International round-up: Google faces second fine, Amazon invests in Indian business

Plus Whole Foods is on the hunt for a new creative agency ahead of its Amazon acquisition and Woolworths refuses to stock Coke Zero in Australia.


Google could face second EU fine

Google is facing a second record fine from European regulators in another anti-trust case, according to a Reuters report.

EU officials are reportedly looking for a second opinion on the case, which examines Google’s dominance in mobile with its Android operating system.

Last year, the European Commission accused Google of using Android to skew the market against competitors.

It said tactics included requiring smartphone manufacturers to pre-install Google Search and Google Browser, and barring manufacturers from using rival versions of Android. It isn’t clear when the Commission will make its results on the Android case public.

Earlier this month the search giant was fined a record €2.4bn over Google Shopping breaking anti-trust rules.

READ MORE: Google faces a second massive fine from the EU — this time over Android

YouTube offers $3 refund to brands affected by brand safety scandal

YouTube has offered some advertisers a refund as little as 3 (£2.30) for having their ads displayed alongside extremist content.

The “gesture” from the video streaming giant had been intended to lure back advertisers who have moved away from the platform following its brand safety scandal earlier this year.

An investigation by the Financial Times found that at least three unnamed advertising firms had been approached with the offer of ‘a couple of dollars’, which was turned down by at least one.

A spokesperson for YouTube issued a statement that did not address the token amount offered but said: “When someone violates our ads policy repeatedly, we terminate the account, credit our advertisers and do not pay the content creator or publisher.”

READ MORE: YouTube offers $3 refunds to some advertisers impacted by brand safety scandal

Whole Foods on the hunt for new creative agency ahead of Amazon acquisition

As it prepares to cut prices ahead of its planned acquisition by Amazon, Whole Foods Market is on the hunt for a new creative advertising agency.

The company, which has worked with New York-based creative agency Partners & Spade since 2014, has issued a request for proposals.

A company spokeswoman confirmed that the 37-year-old upmarket grocer is searching for a new agency but declined to comment further.

Earlier this month, Whole Foods sent the retail world into an uproar when it announced Amazon would buy it for $13.7bn (£10.6bn), creating one universal retail-tech-food giant to (potentially) rule them all.

READ MORE: Whole Foods Issues RFP for New Creative Agency

Amazon invests extra $260 million into Indian business

In other Amazon-related news, the ecommerce giant has topped up investment in its India business with another $260m (£201m). The funding was disclosed in regulatory documents filed last month and first reported by Indian financial publication Mint.

Amazon pumped $2bn (£1.6bn) into its Indian marketplace in summer 2014 and launched Amazon Prime there last year, with annual memberships costing 999 rupees (£12).

The e-commerce giant is likely to continue pumping money into its India unit. CEO Jeff Bezos promised to invest $5bn (£3.87bn) into India during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US last year, up from the $2bn (£1.6bn) he had previously pledged. However, since that amount is meant to develop India’s tech and startup industries it’s unclear exactly how much will be put specifically into Amazon India.

China and the US are still the world’s largest e-commerce markets, but India is the fastest-growing one, with online retail sales expected to reach $64bn (£50m) by 2021.

READ MORE: Amazon puts an additional $260M into its Indian business

Woolworths refuses to stock Coke Zero in Australia

Austrailian retailer Woolworths is refusing to stock Coca-Cola’s new product Coca-Cola No Sugar, which is known as Coke Zero Sugar in the UK.

The product launched last month as a gradual replacement for Coke Zero, claiming to be the “best tasting no sugar Coca-Cola” the brand has ever made.

However, it is understood that Woolworths has not had a strong enough demand from customers to stock the new product, with Coca-Cola with Stevia, Coke Zero, Diet Coke, classic Coca-Cola and Vanilla Coke already available.

“We have taken the decision to not range this product at this time,” a Woolworth spokesperson tells AdNews.

“Our customers looking for a no sugar or low sugar cola option have ample choice already in the category across a range of different pack sizes and formats. We continue to stock Coca-Cola Zero in our stores nationwide.”

READ MORE: Zero interest in Coke’s new offering? Woolies won’t stock brand’s latest drink



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