International round-up: US tobacco advertising, Ocado’s French partnership

Plus Unilever delays choosing its new HQ and a new festive ad sees Santa Claus getting confused by the New Zealand accent.

US tobacco firms forced to run ads admitting cigarettes are addictive

This week millions of Americans opened their Sunday newspapers to find full page ads from tobacco giants that admit smoking kills.

The country’s biggest tobacco firms have also been forced to pay for television ads, which contain the same message and run for between 30 and 45 seconds, at least five nights every week for the next year.

This comes after new rules by the US Federal Court were finally agreed on last month after a 10-year legal battle with the tobacco industry deciding on the precise wording, font, format and locations of these “corrective statements”.

As many as 480,000 Americans still die each year from tobacco-related diseases.

READ MORE: Tobacco mea culpa: companies to run ‘corrective’ ads in US on smoking’s harm

Ocado partners with French retailer Groupe Casino

Ocado saw its shares surge more than 20% this week after the online supermarket brand announced a deal to co-operate with French retail giant Groupe Casino.

The UK retailer already outsources its ecommerce platform to third-party brands such as Morrisons, with Groupe Casino set to use Ocado’s expertise to bolster its online business.

As part of the deal, the French retailer will also build a fulfilment centre using Ocado’s mechanical handling equipment. Ocado, meanwhile, will take care of maintenance and provision of technology within the centre.

“This agreement is a major leap in terms of quality,” says Jean-Charles Naouri, chief executive of Groupe Casino. And Tim Steiner, CEO of Ocado, expects more international collaborations to follow.

Steiner adds: “We continue to make investments to commercialise our proprietary platform and expect this deal to be one of many successful collaborations with leading retailers to use it the world over.”

READ MORE: Ocado shares soar as it bags long-awaited international deal

Unilever still weighing up whether to have its headquarters only in Holland


Although it has admitted it sees a single corporate structure as the best way forward, Unilever still hasn’t decided whether it will abandon its Rotterdam or London-based headquarters to fully realise this.

The dual-headed, Anglo-Dutch FMGG giant said in April it would review its corporate structure, with an aim to make a decision on having a single share class by the end of the year.

However, this week it admitted it still isn’t any closer on deciding whether to chose Rotterdam or London, insisting a decision will be made in “due course”. Choosing the latter could be politically sensitive given the process of Brexit.

This week, Unilever also announced it has acquired US skincare brand Sundial Brands. Sundial, which has brands such as SheaMoisture and Nubian Heritage, is expected to have a turnover of $240 million for 2017.

READ MORE: Unilever Delays Choosing Between the U.K. and Netherlands for Its Sole Headquarters

Santa struggles with the Kiwi accent in Air New Zealand Christmas ad

It’s basically December so it’d be a shame not to have at least one international Christmas story in this week’s round-up. And Air New Zealand’s comedic ad was the strongest contender.

The airline’s three-minute film ‘A Very Merry Mistake’ shows Santa and an elf fielding calls from children across the world. However, when a child from New Zealand calls up Santa struggles to make out the accent, relying on a team of Air New Zealand cabin crew to help him translate.

Air New Zealand’s CMO Mike Tod says: “While it’s no secret the Kiwi accent has been misunderstood at times, it’s also a signature part of our service. We wanted to celebrate the festive season and the Kiwi accent in a humorous and uniquely Air New Zealand way.”

READ MORE: Santa struggles with the Kiwi accent in latest Air New Zealand Christmas piece

China, US and Germany most at risk of robots taking workers’ jobs

Up to 800 million people could be forced out of their jobs by 2030 due to the rise of workplace robots, according to new research from consultancy group McKinsey.

In the West, it warns workers in advanced economies such as the US and Germany are most at risk of the rise of the machines, with 14% of workers globally expected to have to find a new sector to work in. However, workplace robots will cause particular disruption in Asia.

In Japan, almost half of its workforce may need to reskill themselves in order to find new work. And China could face the largest number of workers losing their jobs to robots, with up to 100 million individuals at risk as firms rapidly invest in automation over the next 12 years.

“We find that there are many sources of future labour demand that could employ people, even as automation is adopted: for example, caring for others in ageing societies, developing and deploying technology, raising energy efficiency and meeting climate challenges, producing goods and services for the expanding consuming class in developing countries, not to mention the infrastructure and buildings needed as they urbanise,” says Michael Chui, a partner at the McKinsey Global Institute.

READ MORE: Robots could force 800 million people out of a job, finds study



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