International round-up: Facebook fined in Spain, L’Oréal uses AI to target Chinese shoppers

Plus marriage equality opponents in Australia outspend their opposition by nearly 500% in TV advertising and B&Q faces disruption from a French DIY website.


Facebook fined by Spain for illegal data usage

Facebook faces a fine of 1.2m for allegedly obtaining personal information from users in Spain that could then be used for advertising.

The fine is the result of an investigation into the social network company by national data protection watchdog AEPD. It performed similar probes in Belgium, France, Germany and the Netherlands.

It found three cases in which Facebook had collected personal details such as the gender, religious beliefs, personal tastes and browsing history of its Spanish users without their consent. Facebook also failed to inform them of how the information would be distributed.

“Facebook’s privacy policy contains generic and unclear terms,” the authority said in a statement. “The social network uses specifically protected data for advertising, among other purposes, without obtaining users’ express consent as data protection law demands, a serious infringement.”

READ MORE: Facebook fined 1.2 million euros by Spanish data watchdog

L’Oréal uses AI to target Chinese consumers

L’Oréal’s beauty squad

L’Oréal is turning to artificial intelligence (AI) to send more personalised and automated messages to younger audiences in Hong Kong.

The move is part of its digital transformation strategy, which sees L’Oréal work alongside marketing company Emarsys. The French FMCG giant owns brands such as Giorgio Armani, Yves Saint Laurent, Lancôme, Kiehl’s and Urban Decay, and is eager to increase its footprint in the Chinese market.

By using AI, L’Oréal claims it will be able to put consumers “at the heart of whatever it does”. It plans to use the tech to engage with audiences across email, SMS and social media channels, and eventually aims to deploy AI “at scale”.

“Our ability to engage with consumer millennial and youth audiences more effectively, and deliver on the promise of our digital transformation strategy has been the driving force behind our marketing activities in the region,” said Julien Raffin, head of digital and CRM at L’Oréal Hong Kong.

B&Q faces disruption from French DIY website

Watch out B&Q, as disruption could be on its way from across the channel. French DIY website ManoMano has raised €60m in an attempt to open traditional bricks-and-mortar retailers in Germany and the UK, where chains including B&Q and Homebase have suffered major declines in sales over recent years.

ManoMano was founded in 2013 in Paris. The company sell DIY tools, products and furniture from a network of merchants, and is on track for sales of €280m in 2017, up from €89m last year. The business has been operating in the UK for 18 months and has so far made £9m in sales.

“DIY is a €260bn market overall in Europe, €65bn of which is Germany and €42bn in the UK,” said Phillippe de Chanville, ManoMano co-founder.

“In France, the web represents roughly 3-5% of its sales. In the UK, close to 8% of its sales are on the web. We are aiming to get the biggest market share online.”

READ MORE: French DIY website raises €60m to take on B&Q

Marriage equality opponents in Australia outspend opposition by nearly 500% in TV advertising

Australia is currently voting on whether or not same-sex marriage should be allowed, and the campaigns on both sides are heating up.

So far, opponents of marriage equality have outspent the yes campaign by about five-to-one in television advertisements. Advertising analytics firm Ebiquity found the no campaign has spent $312,000 on TV ad spend, while the yes campaign spent £64,000.

Aaron Rigby, Ebiquity director of client service for advertising, said it was understandable for the yes campaign to be behind because its ads started more recently but on total spending so far “it’s a victory for the no [side]”. He expects the total ad spend to run into the millions of dollars.

“We haven’t seen anything yet: I think we will start to see a spike in activity, now the postal votes are arriving in people’s post boxes… and then a continuous flatline of spending throughout the [survey] period, with a final spike towards the end to convince those who haven’t voted,” he said.

READ MORE: Marriage equality opponents have spent five times more on TV ads, analyst says 

US changes influencer guidelines following gaming scandal

Brands love using influencers for their reach and appeal among younger audiences. But the rules around how they should be used in campaigns can be murky, and one recent case in the US has proven that influencer guidelines need to be constantly monitored and updated.

Two popular social media influencers settled Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charges that they deceptively endorsed the online gambling service CSGO Lotto.

Trevor Martin and Thomas Cassell, who are both well-known influencers within the gaming community, failed to disclose that they jointly own CSGO Lotto. They also paid other well-known influencers between $2,500 and $55,000 to promote the site across social media platforms such as Youtube and Facebook, without ordering them to disclose the payments in their social media posts.

“This action, the FTC’s first against individual influencers, should send a message that such connections must be clearly disclosed so consumers can make informed purchasing decisions,” said FTC acting chairman Maureen Ohlhausen.

In response, the Commission has also issued an updated version of its guidelines, which addresses specific questions social media influencers and marketers may have concerning how to disclose material connections in their posts.

READ MORE: CSGO Lotto owners settle FTC’s first-ever complaint against individual social media influencers



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