M&S, Vodafone and Spotify: Everything that matters this morning

We round up all the latest marketing news from around the world.

Marks and Spencer is the top brand for women

Marks and Spencer (M&S) is the brand that British women have the best impression of, new figures by YouGov BrandIndex show.

The high street giant has an Impression score of +58, ahead of fellow retail favourite John Lewis on a score of +54. The rest of the top five is made up of Heinz (+53), Boots (+53) and BBC One (+51).

In terms of brands where women’s impression have improved most over the past year, Tesco comes out on top with an improvement of 13 points. Holiday operator Thomas Cook has seen the second-greatest improvement (12 points), just ahead of HSBC, WhatsApp and Channel 4’s catch-up service All4.

While M&S tops the list for those aged 34-to-54 and for the 55+, younger women prefer Ikea and Ben and Jerry’s. Swedish furniture retailer Ikea is the brand making the best impression among women aged 18-34, with a score of +57 and the rest of the top five was made up of Ben and Jerry’s (+55), Boots (+54), Heinz (+53) and YouTube (+52).

Spotify hits 50 million paid subscribers

Spotify says it has reached 50 million paid subscribers, growing 25% in less than six months and extending the Swedish music streaming service’s lead over its closest rival, Apple Music.

Spotify, which is yet to post a profit, announced a major expansion in New York in February, creating hundreds of jobs.

Launched in 2008, Spotify had 40 million paid subscribers in September. Apple, which launched its music service less than two years ago, had about 20 million subscribers in December.

READ MORE: Spotify says it reaches 50 million paid subscribers

Dove updates its ‘Real Beauty’ campaign

Remember Dove’s ‘Real Beauty’ campaign that came out in 2004 and showed ‘real women’ in its ad, stretch marks and all? Well, it’s back.

This time around, the Unilever-owned brand has partnered with photographer Mario Testino to photograph 30 women, aged between 11 and 71 from 14 countries, as part of a “campaign update”.

Naturally, the campaign involves images of everyday women with no photoshopping or major edits done to the images.

The 30 portraits will also be released online at Dove.com and will spearhead a social media campaign through Dove’s international markets. Three of the portraits will be used in print and outdoor advertising later in the year.

The campaign aims to shake up the advertising sphere once again.

READ MORE: 60 years of #RealBeauty

Vodafone launches scheme to recruit career break women


Vodafone is launching what it claims to be the world’s largest programme to recruit women who have taken a career break.

The telecoms company aims to hire 1,000 people worldwide over three years — half in frontline roles such as call centres and shops and the other half in managerial positions. It hopes to tap a deep pool of skilled workers who are trying to return to work after up to a decade out of the workplace.

Vodafone’s ReConnect programme is the latest in a number of initiatives aimed at encouraging workers to resume their careers after a break.

The programme is not restricted to former Vodafone staff and is open to men as well as women. However, the company expects most of the candidates to be women, many of whom will have taken a career break to have children. The scheme will extend to 26 countries and include refreshment of skills and flexible working options.

READ MORE: Vodafone launches programme to recruit career-break women

Zero hours contracts reach a record high of 910,000

The number of people on controversial zero hours contracts has reached a record high of 910,000.

New figures by the Office of National Statistics reveal that 110,000 more people were on contracts that do not guarantee work in 2016 compared with the same period in 2015.

That’s an increase of nearly 14%, and 30% higher than 2014. In 2005, there were just 100,000 people on zero hours contracts.

Although the new figures are a record, they also reveal a sharp slowing in the rate of increase in the last six months of 2016.

The contracts can prove controversial, as they are said to not offer enough job security, provide irregular income and a lack of full employment rights.

A number of businesses have either stopped using them or reduced their use.
Homebase scrapped zero hours contracts earlier this year, while JD Wetherspoon, which runs pubs, offered thousands of staff on zero hour contracts the chance to move onto contracts which guarantee hours.

READ MORE: Zero hours contracts reach record levels

Thursday, 2 March

Sorrell: Trump is more pro-business than Obama

WPP chief executive Martin Sorrell has praised US President Donald Trump for his pro-business stance.

Speaking at Mobile World Congress last night (1 March), the leader of the world’s biggest ad agency described Trump as a “dramatic difference” compared to the Obama administration.

He explained: “What is dramatically clear is that whereas the Obama administration was diffident or almost dismissive of the business community, this [Trump] is an administration that is clearly from a US perspective pro-growth, pro-business and heavily engaged.

“Whatever you think of the president’s agenda over the last four weeks it has been peppered with engagement – with the manufacturing industry, the healthcare industry, retail – across the spectrum.”

According to Sorrell, the US economy “will become quite strong” over the short to medium term under Trump.

READ MORE: Obama was ‘dismissive’ of business, Trump is more engaged, WPP CEO says

McDonald’s plans to start home deliveries


You could soon get a Big Mac delivered to your front door after McDonald’s made a filing that suggested it is looking to partner with third-party delivery services such as Deliveroo.

The filing reveals McDonald’s is currently experimenting with different delivery models and states: “One of the most significant disruptions in the restaurant business today is the rapid increase in delivery. Coupled with the explosive growth in third-party delivery companies, the landscape has created an exceptional opportunity for growth.”

The move would make good sense for McDonald’s as in its five largest markets – the US, UK, France, Germany and Canada – nearly 75% of the population live within three miles of one of its restaurants.

The filing adds: “Because of our extraordinary footprint, McDonald’s is uniquely positioned to become the global leader in delivery.”

READ MORE: McDonald’s Will Soon Offer Delivery

PayPal accused of not honouring charity donations

A federal class-action lawsuit against PayPal has claimed that although it is encouraging charitable donations on its platform, the funds that are donated do not always reach the intended source.

It suggests money earmarked for specific charities through PayPal’s Giving Fund service is often redirected to completely different causes. This only happens when the charity it was meant for doesn’t have a PayPal account.

The lawsuit says smaller, local charities that aren’t PayPal-savvy are losing out majorly on donations. It claims that if a charity doesn’t set up an account within six months of receiving a donation, the funds will nearly always be redirected elsewhere.

However, PayPal has hit back at the allegations: “We are fully prepared to defend ourselves in this matter.”

READ MORE: PayPal tells users to donate, then allegedly sends money to the wrong charities

Chevrolet offers 4G data plan to its drivers

In a bid to rival mobile phone operators, car maker Chevrolet has announced it will offer 4G mobile plans for drivers to use inside its cars.

The plan, which is available from 3 March and will cost $20 a month for Americans, will give subscribers access to a prepaid OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, which will be enabled by AT&T and allow unlimited data on its car’s iPad-style interface while driving.

The car giant says the move is an ‘industry first’ and is due to Wi-Fi use in its cars rising by 200% last year, with customers using a whopping four million gigabytes of data.

READ MORE: Chevrolet is the first big car maker to offer an unlimited data plan

Wednesday, 1 March

Uber CEO seeks leadership help

Uber boss Travis Kalanick has admitted he needs leadership help, after Bloomberg published a video of him arguing with one of his driver.

The video shows him sitting in the back seat of a car having a heated conversation with an Uber driver who claims he has gone “bankrupt” working for the company.

In an email and blog post to staff following the incident, Kalanick said he “must fundamentally change as a leader and grow up”. He added: “This is the first time I’ve been willing to admit that I need leadership help and I intend to get it.”

READ MORE: A profound apology

Dyson to invest £2.5bn in future tech

Dyson is building a giant new facility in the UK, which founder James Dyson has called “a global hub for our research and development endeavours”.

The business plans to invest £2.5bn in explore future technologies such as artificial intelligence and robotics. It currently spends £7m a week on research and development.

Dyson has said the firm’s expansion plans have not been affected by the UK’s decision to leave the EU. He said: “As a company, you do what you do, you invest in your future and you carry on doing it. Brexit’s got nothing to do with it.”

As part of the expansion Dyson will look to double its workforce, hiring an additional £3,500 staff over the next few years.

READ MORE: Dyson to open second tech campus in Hullavington

Rolex tops reputation index


Rolex has claimed the top spot in the Reputation Institute’s annual global ranking for 2017.

The brand is joined by Lego and Disney, which take second and third places respectively, followed by Canon in fourth and Google in fifth.

Other than Intel, which returns to the top 10 in eighth place after dropping out in 2016, tech brands have taken a bit of a knock. Google may be fifth but it has fallen two spots and Microsoft leaves the top 10 in 2017 after coming 11th.

Apple’s reputation has also taken a hit this year pushing the brand back 10 places to 20th. It is Samsung, however, that sees the most severe decline having fallen all the way back to 70th following a difficult year for the brand.

Both BMW Group (12th) and Daimler (27th), which owns Mercedes-Benz, drop out of three top 10.

The RepTrak ranking is based on the public’s perception of the world’s top companies measured on seven areas including products and services, innovation, leadership and performance.

L’Oréal to launch eBay store

L’Oréal is set to launch a store for its L’Oréal Men Expert range on eBay as part of its plan to reach one billion customers online by 2020. If successful the beauty business could roll out other brands on the site.

The online store will sell 50 products from the Men Expert skincare brand, including deodorants, moisturisers and shower gels, with products available with free shipping for most UK based customers.

Nikki Akers, ecommerce director at L’Oréal, says: “As a key strategic part of our global ambition to reach one billion online consumers by 2020, partnering with Trojan and eBay is a natural fit. The new eBay store will ensure that customers can buy our products with ease through PayPal and guaranteed assurance that they are of the highest quality and performance, this is something that is very important to us.

“The store will launch first with L’Oréal Paris Men Expert, moving forward opportunities will be explored for launching more L’Oréal brands on eBay.”

This is the first time products sourced directly from L’Oreal will be on sale on eBay. Products will be sold via the online store on ebay in the UK, as well as through the soon to launch grooming section of the eBay e-commerce site.

Snapchat will price IPO today


Snap Inc, the owner of Snapchat, will price its initial public offering when the US stock market closes this evening (1 March) with its 200 millions shares to be priced between $14 to $16.

The messaging app is targeting a valuation of between $19.5bn and $22.3bn when it lists on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday, and aims to raise $3bn through the sale.

It is the highest valuation of a US tech IPO since Facebook in 2012 and the most eagerly awaited since Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba went public in 2014.

Meanwhile, Snap is also said to be developing a drone, according to reports in the New York Times, allowing users to take overhead videos and photographs, feeding visual data to the company.

READ MORE: Snap to price long-awaited IPO on Wednesday amid signs of brisk demand

Tuesday, 28 February

Starbucks makes first foray into Italy

Starbucks has long wanted to open a café in Italy but has until now failed to acheive that goal. However, it has now struck a deal to open its premium format ‘Starbucks Roastery’ in Milan, within walking distance of the famous Duomo.

The Italian venture is its first Roastery in Europe and fifth globally. It plans to open between 20 and 30 of the premium cafés worlwide.

READ MORE: Starbucks set to do Italian job in Milan (£)

Waterstones criticised over unbranded stores

Waterstones has been criticised for opening three unbranded bookstores in small English villages. Instead of featuring its brand, they have names such as ‘Southwold Books’, which critics claim give them the appearance of an independent store.

Yet CEO James Daunt has defended the move. He tells the Today programme: “If you wish to enhance the high street you need to act as an independent.”

The move comes after Waterstones has turned around its business by giving local shops control and listening to customers over what to stock.

READ MORE: Waterstones boss defends unbranded branches

PwC brand hit after Oscars debacle

PwC has had a difficult 24 hours after it was found to be behind the debacle at the Oscars when La La Land was named as the winner of the ‘Best Picture’ Award when it should have gone to Moonlight. The accountancy firm is responsible for counting the votes and two of its staff are the only people who know what or who has won each category. However, its system failed on Sunday (26 February) night when Warren Beaty and Faye Dunaway were given the spare ”Best Actress” envelope by mistake.

PwC has “sincerely apologised” for the error, which overshadowed the historic win by Moonlight. Yet branding experts believe that while the very public failure may impact its brand in the short term, it won’t harm its business.

READ MORE: The Oscars fail is not a good look for the accounting firm responsible as tax season approaches

Samsung’s boss to be charged with bribery and embezzlement

Samsung Group chief Jay Y. Lee and four other executives from the South Korean tech firm are to be charged with bribery and embezzlement. Lee was arrested last week (17 February) over his alleged role in the corruption scandal involving South Korea’s President Park Geun-hye.

She is accussed of colluding with friend Choi Soon-sil to extort money from big businesses, including Samsung. The political scandal has rocked the county and, if the impeachment is upheld, would mark the first time a democratically elected leader has been thrown out of office in South Korea.

“The five [Samsung] executives will face charges including bribery, embezzlement and hiding assets overseas,” says Lee Kyu-chul, a spokesman for the special prosecutor.

READ MORE: Samsung Group chief to be charged with bribery, embezzlement amid scandal

Uber fires top executive over undisclosed sexual harrassment allegations

Uber SVP of engineering Amit Singhal has been asked to resign becuase he did not tell the company that he left Google a year earlier due to allegations of sexual harrassment that an internal investigation found to be “credible”. According to a report in Recode, Uber says it did extensive background checks; Singhal disputed the allegations at the time and continues to do so, although he acknowledges the dispute with Google.

The revelation comes amid wider troubles at Uber. It has been under scrutiny after a former female engineer wrote a blog post where she alleged sexism and sexual harrassment, as well as issues with HR and management.

While Singhal’s dispute is not related, Uber’s CEO deemed his position untenable

READ MORE: Uber’s SVP of engineering is out after he did not disclose he left Google in a dispute over a sexual harassment allegation

Monday, 27 February


Motorola stages a comeback

Motorola Mobility, which was bought by computer business Lenovo in 2015, has launched its fifth generation Moto G smartphones at Mobile World Congress (MWC) as it looks to re-establish itself as a top player in the mobile market.

It also confirmed it will be partnering with Amazon to bring Alexa voice technology to its phones in 2017.

Talking at a press conference at MWC, Motorola’s vice-president and global product lead, Dan Dery, said: “Later this year will see deep integration of Alexa on Motorola smartphones with Alexa wake-up words. There won’t be any keys to press, no screen to unlock — you will simply talk to Alexa when the device is around.”

The new Moto G range has been designed with a focus on battery life, camera quality and sleek design, which were revealed as the most important aspects for consumers, according to the brand’s survey of 12,000 adults across nine countries.

Motorola claims the battery of the Moto G5 will last all day, with the 10W charger providing hours of power in minutes. The Moto G5 Plus, meanwhile, is fully charged in just 15 minutes giving users up to six hours of battery life.

The brand’s Global Mobile Value Index research also revealed 76% of people will pay more for a phone with a long-lasting battery, while 66% would be happy to pay more for a good quality camera. Nearly half (48%) prefer smartphones made of metal, and 50% want their phone to deliver “outstanding” photos.

READ MORE: Motorola picks Amazon’s Alexa as its voice assistant

Lidl ramps up UK exports

Lidl has increased the volume of British goods it exports from the UK, taking advantage of the weaker pound post-Brexit.

The discount retailer has reportedly exported £300m worth of British goods, including cheese from the West Country as well as chutney and Scotch whisky to its stores across Europe.

Quoting “top company sources”, The Telegraph reveals 70% of Lidl’s produce comes from the UK meaning it is in a far better position to protect its business following Brexit, despite retail analysts suggesting it would be stung by rising import costs as a result of the weaker pound.

Lidl launched its ‘Big on quality, Lidl on price’ campaign at the beginning of the year, featuring products such as its Valley Spire cheddar cheese which it directly compares with leading brand Cathedral City.

READ MORE: Lidl boost for UK produce in Europe

Morrisons launches first womenswear range

Morrisons has extended its children’s clothing range Nutmeg to include items for women for the first time.

The supermarket chain will initially roll out the line to 50 stores across the UK. It will offer clothes including jeans and jackets in sizes ranging from 8 to 22 with prices starting from £3.

Christine Bryce, category director of clothing at Morrisons, says the business launched the collection after “listening to our customers” who said they wanted “affordable, quality clothing with real attention to detail”.

Its ‘big four’ supermarket rivals all already sell adult clothing, as do Aldi and Lidl.

READ MORE: Morrisons launches first womenswear collection

PlayStation on track to sell 1 million VR headsets

PlayStation VR

Sony has sold nearly 1 million PlayStation VR headsets in the first four months since it went on sale, meaning the brand is ahead of its internal target of selling that number by mid-April, according to an interview in the New York Times.

The business had hoped to hit the 1-million mark within the first six months but it had sold 915,000 headsets by 19 February and so is on track to surpass that figure sooner.

Facebook and HTC – Sony’s main competitor in the VR headsets market – have not disclosed sales of their devices, although data from SuperData Research estimates Facebook had sold 243,000 Oculus Rift devices and HTC had sold 420,000 Vive headsets by the end of last year.

Describing scenes in Japan, Andrew House, global CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment, the video game division of the Japanese electronics giant, says: “You literally have people lining up outside stores when they know stock is being replenished.”

Isabelle Tomatis, brand and hardware marketing director for Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, told Marketing Week previously that VR will be a game changer. She said: “That level of immersion and intensity VR offers stretches beyond gaming and right into marketing.”

READ MORE: Popularity of Sony’s PlayStation VR surprises even the company

Government will put pressure on tech giants to tackle cyberbullying

Children and young people are at the centre of a government drive to improve online safety. As part of the move, ministers will summon Facebook, Twitter and Apple, among others, to Whitehall to demand they develop new technological solutions like those used to prevent paedophiles and terrorists.

A report in The Times suggests that if social media and tech companies don’t do more to prevent cyber bullying, sexting and trolling they will face sanctions.

More than one in 10 children (13%) aged between 11 and 16 have taken a topless selfie, according to a study for the NSPCC and the children’s commissioner, and parents’ fears about sexting have now overtaken that of drinking and drug-taking. More than a 10th of young people also reported they had been victims of cyberbullying.

Firms including Hello Soda have taken steps to try and tackle the issue of cyberbullying. It created the Online Them monitoring tool to enable parents – with their child’s consent – to use social media data to see who their children are talking to. The app uses advanced text analytics and artificial intelligence to identify high-risk language, indicators of cyberbullying and adult content, and alert parents when children start interacting with a new account.

READ MORE: Tech giants must tackle cyberbullies or face curbs (£)