General Election, Coke Zero, Facebook: Everything that matters this morning

We round-up all the marketing news that matters from around the world this morning.


UK on course for a hung parliament

Theresa May’s decision to call an election in an attempt to strengthen her parliamentary majority has backfired. At the time of writing, the Conservatives had 311 seats, 15 short of the number required for a majority, while Labour had 360, an increase of 31. The Liberal Democrats have also made gains, while the SNP has fallen back in Scotland.

Currently, things are so finely poised that no one party looks likely to be able to form a majority, with the Conservatives likely to need the support of a second party to gain a coalition or offer support for a minority government. Labour looks unlikely to be able to form a majority even with the help of the SNP and Liberal Democrats.

Facebook makes claim to be ‘different’ to other platforms

Facebook is trying to change how marketers think about advertising on the platform given the rise of mobile. According to a blog post by Mark Rabkin, VP of core ads, people scroll through its mobile news feed 41% faster than the desktop version, meaning video ads are less likely to get to the two-second threshold most brands want to consider an ad viewable. While users on average watch a video ad for 5.7 seconds, that number is skewed by some popular ads, meaning the rest are not getting the eyeballs.

“Because people can watch virtually anything at any time, they’re only going to watch adverts that grab their attention, reward their time and are immediately relevant. As a consequence, even though aggregate advert view time is up, individual session times are down. People aren’t watching adverts for as long as they used to, on any medium,” says Rabkin.

That, claims Facebook, means marketeres need to start measuring “results not seconds”. And unsurprisingly it says it will help build the tools to do that.

Coca-Cola axes Coke Zero in Australia

Coke Zero Australia

Coca-Cola is axing Coke Zero in Australia, replacing it with a ‘no-sugar’ variant. While it will retain Coke Zero’s black branding, Zero will disappear. It also has a new tagline ‘Say yes to no sugar’.

According to AdNews, Coke made the decision because consumers didn’t understand that Coke Zero contained no sugar. The move comes after Coca-Cola rebranded Coke Zero in the UK to Coca-Cola Zero Sugar to make it clearer that it does not contain sugar. The company has also axes the Coke Life brand after slumping sales.

READ MORE: Coke axes Zero brand

Verizon to lay off 2,000 people after Yahoo deal goes through

Verizon is reportedly planning to lay off 2,100 people following its acquisition of Yahoo, which is expected to complete on Tuesday (13 June). The layoffs represent around 15% of the workforce at Yahoo and AOL, which Verizon plans to unite under a new division names Oath.

Cuts are likely to include marketing, as well as HR, finance and administration. Verizon is hoping that the two acquisitions will help it compete with Google and Facebook in the digital ad space.

READ MORE: Verizon will cut ~15% of AOL-Yahoo staff after merger closes

Emirates plots a move away from football sponsorship

Emirates is thought to be moving away from football sponsorship after becoming “disillusioned” with the sport. According to The Daily Mail, Arsenal are on the hunt for a new shirt sponsor amid rumours Emirates only plans to continue its ground sponsorship once the deal comes up for renewal in two years. The FA Cup could also need a new sponsor.

READ MORE: Arsenal go in search of new shirt sponsors

Thursday, 8 June

Topshop owner sees profits plummet 79%

Profits across Sir Philip Green’s retail empire fell 79% last year as the Arcadia Group was hit by the collapse of BHS and tough trading conditions.

According to a report filed with Companies House by Taveta Investments, the holding company of Arcadia, pre-tax profits for the year to 27 August 2016 fell to £36.8m, down from £172.2m in 2015.

Sales across the Arcadia Group, which spans Topshop, Miss Selfridge, Burton, Evans, Wallis and Dorothy Perkins, fell 2.5% to £2.02bn.

Profits were reportedly dented by £129.2m worth of one-off charges, including £26.4m related to BHS’ fall into administration in April.

A statement from Taveta said its financial performance was “below prior year levels”, citing the fact clothing has become “a less important part of the household budget”.

The company also attributed blame for its poor performance to the falling value of the pound post-Brexit and strong competition from new fashion players in the online market.

READ MORE: Topshop owner sees profits dive by 79%

Sorrell’s £48m pay package rejected by fifth of WPP investors

More than a fifth of WPP investors have voted against Sir Martin Sorrell’s £48m pay package, the lowest level of unrest since 2010.

A total of 21.3% of shareholders either voted against his pay or abstained, compared to nearly 60% of investors who rejected the deal in 2012.

The pay package was down 32% on the £70.4m Sorrell received in 2015, one of the biggest pay deals in UK corporate history.

Shareholders were, however, vocal about their concerns regarding a succession plan for who will take over from Sorrell as head of the world’s largest advertising group.

READ MORE: More than a fifth of WPP investors reject Sorrell’s £48m pay package

Facebook launches new tools to help politicians reach constituents


Facebook is launching three new tools to help politicians connect with constituents.

The first feature, district targeting, allows politicians to target posts or polls exclusively towards people who live in their constituency.

Constituent badges, the second tool, is an opt-in feature that allows Facebook users to identify themselves as a person living in a constituency. Users will be prompted to turn on their constituent badges when they like or comment on posts shared by their local politician.

Lastly constituent insights is a tool politicians can access through the new page insights feature, allowing them to see which news stories are trending in their local area and post a link to that story on their Facebook page.

READ MORE: Facebook inserts itself into politics with new tools that help elected officials reach constituents

Manchester United named world’s richest club

Manchester United

Manchester United has toppled Spanish rivals Real Madrid to become the world’s most valuable football club, according to Forbes.

Valued at $3.69bn (£2.86bn), Manchester United returned to the top of the annual list for the first time in five years after the club saw its value increase 11%.

Speaking to BBC Sport, Forbes said Manchester United’s “powerful brand and marketing acumen” played a big part in the club’s return to the top.

Despite leading the list for the past four years, Real Madrid’s value fell 2% to $3.58bn (£2.77bn) as it slipped to third behind fellow Spanish mega club Barcelona, which came in second with a valuation of $3.64bn (£2.82bn).

Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham also joined Manchester United in the top 10.

READ MORE: Man Utd overtake Real Madrid to top Forbes football rich list

Argos debuts election special ad

Argos Election Special

Argos has unveiled an election special advert as part of its ‘80 Days of Argos’ campaign.

Promoting the retailer’s Fast Track same day delivery service, the advert shows a range of brightly coloured Habitat designed seats, along with the message: “Want seats 8th June? Get seats 8th June.”

Running across TV, digital and social media, the election special advert marks the ninth week of the 80-day campaign, which draws on real-world events and important dates in the national calendar to serve a topical ad each day.

Wednesday 7 June

Uber fires 20 staff after harassment investigation

Uber has fired more than 20 people following its investigation into sexual harassment, bullying and issues of poor company culture. The news follows yesterdays announcement that it had hired a Harvard Business School professor to help transform the troubled car-hailing company. 

The transport company has been under fire over a series of controversies, including its treatment of women after a former employee wrote a blog post about her experience.

In other news, Uber has also hired former Apple marketing boss Bozoma Saint John as its first chief brand officer. She will be charged with better telling the company’s story and report into its SVP of leadership and strategy Frances Frei, who joined the team earlier this month.

READ MORE: Uber fires 20 staff after harassment investigation

HSBC launches a social network for bank customers

HSBC has launched the HSBC Connections hub, a social network to keep its business clients connected to each other.

The hub has a similar feel to LinkedIn and is available free of charge for HSBC customers in the UK, US, Canada, mainland China, Hong Kong, India, Mexico and Singapore.

The platform allows companies to post profiles and content on its “what’s new page”. It also matches companies to potential partners.

READ MORE: HSBC launches a social network for bank customers

Pinterest raises $150m at a $12.3bn valuation

Pinterest has raised $150m in venture funding, valuing the company at $12.3bn.

The company is using the additional capital to help fund its visual search and global expansion efforts. These include advance computer vision in first-of-its-kind products like lens camera search, expanding its technology  to power visual search and recommendations to make ads more relevant and useful. It is also improving its local and relevant content for users outside of the U.S.

READ MORE: Pinterest Brings Its Visual Discovery Technology to the Advertising Side

WhatsApp adds photo filters and albums to make chats more visual

WhatsApp is making its technology more visual and easier to connect with other users, with its latest iOS update including a quick-reply feature for group texts, Snapchat-style image updates and Siri-integration.

Users can now add one of five new filters to their imagery and open albums to swipe through single posts. The quick reply feature also allows users to respond more quickly by swiping the message they want to respond to before it pops them down to the bottom of the chat window for a threaded reply.

READ MORE: WhatsApp adds photo filters and albums to make chats more visual

Lloyds Banking Group has agreed a huge deal outsourcing nearly 1,500 tech jobs to IBM

Lloyds has agreed to a long-negotiated deal to outsource nearly 1,500 tech jobs to IBM. The deal, which is estimated to be worth more than £1.3bn over the next 10 years, is expected to save the bank £759m.

The bank’s transition is expected to take three years according to an update by Lloyds trade union.

READ MORE: The transition to IBM is expected to take three years according to an update by Lloyds trade union to its 35,000 members. 

Tuesday 6 June

Lidl announces fashion line with Heidi Klum

Lidl UK has today announced its first ever collaboration with former model and “fashion icon” Heidi Klum. Heidi’s new fashion collection will be available exclusively at Lidl and will launch across its network of over 650 stores nationwide later this year.

The grocer says Heidi Klum designed a “high-end, yet affordable” fashion collection for Lidl, aiming to make the range accessible for everyone. The collection will also launch across Europe and the US this year.

Speaking about the new collaboration, Ryan McDonnell, Lidl UK’s commercial director, said: “We are extremely excited about offering our most premium fashion range to date, and look forward to the first collection going on sale later this year.”

Top Apple marketer departs

Apple Music’s head of global marketing Bozoma Saint John has left Apple, according to The Tech Portal.

She joined the company when it bought out Beats Music back in 2014. She started off by working behind the scenes to negotiate partnerships with popular music artists for launches on Apple Music, and has signed marketing deals with Taylor Swift and Mary J. Blige.

Prior to joining Apple, she was working as the head of music and entertainment marketing at PepsiCo. It is unsure what role she will be taking on next.

READ MORE: Ahead of WWDC, Apple Music marketing exec Bozoma Saint John to depart Cupertino

Uber hires Harvard Business School professor to fix culture

Uber has hired a Harvard Business School (HBS) professor to help transform the troubled car-hailing company, shortly before it publishes an internal investigation into its workplace culture.

Frances Frei, a senior associate dean for executive education at HBS, has been advising Uber’s leadership team for several months as it went through the crises that prompted the report. The company has faced accusations of sexual harassment and discrimination.

She will now join the San Francisco-based company full time as a partner to Liane Hornsey, chief human resources officer, assisting with company strategy, coaching the leadership team and helping to change the culture.

READ MORE: Uber hires Harvard Business School professor to overhaul culture

British Airways says IT crash was a ‘human error’

The boss of British Airways’ parent company says that human error caused an IT meltdown that led to travel chaos for 75,000 passengers.

Willie Walsh, chief executive of IAG, said an engineer disconnected a power supply, with the major damage caused by a surge when it was reconnected.

He said there would now be an independent investigation “to learn from the experience”. However, some experts say that blaming a power surge is too simplistic.

READ MORE: British Airways says IT chaos was caused by human error

Channel 4 appoints Alex Mahon as new CEO

Alex Mahon has been named as the new chief executive of Channel 4. She is the first woman to take on the role in the broadcaster’s 35-year history.

Mahon was previously head of Shine Group until 2015 and is currently chief executive of special effects company Foundry.

She succeeds David Abraham, who announced his departure earlier this year, and will start her new role this autumn.

Mahon said: “Channel 4’s unique remit to innovate and to appeal to young and diverse audiences make it an essential part of British culture.

“There is nowhere in the world like Channel 4 and, in these changing times, its mission is more important than ever.

READ MORE: Alex Mahon named as new Channel 4 chief executive

Monday 5 June

Domino’s Pizza to hit the London Stock Exchange for the second time

Fast foot giant Domino’s Pizza is set to enter the London Stock Exchange for the second time.

DP Eurasia NV, which is the fast food brand’s second master franchisee owner and is responsible for its business in the likes of Turkey, Russia and Georgia, is set to launch an IPO in the UK by 3 July.

Investors can already buy shares in the nearly £1.6bn valued Domino’s Pizza Group plc, which is responsible for issuing franchise in the likes of the UK, Ireland and Germany.

However, according to the Telegraph, it could be wise for investors to grab a second slice of Domino’s Pizza, with DP Eurasia NV quickly expanding across Eastern Europe.

For example, it is set to open roughly 70 stores this year, with 40 in Russia and 30 across its other three geographies. Over the next five years, it is targeting between 70 to 90 new store openings a year.

READ MORE: Another slice of Domino’s Pizza set for London listing

eBay launches new TV campaign in the US as it aims to poach Amazon shoppers

eBay has launched a new TV Campaign in the US market called ‘Fill Your Cart With Colour’ as it aims to position itself as a brand with more personality than the likes of rivals such as Amazon.

The ad, which is the first work since it made 72andSunny its global creative agency earlier this year, shows brown boxes rolling through an Amazon-esque shipping facility, with a voiceover mocking shoppers for becoming too “beige”.

It then pivots to showing consumers opening up brown but colorfully taped eBay boxes filled with more individualistic items they are passionate about.

The campaign also aims to shatter misperceptions that most eBay goods are used; with 80% of what’s listed on the site being new.

READ MORE: EBay Paints Itself as Colorful Contrast to Amazon

British Airways urged to invest in IT or risk another system outage

A major shareholder advisory group has warned British Airways’ parent company International Airlines Group, which also owns the likes of Iberia and Aer Lingus, to add more staff with specialist IT knowledge.

The BA brand has seen brand perceptions plummet and lost consumers to the likes of EasyJet in the wake of last weekend’s system outage.

And Glass Lewis has urged: “We believe the board should consider bolstering the IT experience of its non-executive cohort, particularly in light of the fact that, to the best of our knowledge, only one (Alberto Miguel Terol) of the 10 currently serving non-executive directors has relevant IT experience.”

The advice will be a worrying read for shareholders ahead of the International Airlines Group’s annual general meeting on 15 June.

READ MORE: British Airways owner IAG urged to add IT experts to board

VICE UK and The Telegraph team up with Snapchat Discover for the General Election

VICE UK and The Telegraph have launched channels on Snapchat Discover in a bid to connect with young voters ahead of the General Election on 8 June.

Joining the likes of Sky New, Buzzfeed and the Daily Mail, the two brands will bring daily coverage to the app’s 10 million daily UK users.

“We’re specially curating content for Snapchat. We understand the audience is specific, and we want to be true to our brand,” says Robert Bridge, chief customer officer at Telegraph Media Group, with the right-leaning newspaper set to publish at least a 10-snap story at 5 p.m. each day.

It will be Vice’s fourth international market on Snapchat Discover, after the U.S., France and Germany.

“To go out on such a large platform to a young and engaged audience around an important election is a perfect marriage for us,” adds Alex Miller, executive creative director at Vice UK.

READ MORE: Vice UK and The Telegraph join Snapchat Discover ahead of UK election

Sir Philip Green’s nightmare continues as Arcadia profits fall

It’s been a difficult 12 months for Sir Philip Green, with the British business tycoon widely criticised by MPs and the general public for his suspect role in selling the now defunct BHS for just £1.

And things are getting a lot worse after his Arcadia fashion empire, which includes brands such as Topshop and Miss Selfridge, saw profits fall by 16%.

According to reports, accounts for Green’s holding company show profits in the year to the end of August 2016 fell to £211m as sales dropped 2.5% to just over £2bn.

Taveta Investments, which owns the Green family’s Arcadia Group of companies, is thought to have ended the year with cash reserves of £223m.

READ MORE: Philip Green fashion empire hit by 16% fall in profits