Giffgaff, Innocent, EasyJet: 5 things that mattered this week and why

From Giffgaff’s new ad campaign in response to the coronavirus pandemic to EasyJet scrapping the CMO role and the hit to consumer confidence, catch up with all this week’s most important marketing news.

Giffgaff turns around new campaign in a week in response to Covid-19

As the coronavirus crisis worsened, Giffgaff found itself in a slightly difficult predicament. It had TV airtime booked for April, but the campaign it planned to run was all about refurbished phones and new SIM cars – not quite in-keeping with the public mood.

Then its agency, Made By Blah, suggested it take a different tack. When it shot the campaign at the end of last year, one of the topics it covered was the role of community. As the ‘mobile network run by you’, this tied in well with Giffgaff’s brand positioning. But as the UK went into lockdown and stories of how people across communities were helping each other, it also tapped into the nation’s psyche.

Giffgaff decided to run that creative instead, leading to a crazy week where the team worked remotely to edit the footage and ensure its tone was appropriate. It launched on TV at the start of the week.

The launch shows what is possible for marketers despite the coronavirus outbreak and the key role brands can play in supporting the UK through this crisis.

READ MORE: Giffgaff turns around new campaign in a week in response to Covid-19

Innocent extends ‘thoughtful’ approach to innovation

Innocent Shots

Innocent has had a pretty consistent pipeline of new products over the past couple of years. From branching out into sparkling water to taking a chunk out of the dairy-free milk market, the drinks company has made a habit of capitalising on the latest trends.

For its latest trick, Innocent is jumping on the wellness trend for juice shots, which mix fruit, vegetables and vitamins. Developed pre-pandemic, the shots range was created in response to the rise of on-the-go consumption, combined with the growing interest among consumers to understand the health benefits of their food.

Head of innovation, Joe Spence, explains that Innocent has always been focused on “thoughtful innovation”, based on spotting new trends and bringing products to market that meet genuine consumer needs. The brand also believes it can introduce some “punchy flavour” to the category.

“The nature of the category at the moment is that a lot of the products out there feel like they’re doing you some good, but we thought we could bring more taste to the category,” Spence explains.

The range launched with three products – Power Sour (grape, raspberry and acerola), Ginger Kick (turmeric, apple and carrot) and Blazing Greens (jalapeño, matcha, apple and cucumber) – on 30 March in selected Boots stores which remain open and will hit shelves elsewhere on 11 May.

While launching a new product during a global pandemic is a tough ask, Innocent is confident that its wellbeing message will resonate with consumers thinking about their health in greater detail than ever before.

READ MORE: Innocent prioritises ‘thoughtful innovation’ as it launches juice shots

EasyJet scraps the CMO role as Lis Blair departs

EasyjetEasyJet’s approach to the CMO job has been a little scattergun in recent years. When its chief commercial officer Peter Duffy, who was the top marketer, departed for Just Eat, it initially said it would not replace the role at board level, instead hiring a chief data officer.

It soon rowed back on that, appointing Lis Blair to the CMO role and the board. Yet a little more than two years later it is scrapping the position as Blair departs.

Marketing, along with customer, digital and insights, will now report into chief commercial officer Robert Carey. Unlike Duffy, however, Carey does not have a marketing background, having previously held roles in operations at airlines Delta Air and American West, and most recently working as a consultant at McKinsey.

It makes sense for EasyJet to rethink its restructure amid the devastating impacts of the coronavirus outbreak on the airline industry. But marketing will be key to recovery when this is over. It should be wary of demoting it down the executive pecking order.

READ MORE: EasyJet scraps CMO role as Lis Blair departs

Coronavirus takes toll on consumer confidence

Given the unfolding Covid-19 pandemic and with the prospect of another major global recession now only seeming a matter of when, it is not surprising GfK’s consumer confidence index dropped by two points in the first two weeks of March.

Consumers are clearly feeling especially downbeat about their own financial situation over the next 12 months, which is down three points and likely to continue that decline as the situation unfolds.

The index shows people are saving less and not planning on making any “major” purchases any time soon, meaning Brits are very much thinking about the short-term rather than investing for the future.

But they are still spending money, with things like tablets, computers, hair clippers and freezers on the up. So there is an opportunity for brands to play a role in making people’s lives a little easier and more bearable during difficult times.

“Brands that can offer reassurance of quality and cleanliness, companies that treat their staff well, companies with a holistic approach to wellbeing of customers and staff, this is their time to shine,” says GfK’s client strategy director Joe Staton.

“This really is the time you can build great amounts of brand equity if you’re in sync with how consumers are thinking or feeling.”

GfK will be releasing a flash barometer charting the second half of March on Monday. It will be nothing short of a miracle if people are feeling more confident now Britain is in lockdown.

READ MORE: Brands should take opportunity ‘to shine’ as lockdown takes toll on consumer confidence

Attention to advertising higher during coronavirus outbreak

An increasing number of marketers are choosing to delay campaigns and add coronavirus-related words to keyword blocklists in response to coronavirus fears.

Publishers are set to lose £50m in online ads as a result of these blocklists. But what if, in another universe, marketers actively placed their ads next to coronavirus-related news content?

According to eye-tracking specialists Lumen, people are paying more attention to ads that appear next to coronavirus news content. This is especially evident in print advertising, which is currently generating 21% more attention than the norm for the medium.

The more people engage with the editorial, the more they engage with the ads around it. Because people are engaging more with coronavirus-related content than anything else, it is logical to conclude they are engaging more with the ads around that.

The current panic is understandable but, in another universe, all parties are winning. People are paying attention to brands’s ads and publishers are basking in the ad revenue from it.

Rather than blacklisting anything to do with the virus, what marketers should actually be doing is searching it out.

READ MORE: Consumers ‘pay more attention’ to ads next to coronavirus news content

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