfiddich and Hendrick's owner William Grant & Sons is pioneering a two-year in-house training programme to equip its marketers with new skills and raise the profile of marketing across the business.

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William Grant & Sons (WG&S) is not a company that many people know about, admits its UK marketing director Gary Keogh. However, many of its brands are household names – think Glenfiddich, Hendrick’s and Monkey Shoulder.

And it takes building those brands incredibly seriously. The company’s approach is done through a programme called ‘dram by dram’. It is a set of five principles that have been designed to drive business growth, and are “unique” to the culture and the history of the business. The principles include distinctiveness, deep roots, consistency, insight and driving trial.

A recent campaign example includes The Balvenie Craftmen’s Dinner, which sees chef Michel Roux Jr discover the “true meaning of craftsmanship” in a six-part video series. The series concludes with Roux Jr preparing a ‘craftsmen’s dinner’ for the individuals, using contributions from each artist.

This focus on long-term brand building is done despite the current trend among businesses to try and please impatient investors, who want to see instant results.

“We’re comfortable seeding brands in the long term to ensure we have a brand that has strong trade and consumer advocacy. If that means we don’t make money for a couple of years, that’s fine,” he says.

Instilling marketing theory

Besides its ‘dram by dram’ approach to marketing, the business is also pioneering a two-year in-house learning programme called Marketing Fundamentals.

Year one follows a “classic” marketing plan, starting with situational analysis, brand positioning, consumer journey mapping, communications planning and evaluation.

Year two then takes a deep dive into a mix of areas such as managing creative agencies, behavioural economics and contemporary topics including “ridiculous” generalisations around millennials.

HR and finance can take the course as well. Many departments don’t appreciate just how much work goes into coming up with a strong strategic analysis.

Gary Keogh, William Grant & Sons

It put 50 colleagues through the programme in 2015 and 2016, and has since received the endorsement of the Chartered Institute of Marketing. By the end of this year, 80 people will have gone through the course.

WG&S is not the first company to offer an in-house training programme; back in 2014, both SSE and Morrisons launched a marketing academy to try and keep “young and enthusiastic” marketers from leaving due to lack of professional training.

Keogh says the idea came from its own co-workers, who said that even though they “loved” working for the company, they were missing out on classic marketing training that might be offered at giants such as Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble (P&G) and Unilever.

“I met with my senior marketing team to discuss our options. We could send people on expensive courses – but not all courses are brilliant. Or we could design something internally and deliver it ourselves,” he tells Marketing Week.

Raising the profile of marketing

The course has had some positive, if unintended, consequences. Marketers frequently have to battle misconceptions around what the department stands for within a business, and it is sometimes labelled the “colouring in department”.

READ MORE: How to market marketing

While Keogh says the marketing team at WG&S has never been labelled as such, the course has given other departments the chance to truly understand what goes into developing a strong business strategy.

“Commercial team members, HR and finance can take the course as well. Many departments don’t understand or appreciate just how much work goes into coming up with a strong strategic analysis,” he says.

“We give them the backstage tour of what goes into media planning, creating great advertising and understanding core consumer challenges. It just moves [the perception of marketing] on a few more notches and they are far more engaged.”

A focus on long-term brand building

Since the course, six of the company’s UK marketing team have been promoted into global roles, and “a lot of people now have a marketing qualification, even though they thought they never would”, adds Keogh.

In times of economic uncertainty and slow growth rates, many companies respond by cutting back on marketing. For example, Unilever recently announced it would cut the number of ads its creates by 30%, and reduce the number of agencies it works with by 50%. P&G is taking similar steps.

Due to WG&S still being family-owned, Keogh says it refuses to take the same route.

“In our 130 years as a company, there have been quite a few rocky moments globally. If there’s an economic challenge where companies might look to cut back on marketing, if anything we’ll go the other way,” he explains.

“We believe in long-term brand building. We have a bigger marketing budget compared to last year, and a strong growth curve on investment.”

Keogh would wholeheartedly recommend other brands to take the same route. He urges them to do their homework, and convince the rest of the c-suite by focusing on cost efficiencies.

He concludes: “Sending one person on a day course is more expensive and less valuable than doing it yourself. Make sure you’re demonstrating that it’s needs-based too. A demand for these courses needs to come from your colleagues and from the bottom up.”

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Ford, Amazon, Aviva: Everything that matters this morning Mon, 22 May 2017 07:07:30 +0000 We round-up all the marketing news that matters around the world this morning.

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Amazon challenges Sky and BT with move into pay-TV

Amazon is moving into the pay-TV space, a market dominated by Sky Virgin Media and BT. Amazon Channels will see the online firm offer individual subscriptions to more than 40 channels at a cost of between £1.49 and £9.99 a channel with no fixed contract.

Broadcasters including Discovery, ITV and Eurosport have signed up, although others including Channel 4, UKTV and Channel 5 have not, with insiders telling The Telegraph the terms were “rubbish” so they did not sign a deal.

READ MORE: Amazon launches UK pay-TV service

Ford brings in new CEO to focus on autonomous driving

Ford has hired James Hackett, the boss of its self-driving cars division, to be its new CEO as it responds to growing competition in the car market both from traditional rivals and tech companies. He takes over from Mark Fields, who has run the company since 2014. Fields will retire with immediate effect.

Ford chairman Bill Ford Junior, described Hackett as a “transformational leader” who can modernise the business by focusing on areas such as 3D printing, aritifical intelligence and autonomous driving. Ford Jr also wants to speed up decision-making to keep up with newer rivals such as Tesla.

The move was a surprise although concerns about Ford’s growth have been mounting. It announced record profits in 2015 but is struggling more as US car sales drop and is being aggressively targeted by competitors such as General Motors which is going after its truck business. It is also seen as slow to reac to the shift towards electric vehicles, autonomous cars and ride sharing.

READ MORE: Ford names Hackett as CEO to tackle car rivals, Silicon Valley

Brands including Barclays, Boots and Aviva looks to increase older workers

Businesses including Barclays, Boots and Aviva are set to unveil plans today (23 May) to increase the number of over-50s they employ by 12% by 2022. They will also publish data about the age of their existing workforce so their progress can be measured.

The move comes in reponse to a skills gap, with 14.5 million people set to leave the workforce as they retire between 2012 and 2022, with just 7 million to enter. The businsses involved are calling on others to follow their lead.

“Businesses will not be able to get the skills, resources and capabilities they need to continue to develop their business unless they find a solution,” Andy Briggs, Aviva’s UK CEO and the government’s business champion for older workers, tells the FT. “One of the solutions will be to create an environment where older people can work for longer.”

READ MORE: Businesses set targets for recruiting older workers (£)

Drop in deals between large and small companies as Brexit uncertainty hits

The number of deals between large and small business in the UK dropped by 28% in the 2016/17 tax year, according to data released by law firm Bond Dickinson. Deal volumes fell from a peak of 1,536 in 2015/16 to 1,111 in the last tax year. That follows a number of years of growth.

The report suggests economic uncertainty caused by Brexit is impacting deal-making. Nevertheless, large companies still invested £21bn in SMEs in the last year, more than the £16bn invested in research and development. Financial services leads the way with the most transactions as fintech startups disrupt the sector.

READ MORE: Brexit uncertainty prompts drop in deals between large and small UK businesses

Google faces wait to find out conclusion of EU antitrust case


EU antitrust investigators will rule in the next few months over whether Google abused its dominance of internet searches, a senior European Commission has said. The investigation comes after concerns were raised over Google promoting its own shopping service in internet searches at the expense of its rivals. If that is found to be the case, Google could face a hefty fine. Google also being investigated over where it has used Android to squeeze out rivals and blocked competitors in online search advertising through its ‘AdSense for Search’ service.

“In the next few months, we will reach a decision on the Google cases, Google search, AdSense and to me the most interesting is Android,” said Tommaso Valletti, the Commission’s chief competition economist, speaking at a conference organised by the University of Oxford Centre for Competition Law and Policy, according to Reuters.

READ MORE: EU to conclude Google antitrust cases in next few months

Monday 22 May

Marks & Spencer to report clothing sales slump

marks & spencer

Marks & Spencer is expected to post a 3% slump in its clothing and homewares sales as the festive revival appears short-lived.

Reporting results for the first quarter of 2017 on Wednesday (24 May), the high street retailer is also expected to reveal a sharp fall in annual profits and a small decline in its underlying food business.

These results come after a successful festive period during which Marks & Spencer saw a 2.3% jump in clothing and homeware, coupled with a 1.3% rise in like-for-like sales – its first underlying sales growth for nearly two years.

At the time chief executive Steve Rowe attributed the growth in clothing and home to “better ranges, better availability and better prices”, as well as the retailer’s commitment to substantially reduce discounting, including over Black Friday.

In November, Rowe unveiled a five-year plan to cut trading space devoted to clothing by 10% and focus on the expansion of its food business. This involves the closure of 30 of its 304 “full-line” stores selling clothing, homeware and food, as well as the conversion of a further 45 into food-only shops.

READ MORE: Marks & Spencer to report slump in clothing sales after short-lived boost

Facebook reviews 6.5m potentially fake accounts a week


Leaked Facebook policing guidelines show moderators investigate more than 6.5 million reports relating to potentially fake accounts a week.

A Guardian investigation also reveals that remarks such as “Someone shoot Trump” should be deleted, because as a head of state President Donald Trump is in a protected category. Conversely, anyone with more than 100,000 followers is designated as a public figure, thereby denying them the full protection of a private individual.

The 100-plus Facebook training manuals leaked to the newspaper also advise moderators that videos of violent deaths should be marked as disturbing, but not always deleted as they raise awareness of mental health issues. Furthermore, people are allowed to livestream attempts to self-harm so as to not “censor or punish people in distress”.

A further guideline indicates that photos of non-sexual physical abuse and the bullying of children do not have to be deleted unless there is a sadistic or celebratory element.

Sources speaking to the Guardian reveal that moderators feel overwhelmed by the volume of work and often have “just 10 seconds” to make a decision.

READ MORE: Revealed: Facebook’s internal rulebook on sex, terrorism and violence

Jaguar Land Rover poised to post 16% sales uplift

Jaguar Land Rover

Jaguar Land Rover is expected to report annual revenues of more than £23bn, boosted by a 16% rise in car sales to 604,000 during the year to the end of March.

Britain’s biggest car manufacturer has benefitted in large part from the resurgence of Jaguar, which saw sales rocket 83% to almost 173,000 cars, driven by demand for its first sports utility style car F-Pace. The mainstay of the business, Land Rover sales grew 1% to 431,000.

The company has benefitted from the weakening pound as only a fifth of its cars are sold in the domestic market. During the period sales to China rose by a third to more than 130,000, as Jaguar Land Rover also saw its US sales grow by a quarter to 125,000.

READ MORE: Jaguar Land Rover hits top gear as F-Pace soars and weak pound lifts performance

McColl’s eyes takeover of Tesco’s One Stop chain

Convenience chain McColl’s is eyeing the potential takeover of Tesco’s One Stop chain in a bid to add 50 shops a year to its existing 1,300 store estate.

Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, chief executive Jonathan Miller said he expected Tesco would be forced to offload its One Stop brand or hundreds of Tesco Express shops in order to secure official clearance of its merger with the wholesaler Booker, first announced in January.

McColl’s ramped up its growth strategy in December with the completion of a deal to buy 298 Co-operative Group stores.

READ MORE: McColls shopping for Tesco’s One Stop chain in Booker merger fallout

Airline Cathay Pacific cuts 600 jobs

Cathay Pacific

Hong Kong airline Cathay Pacific has cut nearly 600 jobs in a bid to reverse losses of £60.1m.

Since posting its first annual loss for eight years in March the airline has embarked on its biggest restructure for 20 years, including axing 190 management jobs and 400 non-management staff working at its head office in Hong Kong.

Part of a three year programme to turn around the losses, the cuts are expected to save the airline 30% in employee costs.

Cathay Pacific has been squeezed by fierce competition from Chinese and Middle Eastern airlines expanding into the Asia Pacific region.

READ MORE: Cathay Pacific cuts hundreds of jobs in major shake-up

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Attribution is broken, here’s how to fix it Mon, 22 May 2017 06:00:05 +0000 Marketing attribution nearly always excludes inconvenient data or pointlessly analyses events you can't influence, but with long-term goals and the right audience insights it could work much better.

The post Attribution is broken, here’s how to fix it appeared first on Marketing Week.


AttributionAmid all of the current brand-safety brouhaha, it might be hard to remember that it was Facebook who ushered in the current season of scepticism by admitting that their metrics significantly inflated the reported reach of media on their platform.

The response of Facebook’s EMEA head of marketing science Tony Evans was curiously unhelpful suggesting clients are more concerned with measurement than with metrics. Well, that’s alright then. Only in marketing could “measurement” be branded as distinct from “metrics”. Given that “metrics” is defined as “a system or standard of measurement”,  this is really just arguing semantics, but never mind – language is the least of our issues.

The objective of attribution must be to increase the contribution to sales from digital media through improved planning and buying. It should produce demonstrable improvements in performance and should not just be reportage for its own sake.

In reality, however, many of the available solutions are stalked by at least one of the four horsemen of the attribution apocalypse: incompleteness, absurdity, futility, and randomness.

1. Incompleteness

A flawed assumption undermines many attribution solutions from the start: that digital media is responsible for a certain number of conversions and that the task in hand is simply to divide the credit among the various parties involved. This is a classic example of the McNamara fallacy, named after the US secretary of defence in the 1960s, Robert McNamara, and described by social scientist Daniel Yankelovich:

“The first step is to measure whatever can be easily measured. This is OK as far as it goes. The second step is to disregard that which can’t be easily measured or to give it an arbitrary quantitative value. This is artificial and misleading. The third step is to presume that what can’t be measured easily really isn’t important. This is blindness. The fourth step is to say that what can’t be easily measured really doesn’t exist. This is suicide.”

To understand an individual’s actions requires much more knowledge about them than is available through just their online behaviour.

The data left in the wake of a digital campaign may well be vast but it is also hugely limited in scope. Few attribution solutions consider economic or environmental variables, pricing information, distribution, or even offline media. To understand an individual’s actions requires much more knowledge about them than is available through just their online behaviour. Because of the near-impossibility of obtaining this information it is easier to regard it as non-existent.

As a result, any conclusions are questionable. The best that can be said for this type of analysis is that it is better than last-click attribution.

READ MORE: Bob Wootton – My practical guide to getting the most out of media spend

Problems also arise when some or all of the non-converters are simply excluded from the analysis to cut down the data to be processed. Given that non-converters typically represent 99% of the total exposed population, this is information loss on a mammoth scale and is a textbook example of ‘survivorship bias’, where we focus only on results that pass some arbitrary selection process.

It is to be hoped that this will be less of a problem in future as data storage and processing become cheaper and faster, but it is a serious flaw in many current solutions.

2. Absurdity

In anthropology, the term ‘magical thinking’ refers to the association made between rituals or sacrifices and real-world events despite there being no conceivable physical mechanism which connects the two. It seems like an idea that belongs to a more primitive age yet it is quite apt for describing the belief that exposing a person to one pixel on a screen for one second will affect their brand awareness.

[Relaxing viewability rules is like] being unable to buy enough champagne and, to make up the volume, being offered dog urine for the same price.

Without knowing the number of people who can possibly have been influenced, it is impossible to judge whether an estimate of advertising effectiveness is realistic or not. Contrary to Facebook’s assertion, metrics cannot be arbitrarily separated from measurement. To be reliable, the only events that should be reported are those that could conceivably have produced a result. Viewability matters – how can it not? – and to pretend otherwise is either self-delusion or an attempt to delude others.

It is sometimes argued that it’s not possible to buy sufficient inventory unless the viewability constraint is relaxed. This is the equivalent of being unable to buy enough champagne but, to make up the volume, being offered dog urine for the same price. If the desired product is sold out, either take your money elsewhere or go further upmarket.

3. Futility

One of the most pernicious concepts in digital measurement is the user journey. Its origins seem to lie with the marketing funnel, the mystical means whereby consumers progress from a state of ignorance through to purchase by way of awareness and consideration. This can be a useful vehicle for framing a communications task across a population but it’s not really something that can be sensibly applied to an individual.

Unfortunately, digital data is seductive and the unwary can be lured onto the rocks of believing that tracking an individual (or, at least, a cookie) over a long period while recording each brand exposure and activity is deeply meaningful.

You are powerless to make people follow your ‘ideal’ path.

Imagine getting a report stating that the ideal consumer path for your product had been identified. The person had to go into Tesco, browse the appropriate aisle but not purchase, walk out of the store, see an advert on a digital screen, go back into Tesco a week later, leave, go to Sainsbury’s, make an enquiry of a shop assistant, leave, go home, see a TV advert and finally go back to Tesco the following week. Of the 18 people who followed this path, two ended up buying the product, a much higher conversion rate than people who followed other paths.

Besides applying for a restraining order, you might ask what you are expected to do with this information – frog-march people from store to billboard to store again?

The critical fault is that you are powerless to make people follow your ‘ideal’ path. You can do things to make a particular path more likely, such as retargeting, but in doing so you make many other paths more likely as well. There are hundreds of thousands of possible paths, some taken, some not. The ones that are travelled are effectively chosen at random, subject to any number of other influences. Analysis of this type produces meaningless results that cannot be effectively acted upon. It is, in a word, pointless.

4. Randomness

People are surprisingly predictable in terms of their individual behaviour and, like gas molecules, even more so en masse. In the short term, there is no significant variance in an individual’s web-browsing habits, their likes or dislikes, their shopping practices, or their mode of visual perception.

So why do so many measurement solutions give wildly varying results each time they are used? How can it be that a publisher has just the right sort of people on their site one month but not the next? Why does one demographic group change from being highly enthusiastic to bafflingly unresponsive in the space of a week? Why would the optimum size or placement of the same advertisement be different from yesterday?

The problem is that if you create and test enough variables then some will always correlate out of sheer chance.

There are two possibilities; either people are far more variable in their behaviour than anyone has ever noticed or the measurement process is introducing significant randomness. The latter is far more likely.

Attribution methods based on regression analysis of individual conversions are especially susceptible to randomness. Typically the various combinations of publisher, creative, format, size, etc are split out into separate variables, which are then tested in turn against a conversion variable of some nature, eg clicks or purchases. The most statistically significant variables are identified and then given partial credit for the conversion.

The problem is that if you create and test enough variables then some will always correlate out of sheer chance. Statisticians sometimes refer to this practice as data dredging. Without a specific hypothesis underpinning the finding, any correlation is likely to be spurious. Because these correlations are unlikely to recur, the subsequent attribution output will be completely different. Results created in this way are no better than employing a monkey to throw darts at a media plan.

Variability is to be expected in any complex system. There are many reasons why on a given day a bid price might be higher, or a site got an unusual spike in traffic. But the point is that these are random events – they can’t be predicted or reliably reporduced. Attaching significance to these random events and reallocating budget on that basis might not be just ineffective, it could actually be detrimental.

Is there a solution?

So, how can clients and agencies improve their digital media measurement?

The first step is to acknowledge the limitations of their current methodology. Attribution can still be useful provided that its limitations, and the implications of those limitations, are well understood.

If you are paying for 10 million impressions then you should be able to see the effect on total sales or other conversion metrics. Chasing individuals around the internet produces more data than can be managed, yet not enough to solve the problem.

Go and do some research and come up with some actual insights rather than expecting an algorithm to do the graft for you.

Next, most brands should forget about individual-level attribution and focus on the aggregate response. Chasing individuals around the internet produces more data than can be managed, yet not enough to solve the problem. Ten million impressions should have an effect on total sales or other conversion metrics, which can be quantified through marketing mix modelling. This should control for environmental effects and take offline media into account.

Third, define your audience based on fundamentals – have confidence in your understanding of your customers. If you know you don’t understand them, then go and do some research and come up with some actual insights rather than expecting an algorithm to do the graft for you. Also, remember that your user base can usually be defined by just a handful of properties. Any more than that and your segments will either be too small, too difficult to reach or too expensive.

Fourth, choose quality locations where you know your audience spend their online time. Don’t just rely on Google and Facebook, talk to publishers with an identifiable and committed user base. In Australia, JP Morgan Chase recently started manually preapproving sites, reducing the total number by almost 99% while maintaining performance.

Finally, set a clear long-term goal that corresponds to value created for the business. Know what success and failure look like and judge accordingly.

This is what we should expect from agencies. Finding clear insights based on analysis and understanding of consumer behaviour, developing a plan, implementing it, evaluating it against predicted results and repeating the process isn’t rocket science. Some might even call it marketing.

Andrew Willshire is the founder of analytics company Diametrical and formerly global director of advanced analytics at Maxus.

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Sign up to our webinar on how to nail Instagram marketing with organic strategies Fri, 19 May 2017 16:17:41 +0000 Learn why social is now an established channel for customer acquisition, retargeting and engaging existing customers to support retention programmes.

The post Sign up to our webinar on how to nail Instagram marketing with organic strategies appeared first on Marketing Week.


The modern customer journey is complex. So it is important to focus on the key moments that can help inspire people to buy your product or service. Social is no longer just about conversation and content; it’s now an established channel for customer acquisition, retargeting and engaging existing customers to support retention programmes. Join Sarah Cunningham, head of demand generation at AdRoll EMEA, as she dives into the new world of Instagram marketing and highlights brands that are nailing it.

Join us on Thursday 8 June at 3pm to find out more

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Are brands right to axe ads after a social media backlash? Fri, 19 May 2017 16:09:28 +0000 With McDonald's pulling its latest ad after just four days following consumer complaints, are more brands bowing to the pressure of social media and canning their creative to prevent further brand damage?

The post Are brands right to axe ads after a social media backlash? appeared first on Marketing Week.


From FMCG and retail to travel and luxury, brands across every sector of the consumer landscape are communicating their social purpose in a bid to connect with customers.

In order to resonate, the message must feel authentically connected to the brand’s values. Miss the mark, and as recent high profile casualties suggest, today’s savvy consumers are more than happy to use their voice on social media to punish any brand that lets them down.

McDonald’s was in the firing line this week for “inappropriately and insensitively using bereavement and grief to sell fast food” after an advert aired in the UK showing a young boy trying to find common ground with his dead father over a Filet-O-Fish.

The ad split opinion on Twitter, with some users blasting the fast food chain for exploiting fatherless children, pointing to the cynical proximity of the advert to Fathers’ Day in June. Others, however, said they were saddened that McDonald’s had been forced to pull a “touching” advert, asking if we are all too easily offended.

READ MORE: McDonald’s pulls ‘dead dad’ ad after string of complaints

Another stark example is PepsiCo, which was forced to pull its campaign fronted by model Kendall Jenner just three days in after being savaged on social media for belittling the Black Lives Matter movement.

On 4 April alone Pepsi generated more than 427,000 mentions on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, 53.3% of which were negative. Consumers rejected PepsiCo’s intended “global message of unity, peace and understanding”, accusing the drinks giant of being “tone deaf” in its failure to understand consumers.

By comparison, since first airing on 12 May the McDonald’s “dead dad” ad has been mentioned over 2,000 times online. The majority of mentions – 840 in total – were made on 16 May, according to the Brandwatch figures.

Sentiment analysis shows 58.2% of mentions were negative, although as Brandwatch senior PR data analyst Kellan Terry explains, analysis was made more difficult by the fact the conversation was “overly sarcastic”. Strikingly, some 67% of unique authors discussing the issue were male.

The public told us clearly we had got it wrong and there was no other decision to be made other than apologise and pull the advert.


The response from McDonald’s was almost as swift as the social media backlash. After just four days the fast food chain pulled the advert, with the last ad running on 17 May.

In a statement the brand apologised for disappointing customers, reiterating that the company had no intention of causing any upset and that it would review its creative process to “ensure this situation never occurs again”.

Speaking directly to Marketing Week, a McDonald’s spokesperson referred to the impact public comment had on the company’s decision to pull the advert.

“While we received some positive comments, they did not outweigh the upset we had caused among others. The public told us clearly we had got it wrong and there was no decision to be made other than apologise and pull the advert.

“As a brand that touches most people (and families) in the UK, it’s important we go as far as we can to understand the sensitivities around the topics in our advertising.”

Was it right to react?

McDonald’s decision to pull the ad appears to be based purely on consumer reaction as it pre-empted any ruling by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

The ASA received 257 complaints before the advert was pulled on 17 May, versus a “small handful” of supportive tweets and emails.

“From our perspective, McDonald’s action means it has taken it out of our hands, so we’re not in a position to judge whether or not the ad would have been a problem,” explains senior media relations officer, Matt Wilson.

“It is probably safe to say, albeit without us going through our processes, that it’s unlikely this ad would have broken the rules. We know it happens [brands pulling pre-ruling] and maybe there’s a slight trend in terms of increasing frequency of brands doing this.”

Pulling the ad did not help McDonald’s improve consumer opinion or alter people’s purchase decisions, according to YouGov BrandIndex data. Comparing the period of 16 to 18 May to the previous week, the index shows the company’s reputation dropped 5.1 points, with the buzz around the brand down 4 points. This means McDonald’s remains behind fast food rivals Burger King and KFC.

However, the episode had little impact on consumer purchase intent and consideration it seems, which according to YouGov rose by 1.4 points and 1 point, respectively. When it comes to purchase intent, McDonald’s remains top of the list of fast food chains, a full three points above nearest rival Gregg’s.

READ MORE: How brands can bounce back from disaster

Wilson agrees McDonald’s reaction to pull the ad could have been more concerned with the social media reaction than anticipation of a ban.

“The potential damage to brand reputation [caused by a ban] could have played a part, but I think the bigger thing for McDonald’s was thinking about the general fallout,” he explains.

“There was acres of media coverage about this and it wasn’t just national, it was international. This story was going round the globe and maybe they’ve taken the decision to cut their losses rather than have it drag out.”

Prevention is better than cure

Brands are increasingly bringing social and earned media into their communications planning process, according to Kantar Media CEO Andy Brown, who argues that thoroughly testing creative before launch is much cheaper than having to pull a high profile ad.

“Use as much of the data you’ve got before you launch an expensive creative campaign,” advises Brown.

“I have no idea what it would have cost [McDonald’s] to not only build the creative, but pull the ad at short notice and back-fill the media slots they’ve paid for. That will not have been cheap.”

The issue of personal taste is something you cannot understand until you actually take a campaign out to the people, argues Brown, who advises brands to draw on a variety of data from quantitative and qualitative sources, as well as neuroscience, in order to have a holistic perspective.

“I am very conscious of not doing things in a bubble by having people in the marketing department decide among themselves what works without testing it. The cost of testing ads is lower than it ever has been,” he adds.

Standing by the vision

Brands that stand by their vision and wait for a ruling are, however, often rewarded. In 2014 Sainsbury’s refused to pull its Christmas advert depicting the story of the famous Christmas Day 1914 truce between British and German soldiers during the First World War.

The supermarket was accused of causing offence by using World War I imagery to promote a company, criticism strenuously denied by Sainsbury’s head of brand Mark Given. He emphasised the overwhelmingly positive reaction to the advert, which has now been watched more than 19 million times on YouTube.

Despite generating 727 complaints – 400 more than the McDonald’s advert – the ASA ruled that while some people may have found the use of the First World War for advertising purposes “distasteful”, the Sainsbury’s ad did not cause serious harm or offence, and therefore did not break the rules.

Know your reason why

Over the past two months McDonald’s, PepsiCo and even Dove – which has been widely credited with improving the depiction of real women in advertising through its Real Beauty campaign – have been criticised for failing to understand their market or how their social purpose relates to consumers.

PepsiCo left itself open to accusations of operating in a “self-affirming bubble” after it emerged that the Kendall Jenner campaign had been devised by its in-house content creation arm.

READ MORE: Pepsi’s ad failure shows the importance of diversity and market research

Dove, meanwhile, was criticised last week for stretching its real women concept too far by introducing bottles reflecting different body shapes.

Centaur Media content director and former Marketing Week editor, Ruth Mortimer, described the “personalised” bottles as gimmicky, arguing the concept was counter productive as it makes body shape the focus, “rather than an irrelevance to the true value of women”.

The need brands feel to promote their social purpose is often driven by consumer desire, argues Tim Burge, culture and trends director at consumer insight agency Join the Dots.

“Suddenly I think there is permission or expectation from consumers that brands should have a perspective on all sorts of things within society. There has been a decrease in trust in relation to other bastions of society, whether that be politicians or banking. This has placed more emphasis on marketers and products to try to give a kind of perspective and say something meaningful,” says Burge.

He argues that consumers are going on a similar journey in terms of searching for their voice and expressing it via social media, which creates a “perfect storm”. Burge cites Heineken’s recent purpose-driven ‘Open Your World’ campaign as a recent example of a brand getting purpose right by tapping into the notion that drinking beer is about togetherness.

The campaign, challenging Brits to break down barriers and find common ground with those who have opposing views, has received criticism too though, not least from from Marketing Week columnist Mark Ritson, who accused the beer brand of sacrificing commercial profit to fit its purpose-led agenda.

Discussing the Heineken campaign at a recent Oystercatchers event (10 May), marketing and innovation director at Diageo Europe, Ed Pilkington, argued that alcohol brands have permission to tell a purpose-driven story, as long as it is rooted in truth.

“Where brands go wrong on purpose, and we’ve done it a few times at Diageo, is you create some purpose that has no relevance to where the brand came from or its roots, because it plays to something you think might be right. So you’ve got to be really clear about your truth, what it’s all about and root yourself in that,” said Pilkington.

READ MORE: Boots and Diageo on why brand purpose doesn’t have to be ‘lofty and do good’

Brown agrees that in the social media world authenticity and consistency are critical, especially as consumers have never been more advertising literate.

“They are smart and quite cynical, and they very quickly see whether a brand is being authentic in its association with a social cause. And if they see through it the negatives could be quite significant,” he adds.

However, the fact consumers are actively encouraging brands to have an authentic perspective on issues within society presents an opportunity for those who can strike the right tone. This may, however, mean brands need to acknowledge that taking a position could polarise opinion, particularly on social media, and therefore having the right insight will help them know whether to stick by their campaign.

“If there’s something really far wide of the mark I can understand why people are choosing to pull back on that and I think that’s the careful balance,” Burge adds. “But hopefully if the right insight is gathered up front you’ll know whether you should stick to your guns or not, and you can have a sense of how it’s going to play out.”

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Four challenges Heineken needs to overcome to make its non-alcoholic beer a success Fri, 19 May 2017 15:01:37 +0000 Heineken is rolling out its first non-alcoholic lager as younger generations opt for healthier beverages, but faces a challenge convincing consumers of its taste merits.

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Heineken is the second biggest beer company in the world, behind just AB InBev. But it has designs on being the biggest. And to get it that it has a surprising strategy – to make non-alcoholic beer a mainstream drink.

And so this week Heineken has launched ‘Heineken 0.0’. As the name suggests it has no alcohol, just 69 calories per bottle and is available in 14 markets. Apart from that, the only discernible difference from the bottles is that Heineken has changed the colour of its “iconic” label from green to blue to associate it with the alcohol-free category, and make it easier to recognise for consumers.

The idea is that the beer will appeal to a non-traditional market – those that want to drink beer but don’t want the alcohol content. That could be people training for a marathon, pregnant women, or the designated driver for the evening.

Heineken thinks 0.0 is the answer. It will launch with the tagline ‘Open to all’, which looks to convince consumers of Heineken 0.0’s suitability for all people and drinking occasions that “might call for a beer but not for alcohol”.

To promote the new product, it will be launching an integrated campaign that will include a TV ad, digital and experiential activity, as well as promotions in supermarkets and bars.

The move comes as the beer sector faces new challenges. Lager sales are falling as craft beer becomes more popular and people move onto other alcoholic beverages. Consumers are also determined to make healthier lifestyle choice that lager isn’t seen as fitting in with.

There also seems to be a growing consumer appetite for drinks without alcohol. A 2016 report by Mintel shows almost one in five (19%) of Brits aged 18 and over do not drink alcohol, while 32% of Brits say they have limited or reduced the amount of alcohol they drink.

And while growth in the overall beer market is flat, the non- and low-alcoholic beer market is showing the opposite. CGA Strategy figures show it is now worth £28.9m to the on-trade, with value sales to 25 March 2017 growing 6.4% year on year.

“Our ambition is to lead the category development in the markets where non-alcoholic beer is still small, but has growth potential, with a premium proposition,” says Gianluca Di Tondo, senior director of the global Heineken Brand.

That said, there are various challenges Heineken will need to overcome. We explore what the brand will have to focus on in order to make its beer a success.

1. Standing out from competition

Unsurprisingly, Heineken is not the only brand trying to break into the non-alcohol sector; a number of leading breweries have launched alcohol-free beers in recent years, signalling a growing commitment from the industry.

Launches in 2015 and 2016 from major brands included Beck’s Blue Lemon Alcohol Free Beer, San Miguel 0.0% and San Miguel Limon 0.0%, and Carlsberg 0.0%.

Craft brewers are also looking into low-alcohol and alcohol-free beers. The Big Drop Brewing Co only produces low-alcohol beers and launched Chocolate Milk Stout last year, while BrewDog unveiled its ‘Nanny State’ non-alcoholic beer.

And let’s not forget soft drinks. According to a Mintel report, soft drinks are more popular than “low-alcohol or alcohol-free versions of alcoholic drinks for all occasions”, thereby posing a major challenge for low- or non-alcoholic beers looking gain share in the drinks market.

To stand out, Heineken needs to have “consistent branding” across its non-alcoholic range so people still recognise the brand, suggests CGA Strategy commercial director Graeme Loudon.

“There are so many different beers within the category, so it’s no longer about the product but the breweries themselves. They want to bring in new variants, but still want consumers to recognise their brand. So with non-alcoholic beer it’s important to maintain consistent branding,” he says.

2. Convincing consumers on taste

One of the major problems facing low- and non-alcoholic beer is the perception that it tastes bad. Historically, the category has often gone hand-in-hand with weaker flavours and poorer quality – and this perception is only gradually starting to change.

“Convincing consumers that recent developments have resulted in non- or low-alcohol beers comparable to standard counterparts presents a sizable challenge to be overcome,” says Anna Ward, alcoholic drinks analyst at Euromonitor.

Historically, the category has often gone hand-in-hand with weaker flavours and poorer quality.

A Mintel report backs this up, with 28% of drinkers saying they would be encouraged to drink low-alcohol or non-alcoholic beers if they tasted more like standard strength equivalents. However, this is difficult. Creating a non-alcoholic beer requires the alcohol to be stripped out after the brewing process, altering the taste.

Even Heineken admits creating its variant “wasn’t easy” – which is why it decided to brew it “from scratch” to improve its taste.

Most importantly, the brand needs to have a strong sampling strategy in place for supermarkets and pubs so that people can test the product. Only then will taste perceptions shift.

“Brands need to make consumers believe it, and trailing and marketing will be a key aspect of achieving this,” adds Ward.

3. Appealing to both sexes


According to Mintel, penetration of lower-alcohol drinks is higher among men and significantly above average for 18- to 34-year-olds. The same is true for non-alcoholic and alcohol-free beer.

That said, there is a significant opportunity for Heineken to appeal to both men and women with its messaging, as both sexes look to become healthier and cut down on drinking. This is something already playing out in the craft beer sector, says Loudon.

“Historically, beer companies have mainly focused on males. But with the premium and craft revolution, brands have become much more focused on the quality of the product rather than appealing to laddish culture. So there is definitely an opportunity to target both genders,” he explains.

4. Staying realistic

Lastly, it is important for Heineken not to run away with its ambitions and be realistic about what it can achieve. While the low- and no-alcohol beer category is experiencing a lot more growth compared to the overall beer sector, it is coming from a small base.

“If there was a real change in behaviour [among consumers], then you’d expect that percentage growth to be much more rapid than that. It’s only been growing in low single digits,” says Loudon.

Euromonitor’s Ward is even more cynical about the category’s growth potential, and believes it will never be more than a niche add-on to standard beer.

She concludes: “It is not – on its own – going to save big brewers from mature market stagnation or the onslaught of craft.”

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McDonald’s, Unilever and Virgin Trains: 5 things that mattered this week and why Fri, 19 May 2017 12:08:11 +0000 McDonald's gets in hot water for an 'insensitive' ad and Unilever toasts more growth for its sustainable brands.

The post McDonald’s, Unilever and Virgin Trains: 5 things that mattered this week and why appeared first on Marketing Week.


McDonald’s follows Pepsi’s lead to become the latest tone-deaf brand

The latest brand looking to dethrone Pepsi as tone-deaf champion appears to be McDonald’s, with the fast food giant landing itself in hot water this week.

Using death to sell a Filet-O-Fish was always going to be a bit of an ask and – following more than 100 complaints to the ASA – McDonald’s was forced to remove the controversial TV ad from all of its media channels.

The ad appeared designed to create “awwwws” from its audience, with a young lad realising he and his dead father shared a love for the fishy snack. However, all it really created was questions such as: “How did this get signed off by an ad agency?”

In a statement, a McDonald’s spokesman said: “It was never our intention to cause any upset. We will also review our creative process to ensure this situation never occurs again.”

It’s only May and with Pepsi and McDonald’s both already landing in hot water, I’ve got a feeling the industry might be a bit cautious about embracing sensitive issues over the coming months.

Virgin Trains launches a startup accelerator that’s actually interesting

Virgin isn’t the first brand to launch a startup accelerator and we’re sure it won’t be the last. But its Platform X programme matters because it’s aiming to fix something that irritates just about everybody: train delays.

From now until 28 May, Virgin Trains and Virgin’s StartUp division are seeking out innovative startups to help improve its rail service and wider brand perception.

In an honest interview, we were glad Virgin Trains’s sales and marketing director Danny Gonzalez didn’t utter the cliche “We’re looking to find the next Uber.” Instead, he revealed: “There’s smart opportunities to use technology to make a big difference in situations that typically annoy train passengers and aim to make sure they aren’t getting pissed off.”

TV screens on the back of seats? A cocktail lounge? A ticket guard that does magic tricks? Watch this space.

Lynx persists with serious positioning, but should it?

Lynx, the Unilever-owned deodorant brand that once prided itself on embracing lad culture, is showing how far it has moved on by once again tackling more serious men’s issues.

Its latest campaign, #isitokforguys, encourages men to rid themselves of cultural pressures and is a Google search-driven campaign that reveals how guys are asking the questions they can’t face asking out loud, such as ‘Is it ok for guys to wear pink?’ and ‘Is it ok for guys to experiment with other guys?’.

However, Rik Strubel, global vice president at Lynx, admitted it is looking to find more of a balance between serious and fun. “There are certain things that we should be serious about, and then others where we can have some fun – and we are trying to do both of those.”

But should a deodorant brand really be exploring men’s mental health issues? Strubel counters: “Young guys are demanding that we not only sell products, but that we also do something for them.”

Unilever’s sustainable brands continue to drive overall sales

Even if Unilever’s Lynx strategy is surprising, the success of its sustainable brands strategy is starting to become unquestionable.

This week, the FMCG giant revealed that its ‘Sustainable Living’ brands were growing more than 50% faster than the rest of the business and accounted for 60% of sales growth in 2016.

This matters because these figures have accelerated from 2015, when they accounted for 46% of growth and were growing 30% faster. They appear to justify the notion that consumers are prepared to pay more for brands that contribute to positive social change.

Unilever says brands including Lifebuoy, Ben & Jerry’s and Hellmann’s are leading the way and achieving “above average growth”, with high single- and double-digit sales over the past six years.

Perhaps a brand designed to prevent body odour going all serious is solid thinking after all?

Is the need for ‘wider skills’ the reason agency talent keeps moving client-side?

The time are changing. According to a new report by executive search firm Grace Blue, almost 40% of senior-level marketing talent has a background agency side, up from nearer 25% a few years ago.

And the new reality, according to Ian Priest, Grace Blue’s global CEO, is that marketers who have only ever worked client-side simply don’t have a  wide-enough skill-set.

He explains: “People are increasingly migrating across traditional lines and clients are wanting wider skills. As they in-house agency services, brands are bringing in more skills to make sure they own the whole customer journey.”

It seems being a marketer loyal to a specific sector might not be as attractive as it once was.

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How Adidas, Just Eat and HTC are using chatbots Thu, 18 May 2017 16:32:07 +0000 From training staff to driving one-on-one brand engagement, Adidas, Just Eat and HTC are using chatbots in very different ways, but each is learning rapidly about the opportunities they could offer.

The post How Adidas, Just Eat and HTC are using chatbots appeared first on Marketing Week.


Adidas: Chatbots are the ‘perfect vehicle’ to communicate with innovation-hungry consumers

Adidas has ramped up interest in its recently launched female-focused community space Studio LDN, by using a chatbot to create an interactive booking process.

The studio, which opened earlier this year, offers a series of weekly free-to-attend fitness sessions especially for women, with the ultimate goal of boosting brand engagement.

The Facebook Messenger chatbot, created by marketing technology agency Byte London, is the only way to find out about sessions and register, so it has been integral to driving awareness and the success of the initiative.

“One of the main appeals of a chatbot was that it allows for ongoing, deeper engagement with our consumers through regular one-to-one conversations,” Sarah Gower, managing editor at Adidas London Newsroom, tells Marketing Week.

“It also offers agility in a fast-paced social landscape with new broadcasts being published weekly.”

The chatbot is the only place where consumers can find weekly schedules and information about the classes on offer. It is also the only way people can sign up to participate, but Gower says it was an obvious choice for the brand.

Our target consumers are early adopters of social innovation so a chatbot is the perfect vehicle for us to communicate with them.

Sarah Gower, Adidas

“Our target consumers are early adopters of social innovation so a chatbot is the perfect vehicle for us to communicate with them. The Adidas women’s chatbot is an extension of the physical space, which also helps to ensure that all information within it is timely and relevant.”

In the first two weeks alone 2,000 people signed up to participate, with repeat use at 80%. Retention after week one was 60%, which the brand claims is far greater than what could have been achieved with an app.

Sessions are reportedly fully booked within minutes and hundreds have signed up for regular alerts. To drive engagement further, as soon as a booking has been made the user receives reminders and messages from influencer fitness instructors. They can also access fitness videos for inspiration.

Adidas promotes the chatbot via its website, at the studio and on merchandise. Facebook ads, direct mail and membership cards with the Messenger logo are also used to promote the initiative.

Gower is positive about the results and says Adidas will look to use chatbots as part of other activity going forward.

“We’re always looking for opportunities to enhance the Adidas social ecosystem. Experimentation with innovations like chatbots is a key part of this,” she adds.

Access the chatbot here:

HTC: Transforming training and boosting staff engagement

HTC has transformed the way it trains salespeople, while driving greater awareness and conversation about its products, using a chatbot.

Ben Walsh, head of marketing, Europe, UK & Ireland at HTC, says the brand is “always alert to new and better ways of reaching customers” and chose to use a chatbot in a B2B training capacity because it “enabled direct, friendly and engaging communication with staff”, both internally and at retail partners such as Carphone Warehouse and Three.

Once set up he says it was “way more effective” than methods it has used previously, as well as being more cost efficient.

“To get the same level of engagement with thousands of salespeople we would need thousands of field team members. Our field team is 30 people but we are chatting to thousands on Facebook. It’s a clever way of delivering engaging scale where you usually rely on humans.”

Walsh says staff have found it “just as personal” and it means information can be shared quickly with people on the shop floor

If we can do it in a B2B space in a managed environment we can take it to the B2C environment.

Ben Walsh, HTC

“When you have a great digital experience it can be like a better version of a human interaction because it’s on your terms, and it’s telling you what you want to know without too much of the airs and graces of a human interaction. It gets to the point.”

Getting the tone right is crucial though, he warns.

In addition to delivering training, the chatbot also tests product knowledge with competitions like the monthly quiz and rewards staff with HTC products and gift vouchers if they get a certain number of answers right.

HTC sales representatives promote the chatbot and monthly quizzes on store visits to encourage engagement, with 40% of people who use it completing the quiz.

HTC is now looking at the opportunities chatbots might provide for B2C activity.

Walsh says: “If we can do it in a B2B space in a managed environment we can take it to the B2C environment – that’s really always been the intention. If it works in the existing environment then of course we scale it to go outwards and that is something we are looking at.”

Access the chatbot here:

Just Eat: Making ordering fun and conversational

Just Eat

Just Eat has added an element of fun to finding takeaways by installing a chatbot that lets people search restaurants near them with emojis and keywords.

People can type “breakfast” or send any food emoji to get the best results near them, in what is designed to be a more conversational process than ordering via the app.

Ben Carter, UK marketing director at Just Eat, describes the move as “a key part of our armoury to engage with our customers on a daily basis”.

“We have tapped into is a real insight that people are passionate and emotional about food but they like to get food inspiration and understand what food is available in their area,” adds Carter.

Since launching in September thousands of people have used it, with the average user spending 1.53 minutes interacting with the bot.

It has helped drive new customers, encourage repeat orders – 13.5% are repeat users – and improved awareness of Just Eat’s 27,600 partner restaurants. Data shows the chatbot drove a 266% higher conversion rate than interacting with an average social ad in November 2016.

It’s key to Just Eat’s DNA that we are seen as a tech disruptor.

Ben Carter, Just Eat

Carter says the brand is “continually innovating” and will absolutely look to develop its chatbot offer.

“It’s not a one off for us. We haven’t built it, done PR and switched it off. We have kept it on, and are iterating,” he says.

“It’s key to Just Eat’s DNA that we are seen as a tech disruptor. It’s about making sure we can have conversations and engage with customers through as many platforms as possible. That is why we were one of the launch partners with Amazon Alexa as well.”

Just Eat is now launching phase two of its chatbot, which will allow customers to reorder directly through the bot.

The chatbot is not simply used as an engagement tool though. The brand is also learning valuable information about how customers interact with it that it is feeding into other areas of the business.

“As a business that operates at scale – we processed 88 million orders last year from 9 million customers – we have a big customer service operation. What we are doing all the time is taking the learning from the bot and using it to develop more automated chat services,” he says.

He warns brands off investing in chatbots if the purpose is purely to gain column inches though.

“The key thing for me is be authentic to the technology,” says Carter. “Think about what your customers want and how they want to engage with you.

Access the chatbot here:

For more on chatbots and artificial intelligence attend Marketing Week’s Supercharged event on 4 July. Click here for more information and to book tickets.

Just Eat and HTC also worked with Byte London to develop their chatbots.

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What marketers need to know about the General Election manifestos Thu, 18 May 2017 15:46:16 +0000 With Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives each releasing their General Election 2017 manifestos this week, Marketing Week breaks down the key takeaways for marketers.

The post What marketers need to know about the General Election manifestos appeared first on Marketing Week.


Three weeks from today Britain will cast its votes as Labour and the Liberal Democrats aim to upset the polls by preventing the supposed ‘inevitability’ of another Conservative government.

The three main parties have all now released their General Election 2017 manifestos. Yet their policies are a bit of a mixed bag, according to Advertising Association CEO Stephen Woodford.

He’s disappointed to see Labour and the Lib Dems once again talk about banning junk food advertising, calling it a “poorly evidenced” policy that is completely at odds with their “supposed support” for the creative industries.

Woodford says it’s positive that the Conservatives are promising better regulation for advertising. However, the party’s hard stance on immigration could leave a lot of marketers scratching their heads.

He explains: “On immigration a promise to get numbers down to the ‘tens of thousands’ by Theresa May is deeply concerning as we look to retain the UK’s status as a global advertising hub. This risks damaging the fundamental driver of our export success – our ability to attract and keep the best talent from around the world, not just in advertising, but in all our creative industries.”

There is also uncertainty around the EU General Data Protection Regulation, with headline pledges by the Tories and Lib Dems both calling for new data protection laws. Woodford believes this will only unsettle digital businesses.

“The UK is a world leader in data-driven business and we should be looking to strengthen that position in post-Brexit Britain, not put further constraints on it versus our competitors,” he adds.

Ultimately, he says the three parties’ promises to support regional growth, creative clusters and small businesses are “great news” for marketers.

Marketing Week has rounded up the key marketing-related pledges from the three manifestos. Let us know in the comments section below which political party you think best represents the interests of the marketing industry.


  • On innovation: The Conservatives say they want to help innovators and startups by encouraging early-stage investment and considering further incentives under the Enterprise Investment Scheme and Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme.
  • On the creative industries: An ambition for many more creative businesses to open new offices outside London in the likes of Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Manchester and Newport.
  • On Brexit: They want to deliver a smooth and orderly departure from the European Union and forge a deep and special partnership with friends and allies across Europe while at the same time ensuring Britain is strong and united and takes a lead in the world to ensure interests are defended.
  • On digital business: Ensure digital businesses have access to the best talent from overseas to compete with anywhere in the world. This will be complemented by at least one new institute of technology in the UK, dedicated to world-leading digital skills and developed and run in partnership with the tech industry.
  • Help provide the skills and digital infrastructure that creative companies need and will seek to build upon the favourable tax arrangements that have helped them, including the creative industries tax credits scheme.
  • On media: Ensure there is a sustainable business model for high quality media online, to create a level playing field for the media and creative industries.
  • On IP: Create a robust system for protection of intellectual property when the UK has left the EU, with strong protections against infringement.
  • Continue a £1.9bn investment in cyber security.
  • On corporation tax: Bring corporation tax down to 17% by 2020 – the lowest rate of any developed country.
  • On immiration: Recommendations on changes to the visa system to come from the independent Migration Advisory Committee to better align with the party’s modern industrial strategy. It envisages that the committee’s advice will lead to significant numbers of visas for workers in strategically-important sectors, such as digital technology, without adding to net migration as a whole.


  • On the creative industries: 
Labour wants to put Britain’s “world-class 
creative sector” at the heart of negotiations and future industrial strategy and to open up the arts and creative industries to everyone.
  • The introduction of a £1bn Cultural Capital Fund to upgrade existing cultural and creative infrastructure to be ready for the digital age and invest in creative clusters across the country, based on a similar model to enterprise zones.
  • On Brexit: Negotiate a Brexit deal that puts the economy and living standards first.
  • On the internet: Labour will ensure that tech companies are obliged to take measures that further protect children and tackle online 
abuse and that young people understand and are able to easily remove any content they shared on the internet before they turned 18.
  • On junk food advertising: The party will publish a new childhood obesity strategy within the first 100 days, with proposals on advertising and food labelling.
  • On the sugar tax: Labour will implement the Soft Drinks Industry Levy, commonly known as the ‘sugar tax’.
  • On corporation tax: Labour wants to raise corporation tax to 26% on large companies and 21% for small companies by 2022.
  • On immigration: Admits Britain’s immigration system will change once Britain leaves the UK, but says Labour will not scapegoat migrants nor blame them for economic failure and protect those already working here, whatever their ethnicity. It will work with businesses, trade unions, devolved governments and others to identify specific labour and skill shortages.
  • Digital economy: Labour wants to grow the digital economy and ensure that trade agreements do not impede cross-border data flows, while maintaining strong data protection rules to protect personal privacy.
  • On diversity: Will implement the Parker Review recommendations to increase ethnic diversity on the boards of Britain’s largest companies.

Liberal Democrats

  • On junk food advertising: Develop a strategy to tackle childhood obesity, including restricting the 
marketing of junk food to children, restricting TV advertising before the 9pm 
watershed and closing loopholes in the sugary drinks tax. 
Introduce mandatory targets on sugar reduction for food and drink producers.
  • On alcohol pricing: Introduce minimum unit pricing for alcohol, subject to the final outcome of the legal challenge in Scotland.
  • On health campaigning: Develop a public health campaign promoting the steps people can take to 
improve their own mental resilience – the wellbeing equivalent of the ‘Five a 
Day’ campaign.
  • On apprenticeships: Aim to double the number of businesses which hire apprentices, including by 
extending apprenticeships to new sectors of our economy such as creative 
and digital industries.
  • On the creative industries: Support growth in the creative industries, including video gaming, by continuing to support the Creative Industries Council and tailored industry-specific tax support, promoting creative skills, supporting modern and flexible patent, copyright and licensing rules, and addressing the barriers to finance faced by small creative businesses.
  • On diversity: Continue the drive for diversity in business leadership, pushing for at least 40% of board members being women in FTSE 350 companies and 
implementing the recommendations of the Parker review to increase ethnic 
minority representation.
Extend the Equality Act to all large companies with more than 250 employees, 
requiring them to monitor and publish data on gender, BAME, and LGBT+ 
employment levels and pay gaps.
  • On immigration: Ensure that the immigration system is operated fairly and efficiently, with strict control of borders, including entry and exit checks, and adequately funded Border Force policing of entry by irregular routes. But also hold an annual debate in parliament on skill and labour market shortfalls and surpluses to identify the migration necessary to meet the UK’s needs.
  • On Brexit: When the terms of our future relationship with the EU have been negotiated (over the next two years on the Government’s timetable), the party will put that deal to a vote of the British people in a referendum, with the alternative option of staying in the EU on the ballot paper. The Liberal Democrats believe there is no deal as good for the UK outside the EU as the one it already has as a member.

Additional reporting by Leonie Roderick. 

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Burberry rethinks how it markets product launches Thu, 18 May 2017 13:41:03 +0000 Burberry says the marketing around the launch of its DK88 bag marks a “real shift” in how it thinks about and invests behind product.

The post Burberry rethinks how it markets product launches appeared first on Marketing Week.


Burberry is planning to put more marketing power behind product launches as it looks to increase investment around specific categories and attract more local customers to the brand.

Speaking on a call this morning to mark its full-year results, Burberry’s CEO and chief creative officer Christopher Bailey used the example of its signature DK88 bag. Its launch was accompanied by a standalone marketing campaign and dedicated store windows, the first time it has done that for a new bag, and that the company has been “delighted” with the early results.

“This launch marks a real shift in how we think about and invest behind a category. It is early days but we are delighted with the very strong results,” he explained.

“We will do more marketing and storytelling around each product.”

However, that does not mean Burberry will focus its marketing simply on product. Bailey said storytelling and communicating the balance between the brand’s rich heritage and focus on innovation will remain key.

That was most clear last year in Burberry’s Christmas ad, a trailer for a film that was never made that told the story of Burberry’s founder, Thomas Burberry. That ad, claims Burberry, was viewed more than 42 million times online.

“That story of the 160 years of Burberry is what we will always build on,” he added. “That is in our product, service, how we communicate to customers, our training and culture.”

Being a first mover in digital is also important as Burberry looks to communicate innovation through marketing, not just products. For example, Burberry is testing out mobile commerce with WeChat in China and has made early moves onto social platforms including Pinterest, Instagram and Snapchat.

Improving the customer experience

Marketing is not the only area undergoing a big shift at Burberry. Bailey said conversion both online and in stores has increased “across all markets” after it introduced two new services to improve the customer experience.

The first is a new service model ‘client’ that ensures all its staff are working to the same luxury service standards and building ongoing relationships with customers. The second is a new customer feedback form based on net promoter scores (NPS) that Bailey claimed is allowing Burberry to be “much more responsive” to customer needs. He also said its NPS scores are consistently equally the best of its luxury peers, without giving any details.

We will do more marketing and storytelling around each product.

Christopher Bailey, Burberry

Online, Burberry is also working to make it easier for customers to buy by adding more lines and fulfilling online orders from stores. Digital, he said, now “influences” 70% of Burberry’s sales, while mobile sales are up 50% although no total figure was given.

While digital outperformed the rest of the business last year, Bailey said he wants to sharpen the brand’s focus on converting digital awareness into ecommerce sales. To do that, Burberry is relaunching its mobile app to offer a richer experience and improve functionality, while at the same time boosting relationships with retailers such as Harrods and Barneys in the US.

Burberry’s results have struggled a little in recent quarters and total revenue was down 2% for the full year to £2.8bn while adjusted profit before tax was down 21%. Burberry is also embarking on a cost-cutting programme that will see it improve efficiency by £100m in full-year 2019, up from £20m last year.

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Asda slows the decline as brand perceptions start to turn around Thu, 18 May 2017 12:08:14 +0000 Asda slowed its rate of decline in its first half but still has a lot of work to do if it wants to make up for market share losses.

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Asda is slowing the decline after a number of quarters of big drops in its sales, but the supermarket still has some way to go to make up market share losses.

For its first quarter ended 31 March, the UK’s third biggest supermarket saw its sales fall 2.8%, which compares to a decline of 2.9% in the previous quarter. Net sales, meanwhile, edged up by 0.9%.

In recent years, Asda has suffered as its price-orientated branding was eroded as the discounters Aldi and Lidl moved onto its territory by offering cheaper everyday items with a message on quality as well. The likes of Tesco and Morrisons are also making deep price cuts.

Despite another sales fall, Asda’s CEO Sean Clarke says the results mark a “third consecutive quarter of improvement” and are proof Asda is starting to turn things around.

“We’re delivering more consistently for our customers, particularly in fresh food, service and availability – both in stores and online,” he claims. “But despite this progress we are in no way complacent and there is still much for us to do.”

According to YouGov BrandIndex, the Asda brand is also showing signs of recovery. Over the last 26 weeks, its index score, which comprises of consumer perceptions including impression, quality, value, reputation and satisfaction, has risen 1.3 points. This places it ninth on a list of the UK’s 26 biggest grocers.

Its buzz score, which is a balance of the positive and negative things people have heard about a brand, is also up. Over the same period, it has risen by four points to 4.8; the fastest rate of growth out of the 26 grocers.

Asda will also be encouraged by the most recent Kantar Worldpanel numbers. For the 12 weeks ending 23 April 2017, Asda increased year-on-year sales for the first time since October 2014, although its overall market share fell by 0.4 percentage points to 15.6%.

Retail Remedy’s Phil Dorrell says Asda must now ensure its premium range matches its everyday items.

He concludes: “Recent visits to Asda suggest that availability is making progress but it is only as good as the range. Chasing costs for too long has meant the quality has become diluted.

“Asda must not forget aspirational shopping in their race to meet the needs of their demographic. We are positive that change will happen at Asda but the erosion of quality through cost reduction and price engineering takes some reversing out of.”

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International round-up: AB InBev invests $2bn in US business, Facebook fined in France Thu, 18 May 2017 11:07:46 +0000 Plus IAB plans to swap the term ‘programmatic’ for ‘automation’ and Unilever buys Quala brands to help drive growth in South America.

The post International round-up: AB InBev invests $2bn in US business, Facebook fined in France appeared first on Marketing Week.


AB InBev to invest $2bn in US business to fight sales decline

Anheuser-Busch InBev plans to invest $2bn (£1.53bn) in the US to fight the decline in beer sales due to a growing consumer appetite for craft beer.

Its flagship Budweiser lager has suffered from declining volumes and a falling market share over the past three years.

The company, which recently bought rival SABMiller for nearly $100bn (£77bn), says investment in its 21 US breweries will allow it to make different beers, or expand production of aluminium bottles.

The company will also push further into non-alcoholic drinks, such as the ready-to-drink tea Teavana it is producing in partnership with Starbucks.

READ MORE: AB InBev to pump $2 billion into U.S. business

IAB plans to swap the term ‘programmatic’ for ‘automation’

The US Interactive Advertising Bureau released a report Wednesday that attempts to rid the advertising world of the word “programmatic” and replace it with “automation.”

Ironically, the news arrived on the same day as the IAB Programmatic Symposium.

“Instead of relying on the false dichotomy of defining overall buying and selling practices as ‘programmatic’ or not, IAB proposes a framework rooted in the digital supply chain processes that can (or cannot) be automated,” the report said.

However, most people seem to think its a bad idea.

“Just when people were beginning to coalesce around the meaning of programmatic, we’re going to change it? The way it’s used now, programmatic means the application of data to the purchase of media. The word ‘automation’ doesn’t begin to cover that complexity,” Susan Bidel, senior analyst at Forrester, told AdAge.

READ MORE: What insiders think of IAB’s plan to swap ‘programmatic’ for ‘automation’

Unilever buys Quala brands to help drive growth in South America


Unilever will buy the personal and home care brands of Colombian consumer goods company Quala.

Unilever says the Quala businesses will strengthen its position in shampoos, toothpaste, men’s grooming and fabric conditioners in South America.

Paul Polman, Unilever’s chief executive, said on Monday: “The active management of the portfolio through bolt-on acquisitions such as this one, and the sustained investment in our existing brands, will help us deliver continued growth ahead of our markets.”

The move comes three months after Kraft Heinz’s aborted $143bn (£109.7bn) bid for the Anglo-Dutch company. Unilever has since said it wants to make bolt-on acquisitions to help grow revenues.

READ MORE: Unilever buys Quala brands to help drive growth

Facebook fined by French regulator over privacy breach


A French regulator has fined Facebook €150,000 (£128,000) for breaching data protection laws.

The Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés imposed the sanction after finding that Facebook was collecting information on users for advertising “without having a legal basis”.

The regulator also accused Facebook of “unfair” tracking of people as they browse the web, without offering users sufficient warnings.

This is not the only investigation Facebook has faced. Last week, Facebook’s messaging service WhatsApp was fined €3m (£2.6m) by Italian authorities for sharing data with its parent company.

READ MORE: Facebook fined €150k by French regulator over privacy breach

Porsche to be investigated by German prosecutors for market manipulation

German prosecutors have launched a formal investigation of Porsche SE executives Matthias Mueller and Hans Dieter Poetsch on grounds of suspected market manipulation.

The prosecutor’s office in Stuttgart said on Wednesday it is investigating both men on suspicion they may have informed investors too late about risks to the Porsche holding firm from Volkswagen’s diesel emissions scandal.

Porsche SE, which is headquartered in Stuttgart, controls 52.2% of VW’s voting shares.

READ MORE: German prosecutors start formal investigation of Porsche SE executives

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Unilever’s sustainable brands grow 50% faster than the rest of the business Thu, 18 May 2017 11:01:12 +0000 Unilever’s 'Sustainable Living' brands, which include Hellmann's, Dove and Ben & Jerry's, delivered more than 60% of the company’s growth in 2016.

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Unilever sustainable

Unilever’s ‘Sustainable Living’ brands are becoming increasingly important to the company’s business, with these brands growing more than 50% faster than the rest of the business and accounting for 60% of growth in 2016.

Both those figures have accelerated from 2015, when they accounted for 46% of growth and were growing 30% faster. The updated figures are part of a wider report on Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan.

Unilever wants all its brands to reduce their environmental footprint and increase their positive social impact. Its ‘Sustainable Living’ brands are those that are furthest ahead on this journey and combine a strong social or environmental purpose. In 2016, 18 of its top 40 brands were considered sustainable, up from 12 the year before.

Unilever says brands including  Lifebuoy, Ben & Jerry’s, Dove and Hellmann’s are leading the way and achieving “above average growth”, with high single- and double-digit sales over the past six years.

Brands such as Lynx, Brooke Bond tea and Surf have now joined the growing list of Unilever’s Sustainable Living brands with purpose at their core.

“We have made great progress. Our results show that sustainability is good for business, with increasing evidence that our ‘sustainable living brands’ do better,” says Unilever CEO Paul Polman.

READ MORE: Brands missing out on £820bn opportunity by not pushing sustainability

“There is no doubt that the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan is making us more competitive by helping us to build our brands and spur innovation, strengthen our supply chain and reduce our risks, lower our costs, and build trust in our business. It is helping Unilever to serve society and our many consumers, and in doing so, create value for shareholders.”

Unilever commissioned research to help understand what is driving people’s purchasing habits and behaviour. It showed that over half of all consumers already buy or want to buy sustainably. One in three (33%) already purchase products with sustainability in mind, and a further 21% do not currently but would like to.

Unilever is keen to show that its focus on sustainable business is paying off after it was the subject of a takeover attempt by Heinz earlier this year. It saw off the move but has faced renewed pressure to improve efficiencies and its value to shareholders.

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Why US brands are crushing the UK on customer experience Wed, 17 May 2017 23:01:19 +0000 The US has always been better at customer experience than the UK, but the gap is getting wider. In order to improve, UK brands must sharpen their focus on employee engagement, organise themselves around the customer and get back to basics.

The post Why US brands are crushing the UK on customer experience appeared first on Marketing Week.

US UK flag

Despite the best efforts of UK brands to bolster customer experience, they continue to lag behind their US counterparts. In fact, the margin is getting bigger with US brands now 6% ahead of those in the UK compared to just 2% last year, according to KPMG Nunwood’s latest US Customer Experience Excellence report.

The top 100 brands in the US study, which was conducted in March, score an average of 7.75 out of 10, while the leading companies in the equivalent UK study from September score 7.33.

The UK’s average score did climb in 2016, having been a steady 7.25 for the past two years, but brands on this side of the Atlantic are not keeping up with the pace of improvement displayed by US companies.

Some 58 brands scored higher than eight points in the US this year, compared to just four in the UK, meaning consumers are 15 times more likely to have a good experience with a US brand.

To calculate scores and compile the ranking, KPMG Nunwood interviewed 7,695 consumers, asking each to measure brands against six pillars: integrity, personalisation, time and effort, meeting expectations, problem resolution and empathy.

Companies that do well in the US have a number of elements in common – they are structured around the customer, focused on employee engagement, they get the basics right and they understand resolution management.

US brands are very focused on how employees interact with customers, the type of behaviours they use and the service levels they aspire to.

David Conway, KPMG Nunwood

“At the last count, 30% of Fortune 500 companies have organised themselves around customer needs rather than departments or functions,” says David Conway, senior partner and chief strategy officer at KPMG Nunwood. “There is a substantial difference in how those companies are going to market and managing the experience delivery.”

Employee engagement plays a crucial role in this, which is something UK brands “haven’t quite caught hold of”, says Conway.

“US brands are very focused on how employees interact with customers, the type of behaviours they use and the service levels they aspire to. Their target for a great experience is far higher than companies in the UK.”

Two brands that display this extremely well are Intercontinental Hotels & Resorts (IHG) and W Hotels, both of which have made huge improvements in a relatively short space of time. IHG enters the top 10 for the first time at number three, having climbed 64 spots since 2016, while W Hotels, a new entry, jumps straight in at six.

Both have concentrated on their employees and become very adept at getting the most from staff, says Conway. W Hotels, in particular, has instilled a sense of pride in its employees, partly through the development of its terminology.

“It doesn’t call people staff or employees it calls them talent, and it doesn’t refer to the maid as a housekeeper, she is a stylist. It’s got a really interesting set of words it uses that make people think about what they do,” he says.

“W is totally focused on delivering a great experience for employees and then encouraging them to behave in the right way for the customer.”

Energy brands see a boost

Another new entry for 2017 is gas and electricity firm Southern Company, which takes fifth place, no mean feat given utilities as a whole is a historically low performing sector. In fact, it is the first time a utility company has featured in the top 10 of either the US or UK ranking.

The highest performing utility brand in the UK list is Ovo Energy, which came in at 57.

READ MORE: First Direct reclaims customer experience crown from Lush

In addition to having a strong focus on its people – Southern Company scored very highly for empathy – the roll-out of its smart meter technology has changed the relationship customers have with the business.

“Typically, a utility charges you a price for your power, but what Southern has done is ask customers to think about managing their own costs. The smart meter and the apps that go with it show consumers exactly how much power they are using and encourages them to self manage and keep costs where they want them to be,” says Conway.

The technology is also able to identify problems within a user’s household, allowing the brand to be much more proactive at managing the customer relationship.

Conway says there is a “massive amount” UK utility brands could learn from the likes of Southern Company. “The UK energy sector is way behind US companies,” he adds.

US utility brands now outperform UK companies by 11% on average, up from 6% in 2016.

Telecoms companies have also come a long way. Last year it was the only sector where the UK did better that the US – a 1% difference – but this year the tables have turned and US firms now perform 5% better that UK businesses on average.

READ MORE: Telecoms industry told to ‘up its game’ on customer service

Areas for improvement

“If you look at the organisations that are really improving in the US, there are four areas they focus on,” says Conway. “The top performing US organisations aspire to excellence, largely driven by very informed and motivated senior leadership teams.”

READ MORE: Silos and bureaucracy are ‘holding back’ customer experience

They have also got the culture right and understand how to engage employees to ensure they deliver outstanding experience to customers, he says, which is “not a trivial task and they’ve worked hard to get there”.

The top performing brands in the US are also ruthless in their execution, as well as being very informed about the economics of customer experience, whereas in the UK brands tend to “travel hopefully”.

“We do it because we think it is the right thing to do, and that’s true, but in the US they are much more focused on the financial outcomes of an experience and the value it adds,” Conway concludes.

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‘Facebook needs to do more than be open and honest about metrics errors’ Wed, 17 May 2017 15:06:53 +0000 The social network seems to think that finding and admitting its errors will pacify marketers but they will not be happy until they get full, independent, third-party verification.

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Another month, another Facebook measurement error. Its latest, revealed in a blog post yesterday, is the fifth admission since September and the 10th error it has found in its metrics.

This time, the “bug” was found to be misattributing clicks on video carousel ads. What this means in practice is that if a user clicked on a video to watch it, Facebook thought they were clicking on a link to the brand’s website and charged the advertiser accordingly.

Facebook was quick in its blog post to highlight how small an error this was. Because it related to mobile web users, rather than smartphones, and specifically video carousel ads it only accounted for 0.04% of ad impressions. It apologised, said it takes all bugs very seriously, and promised to pay impacted advertisers back.

Facebook launched the blog to provide updates on these errors in November. It is part of a wider plan to make the social network appear open and honest and willing to own up to errors. After all, what marketer could lose trust in a Facebook that admits its mistakes in public and looks to atone for its sins.

Along with the announcement of a measurement council and several new measurement partners, Facebook clearly thinks it is making big progress on allaying marketers’ concerns. It goes on in its blog post to talk about how it “regularly reviews its systems to ensure their accuracy”.

Clearly these reviews are not happening often enough; this latest bug was seemingly running for more than a year. And while Facebook found this one itself (along with most of the others), some have been discovered by the media. It was the Wall Street Journal that uncovered the first measurement error back in September, while Marketing Land happened on another in November. Marketing Land has a handy list of all the errors here.

This latest error is a biggie because it is the first one to have actually cost advertisers money. It might only account for 0.04% of ad impressions, but it will leave many wondering what other errors are out there that Facebook hasn’t found yet.

The errors are also significant because of the huge role Facebook now plays in the ad world. Along with Google it accounts for the vast majority of digital ad spend and almost all the growth. Advertisers spend vast sums on the site and are entitled to know what impact this is having.

Given that almost all the errors are in the social network’s favour, its clear Facebook has been painting itself in a much more favourable light than the data actually shows across a huge range of measurements for quite some time.

Admitting there is a problem, as Facebook has done with the blog, is a  step in the right direction but it is only a step. The social network is still a walled garden with third parties given very little access to its data. The walls might be slightly lower than they used to be, but it is still almost impossible to compare its data with other ecosystems.

This would not be tolerated in any other media. The TV networks have Nielsen in the US and BARB in the UK to ensure all data is correct and that it can be compared across networks. So do radio broadcasters, magazine and newspaper publishers.

Being open and transparent about metrics means letting a company in to verify those measurements, not just admitting when something goes wrong. No media owner is perfect, not Facebook, not Google, not the TV networks. Facebook is not deliberately trying to mislead advertisers but mistakes happen. That is why independent, third-party verification is needed. Only then will marketers truly know that the metrics they are using are reliable and that they’re spending their money as efficiently and effectively as possible.

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Conservatives claim their model for the creative industries has been ‘imitated globally’ Wed, 17 May 2017 13:26:38 +0000 As his party prepares to launch its General Election 2017 manifesto tomorrow (18 May), Matt Hancock, the government’s minister of state for digital and culture, claims those who care about the arts have a responsibility to vote Conservative.

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The changes the Conservative Government has made to the UK’s creative industry have been so successful they have been imitated across the world, according to the minister of state for digital and culture Matt Hancock.

Speaking at the first of four Creative Industries Federation events that will focus on the creative strategies of each of the four main parties (Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats and the SNP), Hancock claimed that over the last eight years the Tories had made Britain “the most exciting creative industry on the planet.”

Citing the tax breaks it’s given to the creative industry and its focus on developing creative “ecosystems” in areas such as Belfast, Manchester and Hull, Hancock argued that his party’s approach to Britain’s creative sector had been “imitated across the world” and that sectors such as advertising had a “responsibility” to vote Conservative.

Hancock provoked ironic laughter from the audience when he reiterated Prime Minister Theresa May’s “strong and stable leadership,” which has been a much-repeated catchphrase during the General Election 2017 campaign. But he used the event to spell out the key areas in which the Conservative’s will aim to support the UK’s creative industry should they get re-elected on 8 June.

READ MORE: General Election 2017: A foregone conclusion? Or can marketing create an upset?

Primarily, this will involve getting the best possible deal for Brexit. This is something Hancock said he was “personally invested in” and he will visit Brussels next week to try to work out a better deal for the UK’s creative industry, which relies heavily on free movement and European workers.

He also said there is an opportunity to look outside London and ensure the government is “harnessing every single part of the country”. Pointing to the government’s extra funding for music hubs, he believes free schools present an opportunity to create more areas that specialise in a particular creative discipline.

The Tories will also focus on developing new rules so intellectual property is “properly defended” in the internet age.

Hancock told delegates: “We don’t want to get just the best possible Brexit deal for Britain but the best possible deal for our creative industry as well.

“Yes, it is important Britain continues to have a good business relationship with Europe but EU trade deals don’t necessarily have a cultural chapter. There’s just as many opportunities for the creative sector to link up with the rest of the world.”

We don’t want to just get the best possible Brexit deal for Britain but the best possible deal for our creative industry as well.

Matt Hancock, Conservatives

When asked whether Brexit would make it harder for the creative industry to attract top talent from Europe, Hancock countered: “We’ve got to ensure we bring back control of our immigration system but also still attract the brightest and best talent. It isn’t our aim to completely reinvent the whole system.”

The Tories, meanwhile, will continue to make apprenticeships a “mainstream” concept and Hancock claimed the government hadn’t made it harder for working class children to enter the creative industry by, at times, cutting the government’s budget for the arts over the last eight years. “We know that you can’t spread excellence by undermining excellence,” he rebuked.

Earlier this week, the Labour party revealed its own manifesto. It said it would put the creative industry “at the heart” of Brexit negotiations and launch a creative careers advice campaign into schools. Jeremy Corbyn’s party will also introduce a £1bn Cultural Capital Fund to upgrade the UK’s existing cultural and creative infrastructure.

However, Hancock argued that while the likes of Labour has committed to raising the arts budget in its manifesto, they have “no idea” how to actually pay for this investment.

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Marketoonist on chatbots and the future of customer experience Wed, 17 May 2017 13:16:01 +0000 Tom Fishburne is founder of Marketoon Studios. Follow his work at or on Twitter @tomfishburne See more of the Marketoonist here

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Tom Fishburne is founder of Marketoon Studios. Follow his work at or on Twitter @tomfishburne

See more of the Marketoonist here

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Why big companies need to act with a startup mentality when it comes to product launches Wed, 17 May 2017 10:30:28 +0000 Marketers from Nokia, Lego and FatFace on what makes a good product launch and how to learn from mistakes.

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Top brands should remain agile and not be scared to admit when a formula is no longer working, according to marketers from Nokia, Lego and FatFace.

The brands were speaking at a Launch 360 event, hosted by agency Five by Five, in London last week (11 May), where Sara Holt, digital marketing director at Lego, spoke about her experience of product launches both in her current role and while at the BBC and UKTV.

“Kill the old formulae. Just because you had success before, doesn’t mean you will again,” Holt said.

She used the example of the launches of TV channels Dave and Blighty, from when she worked at UKTV. Dave, she said, was seen as a big success and so it tried to repeat the formula with Blighty. However, Blighty was taken off air in 2013 because the formula “simply didn’t work anymore”.

Kill the old formulae. Just because you had success before, doesn’t mean you will again.

Sara Holt, Lego

Holt also takes this approach when it comes to television advertising, which she said is an example of a formula that no longer works on its own. She says audiences, including herself, “no longer watch live television.”

“Everyone needs to understand the TV formula will no longer work. If you rely heavily on the TV formula you are in trouble. Organisations need to be thinking about how they innovate with their mix,” Holt explained.

Culture above all else

Nokia’s CEO of UK and Ireland, Cormac Whelan, agreed with Holt but said there is no such thing as a failed launch as long as you learn from it and act agilely.

“Failure? It all depends on how you determine success. I’m a believer there is no such thing as a failed cause,” he said.

It will be like [film] Minority Report. You will walk into a shop and it will know everything about you and will market to you based on what it thinks you want.

Cormac Whelan, Nokia

However, Whelan believes the speed at which marketers are now expected to act will affect product launches. While a company such as Nokia might in the past have worked on a product for five years before launch, the speed of innovation and changing consumer trends means in future launches will happen “by osmosis”.

Nokia says one of its main challenges is retaining its Finnishness but also highlighting it’s not a one country organisation.

“If you have to launch a product in five years’ time, you will fail, they are going to launch themselves. You won’t work to a set day or date – it will happen by osmosis,” Whelan explained.

“It will be like [film] Minority Report. You will walk into a shop and it will know everything about you and will market to you based on what it thinks you want.”

Instead of worrying about product launches, Whelan said companies should focus on the culture of the company and getting that right.

He believes companies have to have something they feel runs through the organisation, such as 150-year-old Nokia marketing itself as a “passportless organisation.”

“One of our challenges is how we retain our Finnishness but also highlight we’re not a one country organisation,” he added.

Act with pace, act with agility

Paul Wright, head of multichannel at FatFace, believes everything should start with the customer and that to help this companies need to act at a fast pace, with agility and in an entrepreneurial manner.

“You should act with pace and agility. If you can’t make a decision, there is no point,” he said.

Wright says brands get it wrong when they try to do things “too corporately” and instead should focus on what the best thing or the right culture is to have in specific stores.

FatFace encourages its employees to go out and live the FatFace life.

FatFace recently launched in the US but Wright said the fashion brand didn’t focus enough on understanding its new market, so much so the UK tills introduced in the states didn’t sync with those in the UK.

“The entrepreneurial spirit of trying something new was lost. We focused too much on UK policy. It was complicated, but it wasn’t a failure, it was a learning,” he said.

Wright advised marketers to get back to basics and act with an entrepreneurial spirit to capture audiences’ attention, something the brand focuses on through training and making sure employees engage with the products. This includes store managers physically living the FatFace life and heading to the beach to understand what makes summer for the brand.

The world will become so mad and those that win will be the ones that keep it simple.

Ken Valledy, Tech2Brand

Ken Valledy, CEO of startup Tech2Brand, agreed with Wright and said it is important brands understand what works for them and their company culture. He said brands he has worked for in the past, including beer brand Brahma, have become a victim of their own success when they have lost their startup mentality.

The beer’s target audience had been those looking for something different or unobtainable, but by moving the brand to supermarkets it lost its core audience.

“I think big companies need to realise they can be a lot more agile and more companies will take this startup view. The world will become so mad and those that win will be the ones that keep it simple,” he said.

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Lynx hints at return of ‘entertaining’ ads as it launches new men’s issues campaign Wed, 17 May 2017 09:00:09 +0000 Lynx says its more serious positioning has boosted sales and brand attributes but admits it must also ‘have fun’.

The post Lynx hints at return of ‘entertaining’ ads as it launches new men’s issues campaign appeared first on Marketing Week.


Lynx says it has been “overwhelmed” by the positive reactions to its new, more serious, brand positioning, but adds its future communications will also look to entertain.

It started a brand overhaul nearly three years ago, when it moved away from ‘babes in bikinis’ to focus on more pressing issues. Last year, for example, it honed in on raising awareness of male suicide in partnership with charity CALM.

Rik Strubel, global vice president at Unilever’s Lynx brand, tells Marketing Week it will continue to focus its communications around men’s issues such as mental health and self-confidence. He also hopes, however, that Lynx will be seen as an “entertainment brand” among young men.

“We have always entertained people with our light-hearted communications. When you look at [our advertising], it’s something we need to continue to do,” he says.

“I think we have a way to mix and match things so they connect with people. That’s also what consumers are telling us. There are certain things that we should be serious about, and then others where we can have some fun – and we are trying to do both of those.”

New expressions of being male

Its latest campaign #isitokforguys, which launches today (17 May) and was created by 72andSunny Amsterdam, is part of its ‘Find Your Magic’ platform. It looks to encourage men to rid themselves of cultural pressures and labels telling them what it means to ‘be a man’.

The ad is a Google search-driven campaign that reveals how guys are asking the questions they can’t face asking out loud, such as ‘Is it ok for guys to wear pink?’ and ‘Is it ok for guys to experiment with other guys?’.

There are certain things that we should be serious about, and then others where we can have some fun – and we are trying to do both of those.

Rik Strubel, Lynx

The campaign includes a 45-second film, as well as interviews with 30 Lynx partners answering guys’ most searched questions.

Strubel says the new campaign was based on research it conducted with charity Promundo, which analysed what life is like for men.

READ MORE: Lynx is moving away from its ‘1990s lads mag’ branding, here’s why

The research revealed 65% of respondents have been told that “a real man” should behave a certain way. Some 66% think society expects them to act strong, even if they feel scared, and 56% feel they are expected to figure out problems on their own without asking for help.

“There are barriers that hold them back. We looked at what they’re concerned about and searching for online by partnering with Google. We wanted to put those out there and tell men they can do whatever they think is right and express themselves the way they want,” he says.

An ‘overwhelming’ response

Strubel adds its more serious brand positioning has been developing “incredibly quickly” in line with society, and that it has been “overwhelmed” by the positive responses.

After launching its ‘Find Your Magic’ campaign last year, the brand saw an “immediate bump” in brand attributes, with consumers labelling the brand “cool and trendy”. While Strubel did not want to share financial figures, he does say the brand has grown as a result.

We felt that before 2016, we were getting a bit out of touch with guys, so now we have that touch back again. But it’s a marathon and not a sprint, so we’re still growing over time.

“Our new brand positioning seems to be hitting a mark among both men and women. It seems like it’s the right thing to do to keep that brand focus and be in their lives as a useful partner,” he says.

“We felt that before 2016, we were getting a bit out of touch with guys, so now we have that touch back again. But it’s a marathon and not a sprint, so we’re still growing over time.”

Going forward, it will be working with more charity partners such as CALM and anti-bullying charity Ditch the Label to make its campaigns go further. Its initiative with CALM last year increased awareness of suicide being the main cause of death among young men by 45%, according to YouGov figures supplied by the brand.

“Eating disorders for men are through the roof, boys are falling behind in school, and suicide and mental illness is growing among men. Something in society seems to be going the wrong way, so this brand as well as others have a responsibility to try and help them.”

When asked if consumers really want their deodorant to have a social purpose, Strubel insists the younger generation now “demand” brands make a positive impact on society.

“Young guys are demanding that we not only sell products, but that we also do something for them. I think it’s the right demand, and we need to respond to that demand as marketers,” he concludes.

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Virgin Trains turns to startups in bid to stop ‘pissing off’ delayed travellers Tue, 16 May 2017 16:23:07 +0000 Virgin Trains hopes its new Platform X startup programme will invest in ideas that can transform the negative perceptions Brits typically reserve for rail operators.

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With regular price hikes, complaints about delays and ongoing strike action on some of the most popular routes in the UK, it’s safe to say rail operators receive a lot of negativity from the British public.

Amid this backdrop, Virgin Trains has outperformed. On a list of the UK’s 32 biggest transport brands, Virgin Trains is ranked fifth when it comes to its index score, which is a combination of consumer perceptions across metrics including impression, quality, value and reputation. That makes it the top ranked rail operator (top of the list is London Overground, followed by Eurostar and P&O Ferries).

However, over the last year its index score has fallen by 4.1 points to 10.4, a decline deemed statistically significant, according to YouGov BrandIndex. In fact, only Southern Trains, a rail network that’s been dogged by criticism over recent years, has suffered a greater decline; a fall of 14.4 points to -15.9, which places it comfortably bottom of the list. Almost across the board rail operators are suffering as public perceptions fall.

To address this, Virgin Trains is setting up Platform X. From now until 28 May, Virgin Trains and Virgin’s StartUp division are seeking out innovative startups to help improve its rail service and wider brand perception.

Platform X aims to invest in ideas that improve the journey experience, increase customer engagement and evolve how Virgin staff deal with delays, as well as the entertainment opportunities they can offer upset travellers.

There’s an opportunity to invest in tech that helps people get less pissed off during delays.

Danny Gonzalez, Virgin Trains

This isn’t the first time a rail network has launched a startup accelerator, with Transport For London doing something similar in its bid to turn the capital into a ‘smart city’. However, Virgin Trains says Platform X will be “more thorough” and that winning entries will gain access to a sizeable £25m innovation fund.

Should the scheme prove a success, there could be an opportunity to turn Platform X into an annual Dragons Den-style event, according to Virgin Trains’s sales and marketing director Danny Gonzalez. He tells Marketing Week: “Historically rail brands have stuck with the same IT providers and suppliers, just slightly tweaking what’s there and not really delivering any major changes. Consumers feel they are always getting the same answers.

“Rail is a very emotive subject and people will look at certain franchises and then tarnish the whole industry. But with Platform X we want to deliver game-changing innovations for not just our own brand and business, but the rail industry as a whole.”

What Virgin Trains is looking for

Some of Virgin Trains’ biggest issues are around the ease with which consumers can book tickets. Gonzalez says it also struggles to keep data on consumers and that if they book via a third-party system like Trainline, it has no way of finding out and subsequently using this data to personalise the customer experience.

Gonzalez would also like to invest in startups that provide solutions to some of Virgin Trains’ biggest brand misconceptions. He explains: “If I had a magic wand, I would like to raise people’s awareness of what they actually gain by travelling with us. We have far better journey times than people think and also offer great value for money. There is a misconception Virgin is disproportionately expensive and I’d love that to change.”

Following a recent agency pitch, Virgin Trains will return to above-the-line advertising channels this year, with a campaign that maintains its usual ‘comedic, irreverent’ tone of voice. Ultimately, though, Gonzalez hopes Platform X can have a lasting impact.

It would be beneficial, for example, if Virgin Trains could discover a startup that is capable of creating a solution with an Airbnb-level impact. “That would be very nice,” he adds. “It’s also important how we manage people’s problems during times of disruption.

“There’s smart opportunities to use technology to make a big difference in those situations and aim to make sure people aren’t getting pissed off. We’ve already had a few entries and I’m hoping we can find something.”

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Mark Ritson: In the AI era, it’s digital ads that face disruption Tue, 16 May 2017 15:47:49 +0000 A new Forrester report claims consumers' hatred of interruption is killing online advertising and brands should invest in AI instead. Are the digital disruptors about to be disrupted?

The post Mark Ritson: In the AI era, it’s digital ads that face disruption appeared first on Marketing Week.


ritsonGiven my antipathy to the ‘death’ theme that haunts every possible marketing moment currently, the likelihood of my agreeing with a report entitled ‘The End of Advertising As We Know It’ was slim.

The fact that the report was written by Forrester, one of the few firms to understand properly and objectively the intersection of marketing and tech, did slightly re-balance things. But not enough to avoid the very loud “harrumph” I uttered as I read a precis of the report last week.

For as long as we have had advertising there has been an angry ex-agency bozo or half-arsed futurologist predicting the imminent demise of the ignoble profession. A zippy Google search for the “end of advertising as we know it” will reveal a best-selling book from 2000, a series of inane conference presentations from 1990s and, more recently, a whole raft of tech-based attacks that portay traditional communications as being a dead marketing man walking.

READ MORE: Mark Ritson – I long for the death of marketing clichés

I don’t know the name of the ancient Greek opportunist who first carved the name of a taverna on a wall with directions beneath it and invented the advertising industry. But I’ll bet there was some miserable prick stood next to him as he chipped away, shaking his head and telling everyone that it would not last. Such is advertising.

Quite clearly advertising has evolved tremendously in the past 20 years. A surprising amount of it also hasn’t changed at all by the way, but we don’t talk about these things in marketing lest we be seen as ‘old-school’ and not sufficiently au fait with the startling new world of digital marketing. But change is not what the Forrester report is about. The co-authors are truly dead-set on a prediction that the end is very much nigh.

Aversion to interruption

The big insight on which Forrester is basing its “declaration” that 2017 is the year that advertising as we know it comes to an end is the increasing intolerance we all have for interruptions. That is, after all, the name for the small uncomfortable corner of experience where advertising lives and occasionally emerges from to occupy your consciousness for a few tantalising moments of engagement.

There is something delicious in seeing Facebook and Google suddenly threatened with a digital disruption of their own.

Forrester point outs, not without accuracy, that consumers are spending less and less time “doing interruptible things on interruption-friendly devices”. Despite their current domination, Google and Facebook’s model for success is disarmingly old-fashioned. Google make billions interrupting your search with paid suggestions. Facebook interrupt your social interactions with paid messages. Clearly, once we navigate the issues of brand safety and measurement, the next big bump for digital media is the fact that this is a singularly inappropriate context to try and interrupt a user’s experience for even a second.

The active-finger, multi-screen, double-click world of your smartphone makes it just about the most impossible 10 square inches imaginable to break into and garner attention, let alone drive action. There is a reason that you need to show the average digital display ad to 2,000 people before one of them will click on it.

READ MORE: Humans evolve at a glacial pace but technology with value is always in demand

The great irony of Mark Zuckerberg’s vision for Facebook ads back in 2007 – in which he too claimed an end to advertising as we knew it and proposed engaging organically with consumers in conversation as equals – was that, although it did not actually work, it was the ideal approach to get past the always-on, never-interrupted digital audiences of the 21st century. It’s ironic because Zuckerberg quickly gave up on organic conversations and opted for an all too familiar model of display advertising, much like the one he had set out to disrupt a few years earlier.

And, of course, not only is the digital consumer pretty much out of bounds from an attention point of view, the device she is using is equally uncooperative. The advent of ad blockers, as Forrester notes, is increasing not because the ads suck but because any sane human being, given the option of free extinction, will click the ad blocker button in an instant. Whether we want to admit it or not, the ancient technology of interruption sits uncomfortably in the age of digital media.

AI could bypass brands

But before the guffaws of the so-called traditional media get too loud, it’s worth noting that the end of interruptions is by no means an exclusively digital phenomenon. As households grow used to smart TVs and DVR content their ability to zip through advertising with expert aplomb grows ever more concerning. Once again technology plays into the consumer’s hands too with an increasing proportion of DVR devices around the world now able to not only pre-record your favourite shows but also re-present them shorn of ads too.

For Forrester the only hope for advertisers is to see the end of interruptions as the end of advertising itself and ship money across town to artificial intelligence (AI) and smart assistants. It recommends that “marketers take billions of dollars out of digital display advertising to make this investment”.

The passivity of the TV audience ironically makes it far more immune to the interruption issue.

There is something delicious in seeing the big tech disruptors of the 21st century, Facebook and Google, suddenly threatened with a digital disruption of their own. But this recommendation to pull back from digital and go deep into AI seems a knee-jerk one to me – a bit like seeing a gust of wind then rushing off to the supermarket to panic buy tins of beans and water.

There is a fascinating future appearing on the horizon in which our smart personal assistants handle most of our purchases for us. It’s a scary world for marketers because those smart devices won’t be watching ads but rather using a complex array of calculations and predictive modelling to make the optimum purchase.

Low-involvement consumer decision-making will become a contradiction in terms and with it all the brands and campaigns that populated our early consumer consciousness will fall foul of evolution. If Amazon gets Alexa right the Andrex puppy will be left, forgotten and unwelcome, on the back step of every British household with only a bunch of soggy, squabbling meerkats for company.

It is brands as well as advertising we are talking about. As marketing professor Scott Galloway has recently noted, in the world of proper AI, basic categories could well replace brands in our verbal requests. Let the machine work out which one to get; I just need toothpaste.

And it’s not just ancient brands that lose out. Google, for all its power and heft, operates a two-step model of consumer information. I search for information on pen refills with Google, then I visit the site and make the purchase. That’s radically more efficient than having to piss off down to the pen shop and talk to an ancient old bloke about pens for an hour.

READ MORE: UK ad spend hits record £21.4bn as digital dominates again

But that farty old pen shop experience is exactly how our children will see our current use of Google. They will laugh as we talk to them about ‘typing’ a request into a ‘search engine’ to find possible pen retailers and ‘clicking’ on the best options. The little black disc on the bookshelf that orders stuff for my future 22-year-old daughter with one verbal command is where things are going.

Disruption is slower than you think

Before we get completely caught up in all of this, however, let us pause and consider what we know about marketing revolutions. Inevitably, we overestimate the impact of new technologies and we underestimate how long it will take for them to take hold. Forrester appears to be of the belief that it’s time to jump ship now, declare advertising dead and start working on an AI strategy. If we have learned anything thus far in marketing it’s that these revolutions occur with much slower speed than anyone expects.

While it’s headline-grabbing to declare all advertising is over, the truth is that the interruption extinction event only screws up certain media, not others. Yes, it’s a big fucking problem for the agile, mercurial audiences that populate digital media. But while TV is struggling with its own interruption issues the simple laziness and passivity of the TV audience ironically makes it far more immune to the interruption issue.

Advertising may be changing but it’s not dead or dying or about to be replaced by a black disc.

Many years ago I studied a bunch of families in their own homes and looked at why and how they actually viewed TV advertising. When I finished my research an army of agencies all asked me the same question; which ads pull best? My answer was a disappointment to them. It was clear from thousands of hours of watching families watching advertising that the ads themselves were a relatively tiny force in the overall advertising equation.

Only agencies would think their ads were somehow the main factor in driving attention. The real, ethnographic truth was that a host of more mundane factors explained why a family did or did not pay attention to ads. Where they with someone else they could chat to in the break? Did they want a piss? Were they exhausted? Could they find the remote to change channel?

All these years later, the fundamental quotidian exhaustion of a TV audience remains its biggest strength. It might look great to have young, eager audiences devouring digital at 400 clicks a second. But try getting them to watch a 15-second film.

When arses sink into couches across the UK and turn on a TV, however, they do so with an inbuilt ability to accept interruption. The slightly overweight, pissed and exhausted army that make up most TV audiences might not look good on a brochure for Thinkbox but they have one unerring advantage over the young, hip trendies whizzing through hyperspace: they can’t be fucked to change the channel because the remote is over there. So they endure.

And then there are all those other media that no-one mentions anymore. Both cinema advertising and outdoor are almost immune to the interruption issue because they intrude at such a gigantic, macro level they look set to avoid the issue almost entirely. It’s pretty hard to ignore a billboard when you are driving past it.

The more I think about outdoor advertising and the renewed lease of creative and client life it is getting from becoming digitised, the more bullish I become about this most ancient of advertising forms.

So is advertising as we know it about to end? No, it is surely not. What is going to happen is that all those hot little startups like Google and The Facebook that grew and came to enjoy the fruits of global success are now going to experience the other side of the sword. That’s the part where young, arrogant tech heads spy weakness and money in equal measure and spend the rest of their youth in a basement building something to disrupt the former disruptors.

But Google can rest easy for a while longer. Advertising as we know it may be changing – I’d argue it has not stopped changing since its invention – but it’s not dead or dying or about to be replaced by a black disc. And even if it is, how do consumers get to know about the AI in the first place? Surely someone will have to make an ad to start the revolution.

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Why the digital user experience is synonymous with brand Tue, 16 May 2017 15:17:45 +0000 The digital customer experience is becoming as important a differentiator for brands as product and price.

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Utilities companies offer a great case study for the growing importance of user experience. Whichever supplier you use, the stuff in the pipes is the same: it’s the service wrapped around the gas/electricity/water that you ultimately pay for.

As competition blossoms in the sector, companies understand that, for some customers, user experience is as much a differentiator as price.

In 2016, British Gas ended its 14-year relationship with media agency Carat and appointed MediaCom, which reportedly best answered the pitch question: ‘How would you turn British Gas into a modern British brand in a modern British society?’

The link between modern brands and usability is without doubt. It is why Uber gets mentioned so often, again a company that provides simply the service wrapped around a taxi ride.

Usability isn’t always a digital trait, of course, but it is increasingly digital, as technology becomes cheaper and offers speed and economies of scale.

Marketing Week recently spoke to British Gas director of brand marketing Margaret Jobling at ISBA’s annual conference. She said: “We have been, at its worst end, a telephone billing business where we send you a paper bill, you call us, and if there’s a problem we will call you. [We’re now] saying we need to move to be digital-first, self-serve, always-on, personalised and targeted in how we talk to our customers.”

Much of that statement relates to digital user experience and shows how the brand is fighting back after a whopping 400,000 customers left British Gas in the first six months of 2016.

Pressure to provide best-in-class UX

Steffan Aquarone, co-author of Econsultancy’s ‘User Experience and Interaction Design for Mobile and Web’ guide, describes ease of use as “the single most powerful way to beat the competition.” He adds: “Making things easier is such a powerful benefit that it seems to be the fastest way of spreading the news too.”

Aside from Uber, there are plenty more digital-born darlings of user experience (UX) that are pressuring more traditional companies by raising consumer expectations of ease of use.

Those providing best-in-class UX include Transferwise and Mondo in financial services, and Amazon in ecommerce, Airbnb and in travel.

The effects of rising consumer expectations can be seen in the surge in ad blocker usage over the past couple of years. Users are no longer willing to put up with the poor usability of display ads. Similarly, live chat and social media have been cemented as customer service channels for a number of years, as consumers are no longer willing to wait on a telephone line. KLM is already partially automating social messaging to further quicken response rate.

Hierarchy of UX

The relationship between brand and UX can be seen in the hierarchy of UX, a diagram taken from the aforementioned Econsultancy design guide (see image, above).

The pyramid works a bit like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. An experience – for example, submitting a reading through the British Gas app – must first be:

  • viable
  • then consistent (solving the same types of problems in the same way, for example form fields)
  • then predictable (are unfamiliar tasks easy to tackle?)
  • then with appropriate friction (highlighting areas that might cause problems, for example the little bounce when you hit the bottom of a page) and flow (promoted actions, such as autofilling fields)
  • then branded (building an emotional connection with users, conveying identity or personality).

The UX hierarchy is just one part of a broadening definition of ‘brand’.

A fully realised brand should set expectations through a purpose, create emotions, stimulate the senses through interactive experiences, enable behaviours and lifestyles, and inspire social connection.

In Econsultancy’s ‘Implementing a Customer Experience Strategy’ guide, Laurence Parkes, chief strategy officer at agency Rufus Leonard, puts it thus: “What has been lost is the understanding. When you talk to people about brand, they still think you mean logo and visual identity. We’re now seeing a sea change in management, which is about understanding the brand narrative and growth of purpose.”

Challenge for businesses

UX is an integral part of the overall customer experience. Companies not only have to master mobile design, but get the most from first-party data in order to properly serve their customers.

Furthermore, customer lifetime value has to be prioritised over short-term sales, with the aim of a deepened customer relationship.

Forty per cent of respondents in Econsultancy’s ‘Implementing a Customer Experience Strategy’ survey said that each department in their company is working to its own agenda as far as the customer experience is concerned.

Perhaps it is now strategy and leadership, not legacy technology or complexity, that is preventing brands from catching up with their best-in-class counterparts.

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McDonald’s pulls ‘dead dad’ ad after string of complaints Tue, 16 May 2017 12:18:53 +0000 McDonald's has said the ad will be removed from all media this week after it attracted criticism for “inappropriately and insensitively using bereavement and grief to sell fast food”.

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UPDATE: McDonald’s has announced it will withdraw the controversial advert, and it will be removed from all media, including TV and cinema, this week.

“It was never our intention to cause any upset. We are particularly sorry that the advert may have disappointed those people who are most important to us – our customers.

“Due to the lead-times required by some broadcasters, the last advert will air tomorrow, Wednesday 17 May. We will also review our creative process to ensure this situation never occurs again,” says a spokesperson.

A McDonald’s ad showing a young boy finding common ground with his dead father over a Filet-O-Fish could be investigated by the ad regulator the Advertising Standards Authority after it received more than 100 complaints.

A spokesman for the ASA admits the ad has prompted a “backlash”, and while he would not give an exact figure said complaints had exceeded more than 100. The number is increasing, with more “still coming in”.

Complainants have objected that it is inappropriate and insensitive to use bereavement and grief to sell fast food. Some complainants have referenced the proximity to Father’s Day, which takes place next month.

“We’re carefully assessing the complaints but no decision has been reached on whether there are grounds to launch an investigation,” an ASA spokesman tells Marketing Week.

A decision on whether or not there are grounds to investigate should be made in the next two weeks.

Criticism of the ad has been rife on social media, while it has also been condemned by bereavement charities. McDonald’s has apologised for any offence caused, but will continue to run the ad.

A McDonald’s spokesperson told the BBC: “This was by no means an intention of ours. We wanted to highlight the role McDonald’s has played in our customers’ everyday lives – both in good and difficult times.”

McDonald’s is not the only brand to have found itself criticised for its marketing while trying to make a positive impact. Pepsi’s “tone-deaf” ad featuring model Kendall Jenner as the leader of a group of protestors who tries to dispel tensions using a can of the soda was roundly lambasted and eventually pulled.

Dove also recently released ‘personalised’ bottles mimicking different female body shapes, which attracted ridicule on social media.

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How marketers can target consumers through the connected home Tue, 16 May 2017 06:00:51 +0000 From a fridge that tells you what to cook to a wardrobe that suggests what to wear based on the weather, Leonie Roderick tests out living in the connected home of 2020 in the next instalment of Digital Decoded.

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Ever wanted a hallway that says hello, a kitchen that tells you what to cook based on the ingredients in your fridge or a wardrobe that helps you choose your outfit?

Now you can catch a glimpse of the (not so distant) future, as ‘The Home of 2020’ opens its doors.

The aim of the project is to give marketers an idea of how they could use next generation tech to reach people at home.

To do this, video ad tech company Unruly has partnered with a host of consumer brands and startups to show what the home of 2020 will see, hear, smell, taste and feel like.

The home consists of a bathroom, toilet, two bedrooms, living room, kitchen and garden. It is 2,000 square feet and showcases actual and conceptual Internet of Things gadgets.

Watch Marketing Week reporter Leonie Roderick make herself at home by testing the different gadgets in the house.

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Bob Wootton: My practical guide to getting the most out of media spend Tue, 16 May 2017 05:00:16 +0000 There are simple ways to make your media spend more effective, starting with a clear plan and ensuring agencies are incentivised by your success.

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mediaYou might think marketers know exactly how to manage their media buying, but many make basic mistakes that a little inside knowledge could prevent. So here’s a practical guide for advertisers seeking to get the best out of what is usually their biggest investment. The things an advertiser needs to do fall into three stages.

1. The setup

First, you need to decide what you want. Obvious? Well, it might surprise you to know that many advertisers aren’t quite sure. In seeking to cover multiple bases, they end up doing several jobs badly, rather than the one they should be doing well.

So you’ll have to put a proper brief together, against whose clear and prioritised KPIs you and your chosen partners can be held to account.

You’ll need to decide if you want to do media, or any part of it, yourself. Many have brought search advertising in-house (often successfully) and some are now bringing programmatic in too (though the jury is still out on this).

Reflect very carefully on how to become your agency’s favoured client. Clue: skinning them on margin does not work.

A handful negotiate media pricing themselves and use agencies to implement, and this number may grow with the advent of new artificial intelligence-driven models. For now, it’s standard practice to use a media agency that has specialist expertise, resource and enjoys credit terms and commissions from the media owners.

You might have used one you’ve really liked in a previous guise. More likely you’ll need a formalised process, calling a pitch. This requires matchmaking and evaluation expertise. The UK advertiser body, ISBA, and several independent consultancies offer the former, whereas the latter is the domain of media consultants and auditors.

READ MORE: Bob Wootton – How brands lost confidence in media buying

You need to have a clear view on the relative importance to your company of strategy, planning, innovation, optimisation, pricing, and short-term flexibility, as some pull in different directions.

A strong word here on demarcation: you need to be very clear on how you expect your agencies to collaborate. I heard a football team analogy the other day that worked for me – a team of individual stars working to a higher, common goal. You’re the manager.

Once you’ve seen pitches, navigated your and colleagues’ differences and picked a favourite, it’s time to negotiate, agree terms and formalise these into a contract. Again, ISBA offers its member advertisers a model contract template, though it’s not particularly popular with agencies as it’s strict.

Media pricing cannot be overlooked, but it’s much more important to focus on business outcomes. (Ask anyone who has worked agency-side – they can always deliver better media pricing in response to procurement pressure by changing media and channel mix.)

One thing you should reflect on very carefully is how to become your agency’s favoured, go-to-first, client. Clue: skinning them on margin does not work. History has shown it fosters opacity and dishonesty.

READ MORE: ‘Digital media is a buyer’s market, but that doesn’t make it a good deal’

Agree a remuneration floor based on the fixed costs they incur on your behalf and then create a tiered scale of rewards if they – and you – succeed. Don’t nickel and dime them; offer a real opportunity to participate in your success.

Now you’re set up and ready to go, you can move onto the second phase.

2. Managing media relationships

You’ve selected your agencies from a parade of experts to do things you can’t, so why not listen to and accept their recommendations, at least until such time (hopefully never) as you can prove they’re off-beam?

The stakes easily justify your taking time to develop direct relationships with key media owners.

Develop a close, honest and open relationship. Demand their best advice, sometimes even as a critical friend. Agency people are invariably bright and capable. You’re at the head of the value chain so it’s for you to take the lead. Read them carefully – they should embrace it. If not, you may have early sight of a problem.

Demand that all recommendations are based on good data: robust insights from your own and their proprietary and syndicated studies, industry-agreed audience currencies (BARB, UKOM et al), and online best practice standards (JICWEBS) for viewability, brand safety, freedom from endemic fraud and even engagement.

The stakes easily justify your also taking time to develop direct relationships with key media owners on a straight money-at-risk basis – certainly your top five suppliers, preferably more.

Yes, it’s extra work for you and the agency might push back, believing it dilutes their influence, but it’s your company’s money. The media owners will welcome you, so enjoy that – just be firm that you’re not opening a back door through which they can sell to you at a higher price.

As activity runs, it’s time for phase three.

3. Ongoing husbandry

Frequent reviews against plans, targets and KPIs go without saying. Check media buying is competitive through performance auditing, if not continuously, then often. Periodically, check agency adherence to the contract through compliance auditing. It makes obvious sense to engage the media consultant that helped you at pitch as they already have skin in the game.

Since you have set up an open and honest relationship, are paying your agency enough, and are incentivising them to drive your business, there should be no alternative but to work through issues as they arise in pursuit of continuous improvement.

If this looks daunting, it’s only because there’s a lot at stake and you’re in the driving seat. The adage is as true as ever: advertisers get the agencies – and the media – they deserve.

Bob Wootton was director of media and advertising at ISBA and is now principal of Deconstruction Consulting.

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Direct Line trials new brand safety features for YouTube Mon, 15 May 2017 15:20:27 +0000 Direct Line Group is the first brand to use OpenSlate’s third-party verification technology, which it hopes will stop ads appearing in unsafe environments and improve overall brand effectiveness.

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brand safety

Direct Line Group (DLG) has become the first brand to introduce new brand safety features for YouTube that it hopes will stop ads appearing in unsafe environments and improve overall ad effectiveness on the site.

Through a deal with its agency MediaCom, DLG will use OpenSlate’s technology with the aim of increasing controls and content safeguards around YouTube media buys. The analytics platform works by scoring ad-supported content on the video site based on brand safety and quality across more than 250 million videos every day. It then provides advertisers with contextual insights on where ads are appearing and if those environments are brand safe, allowing them to rectify these potential issues more swiftly.

Speaking to Marketing Week, Direct Line’s head of commercial marketing Sam Taylor says: “For us this is really important. We have to be clear on where our advertising is being seen or shown. It is more important than ever now that advertising is placed in the place where we want it to be.”

Taylor says DLG was already using verification tools and that its brand was not one of the ones impacted by The Times investigation. However, he admits that the high amount of coverage has ensured brand safety is now seen as a “bigger issue”.

READ MORE: UK advertisers split over ending YouTube boycott after brand safety scandal

Prior to the investigation, he says, there were very few tools that could be used to verify where content was being seen. And while Google is working to improve YouTube, he says “the wait [for improvements] is too long for us” and that it is up to the whole industry to raise brand safety standards by seeking out third-party verification tools.

“Our view is that, as a progressive brand business, we must make sure we do the best we can to ensure ads are seen in the right place,” he explains.

“The whole industry has to step up. Google is doing its bit by making changes it believes it needs to make and they are moving in the right direction. But agencies and advertisers also have to step up to make sure their ads are appearing where they want them to.”

While the OpenSlate technology should help reduce circumstances where DLG’s ads appear in unsafe environments, Taylor says he also sees it as a “brand care” play – ensuring its advertising is being seen in relevant places.

“Our strategy is to have the right ads appear in the right place at the right time, it is not acceptable for our ads to be placed where they are not relevant,” he explains.

“Ultimately, no brand wants their advertising to not be seen due to ad fraud, or not be viewable. We want it appearing in front of the right people at the right time and to pay for what is being shown. That is essential for any performance-based campaign – whether brand metrics or sales performance. This gives us more levers to pull and more opportunities to optimise.”

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5 killer stats to start your week Mon, 15 May 2017 13:51:18 +0000

We arm you with all the stats you need to prepare for the coming week and help you understand the big industry trends.

The post 5 killer stats to start your week appeared first on Marketing Week.


1. Inflation takes off

The cost of living is set to rise to a three-year high as energy bills and a rise in airfares hits consumers. Inflation, as measured by the consumer prices index, is expected to rise to 2.6% in the year to April.

Source: Office for National Statistics

2. Chatbots to save brands money

Chatbots are set to redefine the customer service industry, saving brands time and money.
Forecasts estimates that chatbots will be responsible for cost savings of $8bn annually by 2022, with healthcare and banking set to benefit most.

Source: Juniper Research

3. Have you had a bad leader?

93.8% of marketers have had a bad leader, one of the highest of any sector in the UK, yet 87.5% think marketers make good leaders because they are good communicators. Some of the worst traits in bad leaders are favouritism, poor people skills, micromanaging and being unprofessional. Bad leaders leave employees feeling de-motivated and lacking direction.

Source: CV Library

4. Do brands really care about social causes?

Nearly a third of British people don’t believe brands care about the social causes they promote.
There is also a risk when they get it wrong, with a third saying they would campaign against a brand if it did something offensive.

Source: Future Thinking

5. Retailers see footfall growth

Footfall in the three months to the end of April saw the fastest growth in five years as the Easter holidays boosted visits.
Retail parks saw the fastest growth, ahead of the high street. Shopping centre footfall fell, however.

Source: BRC

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Agency talent is increasingly moving client-side Mon, 15 May 2017 13:36:44 +0000 A new report finds that 40% of senior client-side marketers has a background at an agency as brands look to widen their talent pool.

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Brands are increasingly look agency side for top marketing talent as challenges over media and the growing trend for in-housing creative leads companies to widen their search for talent.

According to a report by executive search firm Grace Blue, almost 40% of senior-level marketing talent has a background agency side, up from nearer 25% a few years ago. The top sectors for recruiting marketers with an agency background including media owners and financial brands, while automotive, travel and retail brands are among the least likely.

The move comes as brands look to upskill their marketing departments, widening their talent search to include people with an agency background, as they bring more services in-house. Separate ISBA research last year found that 19% of UK advertisers have in-house agency capabilities, while almost half are considering on-site or in-house capability.

Ian Priest, Grace Blue’s global CEO, explains: “People are increasingly migrating across traditional lines and clients are wanting wider skills. As they in-house agency services, brands are bringing in more skills to make sure they own the whole customer journey.”

The move is also reflective of the changing role of CMOs. Where previously brands wanted people with deep knowledge and experience of their sector, now they are looking for a wider industry perspective.

“Brands that really get consumer centricity want to understand how to get under the skin of consumers and leap ahead. They are looking for that wider perspective. Agency people can bring in their creative and customer centric skills,” adds Priest.

That is why, according to Priest, this is more prevalent in sectors such as financial where the brand is more important than the product, meaning they need their top talent to have broad brand marketing skills, rather than specific product skills.

“In sector where it is the brand that differentiates, rather than the product, we see this happening more often. For example, in the financial sector the banks are all trying to use their brands and customer centricity to drive business results. Think about how Nationwide is bringing really fresh thinking to differentiate Nationwide, or TSB with its ‘local bank’ positioning.”

For agency talent, there a number of clear opportunities in going client-side, according to Priest. The advertising part of a client’s business is often just 5% or 10% of a marketer’s role, with strategy forming the rest. “For those that want it, going client side offers the chance to own more of the customer journey,” he says.

It is not just one-way traffic either; Priest says he also sees agencies recruiting brand talent “more and more”. For example, David Patton was brought on board to turn around Grey London having spent years client-side at Sony and Nintendo.

“Whether brand or agency side, it is hugely beneficial to have diversity of skills. Diversity in gender, age, race are all important but to better understand consumers and represent the customer you need diversity in how people think as well,” he says.

As for whether this trend will continue, Priest says it could get up to 50%, although he would not expect it to go much higher. To help it deal with the changing needs of brands, Grace Blue is appointing Sherilyn Shackell, founder of The Marketing Academy, to its advisory board. It wants to work across the marketing industry to attract leading talent to brand roles, whether as CMO or in roles in customer experience, digital, social or media.

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Helen Tupper: Failing to spring clean your CV will limit your career effectiveness Mon, 15 May 2017 13:35:58 +0000 CVs and LinkedIn are not the only tools that need sprucing up to enhance your career. Focus on your skills, network and impact to gain an extra advantage.

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If you’re not in the market for a new job, chances are you haven’t updated your CV or thought about your key talents for a while. Many people see career tools like CVs and LinkedIn profiles as assets that need investing in only sporadically, often triggered by a job search. However, this approach of ‘update and stagnate’ can limit your career effectiveness in a number of ways:

  1. You lack self-awareness and ability to share current skills, achievements and responsibilities.
  2. You miss opportunities from people scanning profiles for recent projects and popular terms.
  3. You forget experiences and connections that could be helpful to your development.

The good news though, is that this is the perfect time of year to dust off the cobwebs and invest some time in spring cleaning your career. CVs are just part of the picture, though, and there are a few key areas where your focus will pay dividends.

Utilise your network

Recent North American research from LinkedIn revealed that 40% of people had been referred to their latest job by a connection who already worked there.

Put simply, two in five people’s next jobs will be found through their network. Having a strong network is not just about getting a new job, though; your network can be a great source of learning opportunities. My own network has given rise to the opportunity to attend fantastic events, to be mentored by inspiring leaders and to gain the experience of increasing my impact by speaking at events.

If your network needs a refresh, it can be helpful to think of your actions in terms of ‘seed, feed and weed’.

Start with ‘seeding’: what new relationships do you need to build based on your development plan for the next 12 months? Then think about ‘feeding’: how can you stimulate your network? Perhaps set yourself a target of contacting one person a month or create something of interest that would be valuable to share with your network.

Finally, think about ‘weeding’: are there people who you might stay in touch with personally, but who don’t currently have the same relevance professionally?

Prioritise your networking efforts accordingly. This might sound harsh, but everyone is time-poor and focusing your efforts meaningfully is more respectful of people’s time.

READ MORE: EasyJet CEO Carolyn McCall on why marketers need allies across the business

Polish your profile

Don’t think of your CV as just a tool for getting a new job. The act of updating your CV will force you to think about your unique attributes, their value to other people and your most recent achievements.

Taking the time to think this through can be extremely useful for development conversations with your manager and your CV provides a ready-made structure as a starting point.

Start with your introductory statement: does this feel authentic and specific? Rather than writing “I’m a leader with excellent communication skills”, think about evidence points that make it more memorable and individual.

Next, update your current role by stating what you do, why it matters, how you personally create value and what you have achieved. This will help you to articulate this message succinctly to others in conversation.

Finally, update any recent training or personal development you have undertaken as this is something we can often forget or dismiss.

Your LinkedIn profile is an important extension of your CV, so make sure you update this at the same time. Get a friend or colleague to review what you have written and ask them how you come across. Is it the impression you want to convey?

Broadcast your skills

What are you really great at? If you can’t answer that for yourself, it’s unlikely other people will know either.

If you can answer it, ask yourself if you are as good as you could be and whether other people associate you with this talent? If not, there is room to improve and share your expertise with others.

A couple of years ago I would have said that I was good at developing people, but that it wasn’t really known outside of my direct team. Since then, I have invested in training, shared my experiences in blogs and delivered courses for people outside of my teams. This has not only built my skill set, it has also ensured that this is part of my ‘brand’ and what I am known for.

If you believe you have room for improvement in this area, start with thinking about the skills you want to be known for, then score yourself out of 10 with how strong your skill is today and how strong you would like it to be within the next 12 months.

Prioritise the skill with the biggest gap and develop a list of actions that you will commit to in order to develop it.

READ MORE: Almost one in five FTSE 100 CEOs now come from a marketing background

Enhance your impact

All too often, day-to-day activities consume our attention and we lose our focus on the bigger picture. Not only can this reduce the value of your efforts for your organisation, it can also affect your own development. Research has proven that people with clear goals are more likely to achieve them.

Think about the next 12 months, are you clear about what you want to achieve? If not, think about a day at work 12 months from now. Imagine you have had a great year and you’re preparing for your development review with your manager. What would you be saying you have achieved? How would you be talking about the impact you’ve had? Now, think about the actions you can start to take to bring you closer to that reality. The reality is that you may need to do less, in order to achieve more.

Focusing effort on your network, profile, skills and impact will have a very positive contribution to your career and while spring provides you with the impetus to freshen things up, these actions will have value throughout the year and at any stage of your career.

Helen Tupper is marketing director at Microsoft DX and founder of Amazing If.

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Heineken, Betfair, Michael Kors: The top 10 YouTube ads in April Mon, 15 May 2017 12:53:03 +0000 Heineken's politically-charged Worlds Apart campaign was the victor for the top 10 UK YouTube ads in April, which were compiled by balancing the total number of views with the percentage of organic and paid views.

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1. Heineken: Worlds Apart

The beer brand’s politically-charged Worlds Apart ad, which features a transphobic man meeting a transwoman, is all about bringing together people who may have contrasting views. Marketing Week’s very own Mark Ritson described it as “absolute crap”, but with well over 12 million views it’s clear the campaign has generated plenty of discussion. Whether the Publicis London campaign generates an uplift in sales remains to be seen.

2. Betfair: Dynamo creates magic with FC Barcelona players

Inspired by Barcelona’s magical comeback against PSG, magician-to-the-stars Dynamo hangs out with players such as Luis Suarez in this sponsored film. There’s a message too; being able to bend nails via magic translates to on-pitch chemistry, or something.

3. Gymshark: Train for life

The gymwear brand details the daily routine of fitness vlogger David Laid in this short film, which features plenty of grunts and heavy lifting. The fourth episode in an ongoing YouTube series, the campaign hasn’t quite convinced us it’s a good idea to film our workouts. Sweat = gross.

4. Michael Kors: Blake Lively, Glamour Games

Fashion designer Michael Kors and Gossip Girl actress Blake Lively sit down to play a game of fact-or-fiction in the latest ‘Glamour Games’ film from the designer handbag brand. Spoiler alert: Lively had her first ever kiss on camera, at the age of 16, and has a crush on talk show host David Letterman. Vital information there.

5. Vat19: The Tiny Hands Challenge

In this viral video, novelty gifting brand Vat19 forces people to wear tiny hands while completing a game of Jenga. Finally, a chance to understand the plight of Donald Trump (allegedly).

6. Simply Be: Denim Ad Spring 2017

7. Sky: Sky Mobile launch advert

8. Volvo: Human Made

9. MoneySuperMarket: #EPICSKELETOR

10. Bershka: #BershkaBeauty tutorial by Princess Nokia

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HSBC, Uber, Facebook: Everything that matters this morning Mon, 15 May 2017 06:52:45 +0000 We round-up everything you need to know from the marketing world this morning.

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More than 80% of UK consumers are concerned about price rises

British shoppers are bracing for an expensive future following the UK’s vote to leave the European Union, according to a new Mintel report.

It found that more than 80% of UK shoppers fear price rises on goods and services after Brexit, with 59% specifically worried about the mounting cost of groceries.

Nearly 50% of British consumers believe that Britain’s decision to leave the EU will have a negative impact on the cost of living in the UK, with the figure unchanged from when the question was first asked in July 2016, in the immediate aftermath of the referendum.

READ MORE: Brexit: More than 80% of UK consumers are concerned about price rises on goods and services

Facebook fined €110m for misleading EU regulators over WhatsApp deal


Facebook was fined €110m (£94m) by the European Commission for providing misleading information to antitrust regulators when seeking approval to buy WhatsApp in 2014.

Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s commissioner in charge of competition policy, said in a statement: “Today’s decision sends a clear signal to companies that they must comply with all aspects of EU merger rules, including the obligation to provide correct information.”

The Commission said Facebook claimed it would not be able to match Facebook users’ accounts and WhatsApp users’ accounts automatically, but it later announced updates to its terms of service and privacy policy that included linking up consumers’ accounts.

READ MORE: Facebook was fined €110 million for misleading EU regulators over its WhatsApp deal

HSBC’s voice recognition security system ‘can be fooled’

Security software designed to prevent bank fraud has been fooled by a BBC reporter and his twin.

BBC Click reporter Dan Simmons set up an HSBC account and signed up to the bank’s voice ID authentication service.

HSBC says the system is secure because each person’s voice is “unique”. But the bank let Dan Simmons’ non-identical twin, Joe, access the account via the telephone after he mimicked his brother’s voice.

HSBC introduced the voice-based security in 2016, saying it measured 100 different characteristics of the human voice to verify a user’s identity.

HSBC declined to comment on how secure the system had been until now.

A spokesman said: “The security and safety of our customers’ accounts is of the utmost importance to us. Twins do have a similar voiceprint, but the introduction of this technology has seen a significant reduction in fraud, and has proven to be more secure than PINS, passwords and memorable phrases.”

READ MORE: BBC fools HSBC voice recognition security system

Conservatives plan ‘Cadbury clause’ to protect UK brands from foreign takeovers

British companies will be protected from foreign buyers who do not have their best interests at heart under proposals contained in the Conservative manifesto.

The document said that the party “believes in the rights of business owners” and “wants Britain to be a global nation that is competitive, outward-looking and open for business… which welcomes overseas investors”.

However, it warns its aim of being “the best country in Europe for doing business” must not be expense of welcoming investors “whose success is driven by aggressive asset-stripping or tax avoidance”. The Government wants to be able to pause a bid so it can allow greater scrutiny of any deal.

Some have nicknamed the pledge the “Cadbury Clause” in the wake of the controversial takeover of the British confectioner by US peer Kraft in 2010.

READ MORE: Tories plan ‘Cadbury clause’ to protect UK business from aggresive foreign takeovers

Uber launches ‘Uber Freight’ for truck drivers

Last year, Uber was said to be creating a platform to connect drivers with cargo in the same way it currently connects drivers with passengers. That service, called Uber Freight, officially launched this week.

Uber Freight is meant to upend and streamline the currently arduous process that goes into packing a truck for shipment. Currently truck drivers rely on a broker or other service to negotiate rates and book cargo.

In Uber Freight, drivers that are vetted and approved by the service can find cargo nearby, along with the shipping distance and payment info. Drivers simply tap to accept the job and navigate to the pickup.

READ MORE: Uber is ready to help truck drivers find cargo

Tesla’s factory working conditions exposed

Working conditions at Tesla’s main factory have been described as “stressful and gruelling” by its employees, an investigation by The Guardian has revealed.

Ambulances have been called more than 100 times since 2014 for workers experiencing fainting spells, dizziness, seizures, abnormal breathing and chest pains, according to incident reports obtained by the Guardian. Hundreds more were called for injuries and other medical issues.

Some of the human workers complained of gruelling pressure – which they attribute to Musk’s aggressive production goals – and sometimes life-changing injuries.

CEO Elon Musk conceded his workers had been “having a hard time, working long hours, and on hard jobs”, but said he cared deeply about their health and wellbeing.

READ MORE: Tesla factory workers reveal pain, injury and stress: ‘Everything feels like the future but us’

Thursday, 18 May


ICO launches investigation into how voters are targeted through social media

The information commissioner is launching an investigation looking into how UK political parties target voters on social media. Elizabeth Denham, the information commissioner, says the inquiry will look into the use of data analytics for political purposes, warning that sending messages to voters based on their individual data could break the law.

“Given the big data revolution, it is understandable that political campaigns are exploring the potential of advanced data analysis tools to help win votes,” she explains. “The public have the right to expect that this takes place in accordance with the law as it relates to data protection and electronic marketing.”

The moves comes after the Information Commissioner’s Office said it would look into targeting on social media, following the EU referendum. This is an expansion of that inquiry. The Guardian estimates that both The Conservatives and Labour plan to spend £1m each on targeting voters through social media.

READ MORE: Inquiry launched into targeting of UK voters through social media

Ford looks to cut 1,400 jobs amid falling sales

Ford mustang

Ford is being forced to downsize due to weak sales and declining profits. The car giant has offered voluntary retirement to some 15,000 workers as it aims to cut at least 1,400 jobs in North America and Asia.

The plan is part of an “accelerated attack on costs” and follows Ford CEO Mark Fields comments last month that it would enter into a period where its had an “intense focus on costs in order to prepare for a downturn scenario.”

Ford’s sales fell by 7% in the US and 11% in Europe in April compared to the same month in 2016.

READ MORE: Ford to cut 1,400 white-collar jobs, shares tumble

Facebook’s £15.4bn acquisition of WhatsApp could result in a fine 

Facebook could receive a fine from EU antitrust regulators after it provided “incorrect or misleading information” to investigators that were probing its £15.4bn acquisition of messaging service WhatsApp back in 2014.

The European Commission said the acquisition breached assurances Facebook had made when the deal was first approved. However, approval for the acquisition is not expected to be overturned by the European Commission.

The European Commission can issue a fine equal to 1% of the social media giant’s global turnover, which would translate to around $180m.

READ MORE: Facebook to Face European Union Fine Over WhatsApp Deal

Channel 4 primed to announce new CEO

Channel 4

According to reports, Jay Hunt, a marketer and the television executive who masterminded the poaching of the Great British Bake Off from the BBC, is the favourite to be appointed the new CEO of Channel 4.

Currently Channel 4’s chief creative officer, Hunt would be the first woman to run a UK broadcaster larger than Channel 5 if she was to be successful.

She is understood to have the full-backing of outgoing chief executive, David Abraham. One source said: “A perception has built up that it is hers to lose.”

READ MORE: Channel 4 executive who poached Bake Off favourite to land top job

BT faces fine due to ‘service failures’

BT is another major tech brand that faces a substantial fine, after customers for its Openreach business suffered delays for high speed ethernet lines of more than six months.

Ofcom launched an investigation due to BT Opeanreach failing to meet basic targets, with the business now facing a fine of up to 10% of its “relevant turnover”.

This would be a major embarrassment for BT, with ethernet a growing part of its business due to strong demand from large businesses.

An Openreach spokesman countered: “We’re convinced that our customers are seeing significant improvements in the service we deliver on Ethernet, and we’re determined to continue that positive momentum.”

READ MORE: BT faces new fine over Openreach delays

Wednesday, 17 May

Facebook admits its 10th measurement mistake since September


Facebook has admitted its 10th measurement mistake since September, with mischarged clicks on video carousel ads by smartphone web users.

It is the first mistake that directly affected advertisers’ wallets and Facebook has had to hand back refunds to affected advertisers.

“We recently found and fixed a bug that misattributed some clicks on video carousel ads as link clicks. This bug occurred when people were on mobile web browsers on smartphones — not on desktop or in the Facebook mobile app,” Facebook said in a statement.

READ MORE: Facebook admits its 10th measurement mistake since September

Instagram copies Snapchat’s selfie masks

Instagram has yet again copied Snapchat, this time with its ‘face filters’.

The lens feature applies augmented-reality masks to people’s faces and was Snapchat’s main differentiator from Instagram’s stories feature which allows people to send live videos or instant posts that later disappear.

Instagram alone has already copied Stories and expiring private messages.  Both Facebook and Facebook Messenger had also already copied Snapchat’s selfie masks.

READ MORE: Instagram copies Snapchat’s selfie masks, as Facebook and Messenger already have

Coca-Cola Parts with its senior vice president of strategic marketing

Coca-Cola has had another executive level shake-up with the departure of its senior vice president of strategic marketing, Ivan Pollard. This follows the departure of Coca-Cola chief marketing officer Marcos de Quinto in March.

“We’re grateful to Ivan for his significant contributions to our global and North America marketing organisations in his six-year career with the company,” a brand spokesperson stated.

“Under Ivan’s guidance, we have successfully reinvented our media buying and connections model, enhanced our digital and social media capabilities, and grown our arsenal of sports and entertainment marketing assets.”

READ MORE: Coca-Cola Parts With Its Senior Vice President of Strategic Marketing in Another Executive-Level Shake-Up

University of Apple set to expand

apple store

Apple is focusing on narrowing the digital skills gap by taking further steps to grow its own talent and doubling the intake in its european academy.

The company opened an academy in Naples last year, where students spend a year training to be developers, coders, app creators and start-up entrepreneurs.

400 students will be recruited for the autumn, expected to be aged 18 to 30. The courses will run in partnership with Naples university, the University of Federico II.

READ MORE: Apple’s Italian job for finding top talent

Tuesday, 16 May

McDonald’s apologises for insensitive ad

McDonald’s has been forced to say sorry after its new TV ad was widely criticised for exploiting childhood bereavement.

The ad, which first aired on 12 May, shows a young boy asking about his dead father and struggling to connect with him until it emerges the Filet-O-Fish is both their favourite item on the McDonald’s menu.

Consumers took to Twitter to share their anger with one user saying she was “sickened and disgusted” by the ad having lost her own father at a young age. Another said “I genuinely don’t think I’ve ever seen anything as cynical and exploitative”.

Bereavement charity Grief Encounter said it had received “countless calls” from parents whose children were upset by the ad.

A McDonald’s spokesperson told the BBC: “This was by no means an intention of ours. We wanted to highlight the role McDonald’s has played in our customers’ everyday lives – both in good and difficult times.”

READ MORE: McDonald’s apologises for ‘offensive’ television advert

John Lewis and Tesco to help part-time workers further their careers

High street giants John Lewis and Tesco are among a group of retailers that have signed up to a new scheme looking to help people working part-time in senior roles move up the career ladder by creating greater flexible working opportunities in managerial jobs.

The 12-month pilot scheme, run by Timewise, aims to identify the barriers for senior part-time employees and develop ways to overcome them.

Other retailers involved in the scheme include B&Q, COOK and Dixons Carphone which, along with Tesco and The John Lewis Partnership, collectively employ over 455,000 people.

READ MORE: John Lewis and Tesco join scheme to help part-time workers advance their careers

Twitter takes Nielsen measurement global

Twitter has extended its mobile measurement agreement with Nielsen to 23 new markets including the UK.

Twitter began using Nielsen Digital Ad Ratings in the US last May to provide advertisers with an independent third-party measure of mobile campaign performance.

Jeffrey Graham, vice-president of market insight & analytics at Twitter, says: “As smartphone usage continues to grow and mobile is accounting for more of digital ad spend, it’s more important than ever that advertisers understand how effectively their marketing efforts are reaching their audience on Twitter.”

Nielsen claims its metrics are comparable to those used for TV, and says they offer a “clearer view” of age and gender demographics, unique audience, reach, frequency and gross rating points (GRPs) for campaigns that run in Twitter’s mobile app.

Other new markets include Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland and Japan.

Just 15% of ads leave a lasting impression

Advertisers are failing to deliver messages that consumers can quickly absorb and retain, according to a new study by Kantar Millward Brown.

The research finds just 15% of ads have a strong emotional message that people can easily take in and remember. After analysing 160,000 ads, the research firm suggests consumers are more receptive to ads that show consumers the benefits of whatever it is they are selling rather than telling them.

Daren Poole, global brand director, creative development at Kantar Millward Brown, says: “Marketers should move beyond the message and focus on the impression they want the ad – and brand – to leave behind as a whole. This includes the creative idea, what is said in the ad, the way the story is told and the emotional tone.”

He adds: “It’s time to stop selling product features – it rarely works.”

The report highlights five key areas for advertisers to focus on when developing campaigns. These include making a meaningful impression by dramatising a brand’s purpose, creating ads that engage people creatively and emotionally rather than trying to deliver an explicit message, and conveying the “real-life power” of a brand through storytelling.

Lib Dems promise entrepreneurs £100 a week

The Liberal Democrats have said they will pay entrepreneurs £100 a week towards living costs for six months to help fuel the emergence of new UK businesses.

Launching his business manifesto, the party’s leader Tim Farron claimed he is on the side of small businesses and said he would review business rates ad access to credit and loans.

The startup allowance scheme, which would see those launching a business eligible for a maximum of £2,600 over six months, will cost £146m over five years

READ MORE: Lib Dems promise £100-a-week for entrepreneurs’ living costs

Monday, 15 May

M&S debuts food ad after marketing overhaul

Marks & Spencer has revealed the first TV ad for its food business after relaunching its marketing under the ‘Spend it Well’ strapline. Created by its new agency Grey London, the ad showcases food including scallops, focaccia and glazed ribs and encourages viewers to “pick up their knife and fork and get ready to travel”.

The first 40-second ad will be followed up by 20-second executions, as well as social media activity and cinema, print and outdoor ads. It is part of its ‘Spend it Well’ campaign that launched earlier this month and brings together the retailer’s food and clothing advertising for the first time.

Google tweaks ad removal policies

Google is making changes to its ad blacklist policies as it looks to ensure it isn’t removing whole websites if only some of their content is risky. Previously, Google’s default was to remove ads across an entire website if it noticed that website had ad formats that were intrusive or it was placing ads in unsavoury contexts, for example next to hate speech. Now, however, its default will be to remove ads on a page-by-page basis.

The move is good news for any publisher that might have some pages of content that don’t abide by Google’s rules but where the majority does. Google tells Digiday that the move is in response to requests that it take a more granular approach to disabling ads. Websites with a high proportion of pages being blacklisted will still find their whole site is then removed from its DoubleClick and AdSense networks, but it is unclear how high that proportion needs to be.

READ MORE: Why Google is tweaking its ad blacklist policy

Richer Sounds and Toolstation top shoppers’ list, but Morrisons comes in last

Richer Sounds and Toolstation were the surprise winners of Which?’s annual survey of shopper satisfaction, beating out high street stalwarts such as John Lewis. Which? asked more than 10,000 customers about their shopping experience at 100 major retailers, with scores given based on satisfaction and likelihood to recommend.

Harvey Nichols was the biggest climber, jumping from 21st place a year ago to third place this time round, while Waterstones returned to the top five for the first time since 2014. However, it was less good news for the major supermarkets, with Sainsbury’s and Tesco finding themselves in the bottom 10 and Morrisons coming last.

READ MORE: Which? reveals the best and worst high street shops 2017

Waymo and Lyft test autonomous cars

Google’s parent company Alphabet is working with Uber rival Lyft to test automonous cars on the road in the US. Waymo, Alphabet’s automotive business, is already holding public trials using Chrysler minivans equipped with its technology but says Lyft will help it reach “more people in more places”, according to Bloomberg.

The move means Alphabet is unlikely to rekindle its relationship with Uber after the two companies fell out. Alphabet is one of Uber’s biggest investors through its venture capital arm but tensions between the two have risen as they increasingly found themselves competing. Waymo is also suing Uber, alleging one of its engineers stole technology from the Alphabet business.

“Waymo holds today’s best self-driving technology, and collaborating with them will accelerate our shared vision of improving lives with the world’s best transportation,” says Lyft.

READ MORE: Alphabet’s Waymo Teams Up With Lyft to Test Autonomous Cars

Inflation and unemployment both set to rise

The cost of living is rising at the fastest race for three-and-a-half years as an increase in air fares and rise in energy bills hits households. Official figures due out this week are expected to show that the consumer prices index has risen to 2.6% in the year to April, up from 2.3% in March. That is the highest rate since September 2013, when it was 2.7%.

Separate jobs data is expected to show the unemployment rate remaining steady at 4.7% in the first quarter, still a relatively low figure. However, EY Club is forecasting that the jobless rate will rise next year as a slowdown in the consumer sector leads to companies such as retaielrs cutting jobs. The proportion of people in employment is expected to rise to 5.4% next year and 5.8% the year after, the first increases since 2009.

“While economic activity has held up better than many expected since last summer, there are now signs, particularly in the consumer sector, that the pace of expansion in the economy is slowing,” EY says.

READ MORE: Inflation to rise to three-year high amid jump in airfares and energy bills

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The big debate: Is coding a must-have skill for marketers? Mon, 15 May 2017 06:00:03 +0000 Should marketers add coding to their ever growing skillset or is it better to build "whole-brained" teams that possess complementary skills?

The post The big debate: Is coding a must-have skill for marketers? appeared first on Marketing Week.


Highly creative, commercially savvy and digitally literate – just some of the attributes required of marketers in 2017. And it doesn’t stop there. Over the past few years there have been a growing number of calls for marketers to add ‘competent coder’ to their skill set.

But is coding really intrinsic to a marketer’s job, and if not, should it be?

As marketing becomes inherently more analytical in nature, rooted in rich data and insight, marketers need to understand how their websites function in order to better optimise the customer journey.

One voice in favour of marketers coding is Ryanair CMO Kenny Jacobs who argues the next generation of CMOs will need to be able to build their own websites.

“Marketers should absolutely be able to look at a website and know how that website is working and the code behind it,” Jacobs tells Marketing Week.

“I don’t believe in the model that the CMO should do the traditional marketing and the chief digital officer should do the digital marketing job. I think you should have the right customer officer doing the right job that straddles both.

READ MORE: Ryanair CMO: Brands don’t need to be loved to win over consumers

Dan Gilbert, CEO of programmatic and PPC specialist agency Brainlabs goes one step further, suggesting coding is the number one skill he would teach a marketer.

“Everyone should learn to code and the next generation will definitely learn how,” he said at a recent event hosted by consultancy Oystercatchers.

“The digital world we’re in now is one where you have to experiment first and then learn from whatever you’ve experimented with later.”

While it is helpful for CMOs to be aware of the processes and skills needed to stay at the frontier of developments, ultimately it is better for them to remain agnostic to channels and technology.

Mark Evans, Direct Line Group

Helen Warren-Piper, marketing director for grocery at Premier Foods, claims it is no longer sufficient for marketers to have superficial knowledge of any subject. This is why Premier Foods sends all its marketers on advanced finance courses and ensures they understand the product costs behind advertising.

“Similarly, if a marketer knows how to create and build a website, and knows the basics of coding, it has two benefits,” she explains. “It makes them drive a better cost deal for the company because they know the true cost of doing it and how long things take, but it also means that creatively they know what’s possible and not possible.”

Being curious about human behaviour often means being analytically and technically literate, according to Alessandra Di Lorenzo, chief commercial officer media and partnerships at group. As a result marketers may need to develop a whole new suite of skills such as coding, website design and data analytics.

The need for marketers to be become digitally literate becomes even more crucial in a small business, she argues.

“In smaller or more integrated companies, these skills are increasingly becoming part of the marketing team’s responsibility – so it’s crucial teams attract the expertise to support this, and invest in training and development to plug any skills gaps that exist.”

Asking the right questions

Whether marketers learn to code or not, Marie Curie’s head of digital Steve Armstrong, believes they must have a “good working knowledge” of technology so they can ask the right questions of their internal tech teams or digital agency partners.

“So much of marketing, certainly in the digital space, is driven by automation and technology, and unless you know a little bit about it then you’re in no real position to make intelligent decisions that actually might have quite a big impact on how you operate in one, two or three year’s time,” says Armstrong.

“Marketers don’t necessarily need to know how to code in HTML 5, but a working knowledge of technology definitely helps. Digital people are very good at using technology jargon to obscure or over complicate, so a working knowledge of code would cut through that.”

Being digitally literate not only helps marketers ask better questions, but ensures they make data collection part their planning, says Tamsin Todd, chief commercial officer at private hire taxi firm Addison Lee. Innovation in her business has been driven by marketers’ willingness to collaborate closely with the tech teams.

“Some of the most exciting marketing experiences today are built on creative uses of technology. The Addison Lee app, which is fundamental to our business and at the core of our current ‘At Your Service’ marketing campaign, is the result of close collaboration between our marketing and technology teams, from prototyping new ideas to designing, testing customer journeys, and assessing performance,” she adds.

Close collaboration between the marketing and tech teams has driven innovation on the Addison Lee app

While upskilling marketers in digital is undoubtedly important, Direct Line marketing director Mark Evans believes some skills are “nice-to-have” rather than a “must-have” for marketing leaders.

“While it is helpful for CMOs to be aware of the processes and skills needed to stay at the frontier of developments, ultimately it is better for them to remain agnostic to channels and technology,” he argues.

“Therefore, while staying in touch with the latest digital developments is important, it is more critical to cultivate a learning culture where collective curiosity and capability ensures that the marketing team are able to maintain an edge.”

Marketers don’t necessary need to know how to code in HTML 5, but a working knowledge of technology definitely helps.

Steve Armstrong, Marie Curie

Ultimately it is important to fully appreciate the speed at which the marketing skillset is evolving, says head of digital marketing at Lucozade Ribena Suntory, Rick Oakley.

“Marketers need to be creative, to manage agencies, to be commercially accountable and if you add into that they should also be able to code you’re talking about quite a skilled individual,” he states.

However, not being a skilled coder does not mean marketers can leave the “technology” to someone else, Oakley argues.

“One of the things that really surprises me is when marketers say ‘I’m not techie’. You’d be very surprised if someone said ‘sorry I can’t read’. Technology is a modern language that more of us have to speak.”

Who owns data?

Whether marketers can code or have a deep understanding of analytics, it is essential for them to have a strong grasp of data and insight. However, the debate over who owns the data function within a business remains a divisive issue.

Speaking at Advertising Week Europe in March, RBS director of customer insight, Paul Smith, explained the advantages of data sitting outside marketing.

“We have a massive data and analytics team, and a huge technology team that need to keep our core systems going. For us in marketing that is brilliant, because we have people worrying about the robustness and connectivity of the data, so we don’t have to,” Smith explained.

“We have to think about what are the use cases, how can we use the insights to better serve and offer products to our customers. It’s not just about marketing owning stuff, it has to sit across the organisation. It gives you the power back that you are a demanding end user.”

Taking a cross-functional approach to data is a strategy supported by Direct Line’s Mark Evans, who believes it is far more important for data and insights to be integrated into every aspect of the business, rather than being owned by any one individual or department.

“We already had a very strong analytics capability within marketing, but we wanted to supercharge our data capability across the organisation more broadly. This led to us investing in a centralised data science team,” Evans explains.

“However, we are not necessarily rigid about this being a centralised function forever and will continually revisit what sits within the function and what sits centrally as both capability and requirements evolve.”

Lucozade Missguided
Lucozade marketers shared data generated by its tie-up with retailer Missguided with colleagues across the company

Di Lorenzo at group believes that while it is crucial for marketers to have full sight of the data ecosystem, being able to apply the numbers creatively is the most important element, regardless of where the data sits.

“While it’s essential to use data, you also have to understand the inspiration behind the numbers. That’s why the creative delivery is as important as the inspiration,” she adds.

Oakley agrees that the responsibility to turn data into strong consumer insights should sit with marketing. During Lucozade Ribena Suntory’s recent partnership with fast fashion retailer Missguided, Oakley’s team kept the company up-to-date with the campaign’s progress via a 75-inch screen in the reception area showing how many people redeemed the unique code printed on Lucozade Zero cans given away free to Missguided customers.

“It was really interesting because we were taking data and turning it into something that was visually stimulating,” Oakley explains.

“Every one in the business was watching how the data was changing – people from R&D, sales and marketing – so it was using data in an exciting and engaging way.”

Should data analysts sit in marketing teams?

Following the example of streaming giant Netflix, adopting a ‘squad’ mentality is one tactic being discussed to help organisations break down silos and bring data closer to marketing. For Brainlabs’ CEO Daniel Gilbert, the very idea of having a tech or data department is a problem.

“There are lots of interesting organisational structures emerging that don’t actually follow that path. And ones where you have a data analyst on every team,” Gilbert said.

“So there’s a data analyst that sits in marketing and one that sits in HR. This is what Netflix calls squads. It’s not as old school or corporate. We have technologists that sit in every one of our departments, so that if HR wants to automate the way it collects surveys it can do that automatically rather than having to go to a tech department to get it done. I think that’s the structure of the future.”

While Marie Curie head of digital Steve Armstrong has a full-time digital analyst in his team, he also looks to hire ‘T’ shaped people, who have a depth of knowledge in one area and a breadth of experience across a number of others.

“They’re not experts in everything because you can’t be, but they have competency in one area and know enough about others to ask the right questions, join the right dots and hire the right people,” he explains.

It’s a real misnomer to say marketing people are just creative people, because that’s not true. There are many things they need to be a bit of an expert in.”

Helen Warren-Piper, Premier Foods

“You need to hire T shaped people with different core expertise in different disciplines, who have enough breadth to think outside their individual silos.”

Di Lorenzo agrees that the more integrated and broader skilled the marketing team, the better the results. However, wide skillsets mean collaboration is key.

“The common threads between employees’ skills need to be the ability to work as a team, understanding each other’s jobs and the capacity to work towards the same goals. Setting KPIs that everyone can contribute to will be fundamental to this,” she adds.

At Addison Lee, the marketing and digital product teams, including front-end developers, are part of the same team, explains Todd, who believes that teams with a diversity of skills and perspectives perform better.

“I always think about the balance of people with creative, digital, analytical and other skills, as well as a healthy dose of curiosity about everything going on outside the marketing team,” she states.

“Customers don’t differentiate between a marketing touchpoint and a ‘tech’ touchpoint, and neither should we. I expect that over the next few years, we’ll see more digital and marketing teams working in this way.”

Direct Line
The focus at Direct Line is on building neurodiverse teams with a range of skills

Instead of thinking of adding data analysts to the team, Oakley argues that many brand managers possess relevant data analytics skills and therefore upskilling the whole team is key.

However, he stills sees the clear need for specialists. Over the past year Lucozade Ribena Suntory has built an in-house agency team which collaborated with the marketing team to deliver two apps in the first quarter of 2017. Working so closely with the in-house agency team has brought the senior brand managers, who were near novices at the start of the process, up to app expert level.

At Premier Foods, the research and insight function reports into marketing, with members of the insight team working on ad-hoc research inside the brand teams. The marketers, however, are also expected to manipulate the data themselves to deliver insights.

“We might feel something is working, but we can’t explain why. So we devise a hypothesis and then you use data to get to the bottom of it. That’s the left- and right-brained thing,” explains Warren-Piper.

“It’s a real misnomer to say marketing people are just creative people, because that’s not true. You work on product development, profit & loss, pricing, promotion, analysis, insight and advertising. So there are many things you need to be a bit of an expert in.”

The ambition at insurer Direct Line Group is to have a healthy complement of highly analytical people focusing on modelling and econometrics. Evans also notes the importance of looking beyond specific skillsets to build “wholebrained” and neuro-diverse teams to drive innovation, rather than relying on individuals to possess all the relevant skills

“The big change I expect to see is marketing teams having a greater appreciation of diversity of thought and becoming more neuro-diverse in their makeup. This means that the marketing team can benefit from extremes of left and right brain thinking, and everything in between, without expecting it to reside in any single person’s brain,” says Evans.

“Many creative breakthroughs in the world have come from people who suffer from dyslexia, like my daughter, as well as other aspects of neuro-divergence including dyspraxia, dyscalculia and autism. In the end, if as predicted AI automates many of the tasks that require repeatable precision, then sustainable differentiation will only come from thinking that exists at the edges.”

Want to learn more about coding?

Coding for Non-Technical Professionals Training‘ is a one-day, hands-on training session on how web technology works for non-technical business professionals who manage web sites or web teams, run by Marketing Week’s sister title Econsultancy.

This course is for anyone in a digital role within an organisation or with responsibility for an aspect of digital performance and who feel they need a firmer grounding in how web sites actually work. It requires no previous knowledge or experience of programming or IT – if you can use a browser, you will be able to do the course.

Click here to find out more.

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Travelodge admits price alone cannot boost loyalty as it launches premium rooms Sun, 14 May 2017 23:01:52 +0000 Travelodge is pushing its offer to businesses with premium economy rooms, something it says is a first for the UK budget hotel market.

The post Travelodge admits price alone cannot boost loyalty as it launches premium rooms appeared first on Marketing Week.

Travelodge’s new premium room.

Travelodge is launching premium economy rooms or ‘SuperRooms’ throughout the UK as it looks to push its services to professionals.

The rooms include more modern ‘residential’ décor in shades of taupe and beige. More seating is available, along with more USB charging points, more choice of lighting, a full length mirror, ironing board and hairdryer. The rooms also include a Lavazza ‘A Modo Mio’ fresh capsule coffee machine for workers on the go.

“Our new ‘SuperRoom’ adds an extra choice for customers who are spending more time working in the room, are staying longer or who just value that little bit more comfort,” says Peter Gowers, Travelodge’s chief executive.

The SuperRooms will be available in five locations from today (15 May) and by autumn there will be 1,000 of the premium rooms, predominantly in central London, followed by Heathrow, Gatwick and then other regional areas.

People are becoming much more savvy with their money now and they want more choice with what they do with it.

Karen Broughton, Travelodge

Travelodge’s sales and marketing director, Karen Broughton ,says the move has come from customer demand, as she likens it to EasyJet’s move into the premium market a few years back.

“Our story is very similar to EasyJet’s story. At the start people were almost embarrassed about travelling with EasyJet or it was frowned upon. But on the back of the credit crunch it became quite cool to see who gets the best deal and it is the same for Travelodge,” Broughton tells Marketing Week.

“People are becoming much more savvy with their money now and they want more choice with what they do with it.”

Broughton believes the new offer means Travelodge will get a trickle down from those staying in five-star hotels as their business customers’ priorities change.

The premium rooms will be advertised through digital, including programmatic and social, as well as being communicated to current customers through direct marketing.

Although the more premium rooms do not have enough scale for a TV ad of their own yet, Broughton says the company’s focus on business through its current Travelogical campaign will coincide with the changes.

READ MORE: Travelodge wants to tap into the ‘Lidl effect’ as it launches its biggest ever campaign

Radio also plays a large part in the company’s marketing strategy, as Broughton says the style of the Travelogical campaign, with its tune, works well on radio. She also highlights how Travelodge’s business audience are traveling a lot, are sat in receptions or are tuning into the radio before work, making it a crucial marketing method.

Success of the premium rooms will be determined through the sales of rooms and customer satisfaction, making sure Travelodge is delivering against what customers expect.

To tie in with the premium rooms, Travelodge is also redesigning its bars and social areas to keep up with customer demands for more workspace and areas. These include comfier chairs, higher tables and more USB ports.

Price alone is not enough to maintain loyalty

Although sales and price are key to Travelodge’s success, Broughton admits that price alone is not enough to maintain customer loyalty.

“You can’t win on price alone, that’s why we’ve invested over £100m in products. Its about logic and the right product for the right price,” she explains.

Broughton believes it is important to adapt the product to what it is the customer wants and for the business to understand its limitations. Travelodge has invested over £1million in training its staff to ensure personalised visits when existing visitors return, or to welcome newcomers. However, it understands its limits when it comes to kitting out its rooms and the services it offers.

“I’d love us to be serving pancakes, but it is about what what works operationally. We work hard with the operation guys to make sure they can cook and deliver the food or service consistently,” she says.

Travelodge’s new bar design includes high tables to work at and more USB ports.

However, one thing that has not been as logical is the company’s choice to put hot chocolate and a KitKat in the rooms. Broughton says no one asked for it but she believes it offers an element of delight, which customers like, and is cheaper than kitting the rooms out with further equipment, which would only mean Travelodge would have to put up its prices.

“It is about being very thoughtful about where you spend your money as a business,” Broughton says.

Taking advantage of Brexit

Travelodge says its audience of value seekers means it is “perfectly positioned” to take advantage of Brexit and that the political changes haven’t changed the company’s strategy.

“If anything all the uncertainty has impacted consumer confidence and made Travelodge more appealing to people that want to be savvy with how they spend their money. We are perfectly positioned to take advantage of that,” Broughton explains.

She says the UK will continue to be the company’s heartland and that expansion is still on the cards, with 250 new hotels set to be introduced in the next eight to 10 years.

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Diageo, Dove and Ryanair – 5 things that mattered this week and why Fri, 12 May 2017 13:05:33 +0000 Diageo’s move to advertise on Amazon a sign of things to come? There have been growing murmurings in the marketing world that Amazon is about to up its focus on advertising as it goes after Google and Facebook and bids to become a third player in the market. And Diageo’s decision to create content for […]

The post Diageo, Dove and Ryanair – 5 things that mattered this week and why appeared first on Marketing Week.

diageo reserve
Diageo Reserve’s new travel series will appear on Amazon

Diageo’s move to advertise on Amazon a sign of things to come?

There have been growing murmurings in the marketing world that Amazon is about to up its focus on advertising as it goes after Google and Facebook and bids to become a third player in the market. And Diageo’s decision to create content for Amazon throws into sharp relief why the ecommerce giant could be such a potent force in the digital ad space.

Speaking about the new content series, Diageo Reserve’s global director Johanna Dalley says Amazon is appealing for two reasons: scale and the ability to purchase. “It gives us that complete circle – we can entertain and educate viewers with how-to guides, and then make it as easy as possible for them to make the purchase.”

That should make for difficult reading for both of the main digital ad players. Amazon not only has the audience to compete, but the data about their purchases and operates as close to the ‘conversion’ part of the purchase funnel as it is possible to get. And advertisers are keen for a third player to end the digital duopoly and offer more choice and competition.

READ MORE: Can Amazon put an end to Google and Facebook’s digital duopoly?

Ryanair CMO Kenny Jacobs’ super uncool view of marketing

Marketing Week sat down with Kenny Jacobs recently and the results of that interview make for fascinating reading. Its hard to know what to pick out in a piece that ranges from his view on Google to his “common sense approach” to marketing and how he has structured Ryanair’s whole strategy on creating marketing that delivers. There are some valuable lessons in there for any marketer, but here’s my favourite.

“We spend nothing on Google and I am so proud of that fact. We’re the world’s most searched for airline website and we spend nothing on Google because everyone knows what we stand for. It’s organic traffic.”

You can read the full interview here.

John Lewis and Waitrose finally see that they might be stronger together

John Lewis and Waitrose might be owned by the same company, operate under the same model and stand for the same things, but when it comes to their marketing they’ve always kept their distance. John Lewis has become famous for its high-profile (and expensive) Christmas campaigns, while Waitrose has favoured the understated and in some cases appeared to be looking on its sister brand with disdain.

But with the high street and grocery retail becoming more competitive than ever, and both brands now using the same creative agency in adam+eveDDB, finding marketing synergies makes sense. The John Lewis Partnerships says new research found that 10% of its customers account for 60% of sales and they shop across the two brands. Time to finally start making use of that crossover in marketing.

READ MORE: John Lewis and Waitrose test joint marketing campaigns in a bid to boost loyalty

Has YouTube done enough to bring brands back?

Some two months on from The Times investigation that led tens of major UK brands to suspend advertising on YouTube, has its parent Google done enough to allay concerns and lure advertisers back? The simple answer is no. From Pepsi to Tesco, Marks & Spencer to Nestle, Toyota to Aviva, the Guardian to Channel 4, all are still withholding spend, awaiting “guarantees” over brand safety.

That isn’t to say that brands are no closer to resuming spend. Almost all the marketers spoken to by Marketing Week said they are pleased with progress, with some, such as McDonald’s and RBS, back advertising. But its clear Google still has a long way to go to convince marketers it has done enough, despite those “thousands of calls”.

READ MORE: UK advertisers split over ending YouTube boycott after brand safety scandal

Coca-Cola’s new GB marketing boss on Coke Life, the chief growth officer and her plans for growth


Coca-Cola’s relatively new (she’s been in post for six months) GB marketing boss Aedamar Howlett gave her first interviews to the press this week as Coke launched its annual summer campaign. It’s a difficult time for the brand – consumers are moving away from sugary drinks, the arrival of the sugar tax is imminent and it has just had to can Coke Life after a disastrous sales drop.

Yet Howlett is upbeat. The GB market is growing, she claims, there is excitement around its 2020 vision to become a “total beverage company” and the success of Coca-Cola Zero Sugar shows it can adjust to consumer trends. For all that though, the headwinds are only likely to get stronger. She dismissed our columnist Mark Ritson’s talks of a “managed decline”, only time will tell who is right.

READ MORE: Coca-Cola dismisses talk of a ‘managed decline’ as it launches summer campaign

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