Facebook considers revising ad targeting as pressure mounts
Facebook is reportedly considering increasing its minimum ad target size from 100 people to several thousand as the social media giant comes under increasing pressure to revise its stance on political advertising and microtargeting.
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reports that Facebook is consulting major Republican and Democratic advertisers in the US about setting a new minimum targeting policy, which could affect how precisely ads can target specific demographics.
In a statement, Facebook told the WSJ the platform was continuing to look at “different ways we might refine our approach to political ads.”
The proposed change in policy from Facebook comes a day after Google imposed a ban on targeting ads based on a voter’s political leanings or public voter records, while Twitter’s global ban on political advertising comes into force today.
WeWork slashes 2,400 jobs globally as it chases efficiencies
WeWork is cutting 2,400 jobs globally as it redoubles efforts to focus on its “core” office rental business. The job losses began “weeks ago” overseas and are now affecting the US.
WeWork says: “As part of our renewed focus on the core WeWork business, and as we have previously shared with employees, the company is making necessary layoffs to create a more efficient organisation.”
Since stepping in to rescue the business in October, Softbank – WeWork’s major investor – has warned over the likelihood of job cuts. Last month, Softbank chief operating officer Marcelo Claure said steps needed to be taken to “right-size” the organisation and focus on the core business.
The problems at WeWork contributed to Softbank’s first quarterly loss in 14 years and caused the company’s chief executive, Masayoshi Son, to admit his “judgement around WeWork was not right in many ways”. At the start of 2019, Softbank valued WeWork at $47bn (£36.3bn), although that figure has since been written down to just $8bn (£6.1bn).
Victoria’s Secret says marketing must ‘evolve’ as fashion show is canned
Victoria’s Secret has admitted its marketing strategy must “evolve” after it cancelled its annual fashion show.
Running since 1995, the once-popular lingerie catwalk show has drawn diminishing television ratings in recent years and sparked criticisms of sexism and a lack of diversity.
While stating that L Brands, Victoria’s Secret’s parent company, is still “figuring out how to advance the positioning of the brand and best communicate that to customers”, chief financial officer Stuart Burgdoerfer insists the shows are an “an important aspect of the brand and a remarkable marketing achievement”.
L Brands reported a net loss of $252m (£195.1m) during the third quarter, attributed in part to dwindling sales across the Victoria’s Secret chain.
Controversy has dogged the lingerie brand this year. Chief marketing officer Ed Razek, who said “transsexual” models did not have a place in the annual fashion show and was criticised for comments on body diversity, left in August days after the brand hired its first trans model. L Brands founder Les Wexner has also come under scrutiny for his relationship with the disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein.
Unilever considers purchase of Coty beauty brands
Unilever is reportedly poised to bid to acquire Coty’s portfolio of professional hair and nail care brands.
Alongside fellow FMCG giant Henkel, Colgate-Palmolive and a series of buyout funds, Reuters reports that Unilever is interested in buying the portfolio of professional beauty brands including Wella, Clairol, GHD and OPI, thought to be worth up to $7bn (£5.4bn).
Coty’s professional beauty unit, which primarily sells hair and nail care products to salons, is said to account for 21% of the company’s total revenue, generating annual sales of approximately $1.81bn (£1.4bn). However, the professional portfolio has seen sales fall during the previous four quarters and Coty has struggled to integrate these brands with its wider consumer portfolio including Rimmel and Max Factor.
According to Reuters, Coty aims to complete the sale by the middle of 2020.
Pampers launches campaign to support premature babies
Pampers is launching a campaign to raise awareness of the importance of sleep for premature babies and to encourage donations of its Pampers Preemie Protection range.
The Procter & Gamble-owned nappy brand is first airing a new TV advert during Gogglebox on Channel 4 that features eight real premature babies and their families.
The ad, which was shot at Princess Ann Hospital in Southampton, includes the message “When you’re this small, sleep is everything”. It shows how Pampers’ smallest ever nappy is designed to help minimise disruption to babies’ sleep.
The #PampersForPreemies campaign is part of a wider partnership with UK charity Bliss, which supports babies born premature or sick.
Pampers has pledged to donate its Pampers Preemie Protection nappies to neonatal intensive care wards when people buy packs in Asda until the 7 January. In addition, Pampers will donate a nappy for every post that features #PampersForPreemies on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
The campaign, developed by Publicis Groupe agencies Saatchi & Saatchi London, MSL Group and Publicis Media, is also running in-store, out of home and on influencer channels.
“For more than 60 years, Pampers has been developing products which support the happy healthy development of babies,” says Pampers brand manager, Emma Gerrard.
“Rest and comfort is vital for those born premature and with the launch of our preemie nappy to help accommodate undisturbed sleep, we can now make sure we’re there to help every baby, from day one, including those born early.”
Thursday, 21 November
Former M&S marketer Jill McDonald becomes new Costa boss
Marks and Spencer’s former fashion boss Jill McDonald has been appointed chief executive of Costa Coffee.
McDonald, who started her career in marketing, became M&S’s clothing and home boss in October 2017 but was ousted in July after failing to revive sales at the struggling division.
She is replacing Dominic Paul who has run the coffee chain since June 2016, taking over next month. Paul will stay on as a special adviser until February to support the transition.
McDonald says: “I have long been a fan of Costa and have watched the company grow in the UK and far beyond. I look forward to joining the Costa leadership team and building on the great foundation and growth potential in the business.”
McDonald has held a number of senior positions across numerous sectors. Before joining M&S she was chief executive of Halfords and has also run McDonald’s in the UK and held senior marketing roles at British Airways.
Jennifer Mann, president of global ventures for Coca-Cola, which owns Costa, says: “I am excited to welcome Jill to the Costa family. Her track record, depth of international experience and excitement about joining our business makes her an ideal leader to build on the great work of Dominic and the rest of the Costa team.”
UKTV marketing chief Zoe Clapp exits
UKTV’s first chief marketing and communications office, Zoë Clapp, is leaving after 15 years with the TV broadcaster.
Under Clapp’s tenure, UKTV has grown its marketing and communications team to 90 people. Its commercial share of viewing has increased by 42%, revenues have risen by 66% and profit has nearly tripled.
Clapp held a number of senior communications positions at UKTV. After joining the company in 2005 she rose through the ranks, becoming director of communications in 2012 before becoming the company’s first chief marketing officer in 2016.
She played a leading role in managing the business’ transition to full BBC Studios ownership earlier this year, and has also led the broadcaster’s marketing and communications teams through a period of growth for the business. Additionally, she oversaw the strategic in-housing of creative functions including online and social.
Her work also led to her being named one of Marketing Week’s Top 100 marketers.
Clapp says: “We’ve created some great work, defied the market with our vision and brand-building, won some hefty awards, and made our viewers, talent, clients and production partners happy with meticulously delivered campaigns. I want to offer Marcus and all of my colleagues at BBC Studios and UKTV the very best of luck for the next stage of the company’s future.”
UKTV CEO Marcus Arthur says Clapp had made “a massive mark” on the broadcaster’s brands, audiences and reputation during her tenure.
He adds: “She will be much missed throughout the company, and leaves a significant legacy for us to build on, as she moves to the next chapter in her own exciting story.”
Aston Martin unveils £158,000 ‘female-friendly’ SUV
Aston Martin is launching its first sports utility vehicle (SUV) aimed at women.
The British manufacturer, which has seen a 75% slide in its share price since the company floated last year, has designed the five-seat 4×4 DBX model with women in mind.
The brand carried out extensive research, including putting together a female advisory group who inputted on features such as separate central armrests and the design of the glove box.
The car brand, which is famous for supplying 007’s cars in the James Bond films, says it hopes the long-awaited model, on sale for £158,000, will widen its appeal to women, as almost all its current customers are men.
A spokesperson for the company says: “We do intend to make this car much more female-friendly. Until now our customer base has been predominantly male, except for China where it is 50-50. We want to broaden that out. We’re not talking about making cars only for women, but rather to make our cars more practical for women and families, as well as men.”
Fever-Tree sales start to lose fizz
Tonic water maker Fever-Tree has lost some of its fizz as it cut its sales expectations for the year, blaming a slowdown in consumer spending in the UK.
The company says sales to supermarkets and off-licenses are behind expectations due to a “wider slowdown in consumer retail spending”.
In the UK, its most mature market, it expects to see sales growth of just 2% this year, significantly down from sales growth of 53% in 2018, when it saw an “exceptionally strong” summer. However, the brand was quick to point out that this exceptional performance would be difficult to repeat.
Overall, Fever-Tree now expects revenues to come in at between £266m and £268m, or growth of between 12% and 13%, down compared to analysts’ expectations of £275m.
Fever-Tree chief executive Tim Warrillow says the part of the business which supplies its drinks to bars, restaurants, clubs and hotels, continued to perform well in the second half of the year, after gaining a number of new accounts.
Oatly urges consumers to ‘eat like a vegan’ for ice cream launch
Oatly is urging consumers to ‘eat like a vegan’ with its largest marketing campaign to-date
The ‘From Oatly with Love Handles’ push comes as it launches a range of ice cream. It will run across outdoor, print, sampling, in-store and social activity.
One sign reads: “Hey vegan, pre-vegan, non-vegan, have-no-idea-what-vegan-means ice cream lover. We made this for you.”
Oatly’s creative director, Michael Lee, says: “This launch campaign hopes to broadly connect with ice cream lovers across the UK and prove a point to the non-believers out there that being plant-based and progressive doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t be decadent and well, even a little reckless… UK, it’s time to indulge.”
The ice cream comes in three flavours – Chocolate Fudge, Hazelnut Swirl and Salted Caramel – and is only available in Tesco.
Wednesday, 21 November
Monzo tops list of the most recommended brand among Britons
Digital bank Monzo has the strongest brand advocates of any brand, topping a list of the most recommended brand among Britons with a score of 84.8, according to data from YouGov BrandIndex.
Online money transfer service Transferwise came second on 76.8, followed by phone maker One Plus (74.8), consumer finance website MoneySavingExpert.com (74.6) and green energy company Bulb. The brand advocacy rankings as past and present customers of more than 1,500 companies if they’d recommend them to family, friends and colleagues.
This year’s rankings are led by finance and fintech brands. Travel brands also perform well, with Universal Studios Orlando scoring 71.3 and Secret Escapes 70.8.
The most improved brand was Celebrity Cruises with an 8.8 improvement in score, followed by Southern Trains, which increased eight points, and Travel Republic (up 7.8%).
Gillette partners with youth charity Football Beyond Borders to bring purpose to life
Gillette is partnering with youth charity Football Beyond Borders as it looks to demonstrate its commitment to helping support young people.
The charity, which was founded in 2013, aims to help children who are passionate about football but may not be fulfilling their potential academically. It provides support that aims to build on their passion for the sport and has so far helped more than 2,000 young people.
The deal with Gillette aims to boost this number. It will do this by investing in increasing the number of qualified staff that can lead the programme. It will also invest in a new ‘What Makes a Man’ module and support the charity’s annual showcase event.
Gillette and Venus brand manager for the UK & Ireland, Matt Thomas, says: “FBB are doing incredible work to keep young people in school and provide them with the right skills to succeed in the future. Sport has always been an engine to bring people together and drive positive change, and FBB have proven the difference this can make on the lives of young people.
“By partnering with FBB, Gillette will continue to show we are a brand with purpose, helping to give young people the best possible start in life.”
H&M loyalty programme reaches 5 million members
H&M’s loyalty programme, H&M Memberships, now has 5 million members in the UK two years after it launched.
The scheme offers members discounts and rewards as they accrue points by making purchases either in-store or online. Users with more than 300 points become ‘Plus’ members.
When it launched, the scheme was branded as H&M Club but has since been renamed. It has also launched new perks, including offer members invites to events through its H&M Music platform.
H&M’s UK head of marketing Lisa Hill says: “It’s a real testament to the strength of the H&M brand that we’ve been able to build a membership base of more than 5 million loyal customers.
“By offering our members genuinely engaging experiences such as exclusive concerts and pre-shop opportunities for our most exciting collections, we’re able to build stronger relationships with our most loyal customers.”
Snapchat makes a ‘comeback’ as user growth accelerates
Snapchat is “making a comeback” from a redesign two years ago that prompted an exodus from the service, particularly in the US. According to eMarketer, new features and a rebuilt Android app are giving Snapchat “new momentum”, causing it to upgrade its forecasts for the social network.
Emarketer now forecasts that Snapchat will see user increase by 14.2% year on year in 2019, giving it 293.01 million users globally. That is up from a previous forecast of 281.27 million users and means it now expects Snapchat to add 63 million more users by the end of 2023.
“Snapchat has reported gains in users every quarter so far in 2019, and we believe that the relaunched Android app has reinvigorated growth,” says eMarketer principle analyst Debra Aho Williamson. “In addition, features such as the successful baby face and gender swap filters earlier this year have driven increases in user engagement with the app.”
Snapchat’s revived fortunes have caused other social networks to try to take it on. Facebook is now testing a meme creation app, called Whale, in Canada that allows users to create content that has become popular on Snapchat.
TSB ‘lacked common sense’ in IT meltdown that cost it customers and brand trust
TSB has been accused of “lacking common sense” in its decision-making in the run-up to an IT meltdown that left almost 2 million customers locked out of their online accounts for several weeks in April last year.
An independent report into the failure by law firm Slaughter and May blames TSB and its IT provider Sabis. It says the system had not been tested properly, the company had set unnecessary time constraints and was dishonest about the scale of the issue.
The IT failure has cost TSB £330m in customer compensation, fraud losses and other expenses, as well as hitting trust in the brand.
TSB executive chairman Richard Meddings says: “[The] report sets out a number of findings on aspects of the planning and preparation for migration which they believe could have been done differently.
“In light of the disruption customers experienced, TSB has made important changes to enable the bank to rebuild – including to leadership and management structures, as well as the decision to take direct control of its IT operations.
“Importantly, TSB has long since compensated every eligible customer who was impacted by the disruption.”
Tuesday, 20 November
John Lewis trials ‘experience playgrounds’ with concept store
John Lewis is launching a concept store that promises ‘experience playgrounds’ where customers can join cookery classes, get gardening advice and attend photography lessons.
The company says the concept, which is launching in WestQuay, Southampton, will “reinvent the department store” and rescue the high street by focusing on physical things that online shopping cannot provide.
John Lewis’s customer experience director Peter Cross says: “Our new concept shop is an example of how we’re reinventing the department store to make us stand out from the competition. Our goal is to offer customers unrivalled access to expertise and impartial advice in a way that is uplifting and inspiring.”
Shoppers can book time with experts and buy gift experience packages at the experience desk inside the store. If successful, the retailer will open more concept stores across the UK.
Google launches cloud gaming service
Google is launching a cloud gaming service that it promises will be a “Netflix for gaming”.
Called Stadia, the service allows the streaming of top-tier titles without a console but doesn’t including a subscription service. Instead, gamers can access the service to pay for games which they then stream through an integrated YouTube service.
The service will launch with 22 games, but heavy users may run up against data caps from their broadband providers.
The tech giant is taking on Microsoft’s Xbox, Sony’s PlayStation and Nintendo, but notes it has not done the innovation lightly.
Google vice-president Phil Harrison says: “We’ve built Stadia on the back of more than 15, nearly 20 years now of data centre and internet innovation at Google.”
He adds Google wants to move gaming “away from being about a box in plastic underneath your TV”.
“I don’t think what we’re doing is particularly revolutionary when you consider what’s happened in the music, television and film industries,” Harrison says. “They’ve moved from being packaged goods, discs, CDs, DVDs, Blu-rays, to almost exclusively an online and streaming experience.”
Alcohol brands join social media giants to tackle advertising
Alcohol brands are joining forces with social media platforms to further tackle issues around alcohol advertising.
The International Alliance for Responsible Drinking (IARD), together with Facebook (including Instagram), Snapchat, and YouTube say they are working to improve age screening and offer users the chance to block alcohol marketing.
Many IARD members, including brands such as AB InBev and Diageo, already implement age screening on online channels to ensure their advertising reaches those over the legal purchase age. However, the partnership has vowed to now work with social media networks to work on emerging areas, including influencer advertising.
The work also calls on other social media networks to join the coalition as it seeks to help empower consumers to block alcohol advertising. IARD notes that “respecting adults’ personal preferences and cultural differences are important considerations that require the same level of sensitivity and action as preventing minors seeing alcohol marketing online”.
Jamie Oliver opens new chain in southeast Asia
Jamie Oliver is planning to launch a new casual dining concept this month as he expands his international chains in southeast Asia.
The celebrity chef is converting his Jamie’s Italian restaurants in Bangkok and Bali into Jamie Oliver Kitchen, which will be run by franchisees.
The new restaurants will focus on all-day dining, with dishes reflecting local cuisine. An additional 19 openings are planned up until the end of 2020, to supplement the 70 restaurants across 27 markets that the Jamie Oliver Group currently operates.
The move by Oliver comes after all but three of his 25 UK restaurants closed in May as a result of the casual dining crunch.
Oliver says: “Over the past 20 years, I have travelled around the world to discover exciting flavour combinations, picking up incredible influences along the way.
“The new restaurants will bring those inspirations to life and serve some of my absolute all-time favourites. Whether you want to grab a quick bite in a relaxed setting, have a proper sit-down meal with friends and family, or grab a drink at the bar, we have created a beautiful space for everyone to enjoy the food I truly love.”
Glossier opens first pop-up in London
Cult beauty brand Glossier is opening a pop-up store in London.
Glossier launched in 2014 and has seen success with products such as its best-selling milky jelly cleanser and cloud paint blush.
The US-based company became available to UK consumers in September 2018, providing them with the opportunity to purchase products from its website with an additional delivery charge. It doesn’t currently have any retail space in the UK.
The direct-to-consumer company does, however, have two permanent stores in New York and Los Angeles, with its the former attracting more that 2,000 people per day.
The pop-up, created by Glossier’s in-house team, offers all of its products to test and shop, including a limited-edition Glossier London umbrella that will be available exclusively at the pop-up. For each umbrella sold, Glossier will donate £5 to the Young Women’s Trust, a charity that fights for gender equality and helps struggling young women gain confidence and find work.
Monday, 18 November
BBC film promotes General Election coverage
BBC Creative has produced a film to launch the broadcaster’s election coverage ahead of voters going to the polls on 12 December.
The short film features a cross-section of families from different communities and social backgrounds, all of whom look to the BBC for impartial, balanced election coverage.
The BBC’s head of marketing for news and current affairs, Christine Woodman, says the film is a reflection of the corporation’s editorial strategy, “by positioning the BBC as a brand that’s always on the side of the audience, at a time when they need it the most”.
“The work represents individuals and families across the UK – the people we, the BBC serve,” she adds.
The film will run until the General Election across BBC television, radio and digital platforms, including Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook, targeting a younger audience.
BBC Creative executive creative director Helen Rhodes adds: “The BBC [has] made many General Election campaigns in their time but never one like this, but this isn’t like any other General Election.
“With emotions running high, rather than add to the noise we wanted to say something calm and reassuring that only the BBC could say.
“It was a challenging but rewarding campaign to create in a short amount of time, but I’m really proud of the work and the team behind it.”
We Work to announce staff cuts
Reports claim that office space company WeWork is planning to cut at least 4,000 members of staff in the aftermath of heavy losses and spending.
It is understood the job cuts hit globally, with around 1,000 jobs being lost in the company’s non-core businesses, including a private school in Manhattan.
The move is part of a proposed five-year plan, set to be presented to staff this week, that will aim for a major restructure and reorganisation of the company as it looks to bring back some of that early shine and optimism in the months before a much-vaunted IPO was abandoned after concerns about finances.
Last week, WeWork revealed it lost $1.25bn (£900m) in the three months up to and including September. Last month, Japan’s SoftBank said it would bail out the beleaguered company, but what that deal actually entails remains unclear.
EasyJet CEO keen for carrier to develop package holiday offer
EasyJet is to relaunch its package holiday business this week, hoping to fill a gap in the market left by the collapse of Thomas Cook.
With the carrier due to reveal its annual results on Tuesday, analysts are predicting an 8% revenue increase from last year, up from £5.9bn last year to £6.4bn this.
It’s also expected that EasyJet will announce an 8.6% growth in passenger numbers, taking advantage of industrial action at competitors British Airways and Ryanair.
Company CEO Johan Lundgren is said to be keen on the idea of a greater packaged holiday subsidiary, believing that such a move could be a major source of revenue and see the airline extend its network of destinations, potentially including Morocco and Israel.
Chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK Michael Hewson, quoted in the i newspaper, warned that shareholders will still be keen to ask Lundgren what his restructuring plans are, with share prices still hitting turbulence.
“Despite this optimism, investors seemed less impressed with the share price hitting an air pocket, and falling sharply.
“This proved to be a temporary aberration with the shares quickly finding support, with the shares up over 40% since the lows seen in June.
“EasyJet has no doubt made gains due to increased demand as a result of the strikes at British Airways and Ryanair, with total revenue per seat for the second half rising by 0.8%, an outperformance from previous guidance, though on the year will still show a decline of 2.7%.”
HP rejects Xerox takeover bid
HP has turned down a $33.5bn (£26.18bn) takeover bid from printer manufacturers Xerox Corp.
Company officials wrote in a letter to Xerox CEO John Visentin that the cash and stock offer “significantly undervalues HP and is not in the best interests of HP shareholders” and described the offer as “highly conditional and uncertain”.
Despite their rejection of the bid, HP officials weren’t dismissing the idea of a merger, one that could be beneficial to both companies.
“We recognise the potential benefits of consolidation,” reads the letter. “We are open to exploring whether there is value to be created for HP shareholders through a potential combination with Xerox.”
With documents increasingly distributed and read electronically or via cloud platforms, HP printer sales have fallen sharply. Xerox too has experienced slowing sales, announcing earlier this year that it would be cutting costs by $640m (£495m).
Facebook VP launches cancer foundation
Nicola Mendelsohn, Facebook’s vice-president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, is launching the Follicular Lymphoma Foundation (FLF) to combat the currently incurable blood cancer following her own diagnosis in 2016.
The ‘Making the Invisible, Visible’ campaign to promote the launch has been developed by The&Partnership. It features portraits by celebrated fashion photographer and creative director Rankin, featuring Katherine Jenkins, Tracey Ullman, Julius Dein and others, all portrayed with purple make-up to depict the lymphatic system on people’s faces.
The campaign aims to make the invisible blood cancer visible by taking inspiration from the purple dye used to view the cancer cells under a microscope, collaborating with the Pantone Color Institute to create a special colour, called FLF Purple.
Follicular lymphoma is the most common low-grade non-Hodgkin lymphoma with approximately 2,000 people diagnosed with the disease each year in the UK.