Pepsi, Cadbury, RBS: 5 things that mattered this week and why

From the end of Cadbury and the National Trust’s tie-up, to Greggs’s new loyalty programme and RBS’s decision to scrap the CMO role, catch up on all this week’s major marketing news.

Cadbury and National Trust cut chocolatey ties

Cadbury and the National Trust have decided to end their £7m annual partnership that has, for 13 years, seen the chocolate-maker host Easter egg hunts at National Trust properties across the UK.

Cadbury says it is part of a strategic review into its marketing activities, while the National Trust says it wants to make “chocolate less of a focus” in future.

The charity has also come under increasing pressure in recent years to end the tie-up due to claims Cadbury uses unsustainable palm oil in its products, with 5.5 million of its members saying they want the Trust to switch to a “sustainable and ethical” alternative to Cadbury.

“It is time for change as we look to increase out emphasis on nature and the outdoors,” the National Trust says, and ending the partnership with Cadbury certainly suggests the charity is thinking carefully about where it gets its money from.

It is another example of a growing list of member-led brands that are clearly thinking about the ethics of their partnerships and what their members want.

The Royal Shakespeare Company cut ties with BP at the end of 2019 following growing criticism over its links with the oil firm, while the National Theatre ended its association with Shell.

It will be interesting to see which brand the National Trust chooses to partner with in future for less-chocolate-focused Easter activities.

Fortunately for Cadbury, Easter has always been about chocolate so it probably won’t feel much impact from the sponsorship’s end. Perhaps it will look closer into its supply chain if it needs to.

READ MORE: Cadbury and the National Trust end 13-year Easter egg hunt deal

Pepsi’s focus on the ‘big, simple ideas’

PepsiCo made a return to big brand campaigns last year when it launched Pepsi’s ‘For the Love of it’ brand positioning. And now it is looking to carry that approach into other areas of its marketing.

The latest is for Pepsi Max’s sponsorship of the UEFA Champions League. The campaign, created by AMV BBDO, features footballers Paul Pogba, Raheem Sterling, Lionel Messi and Mohamed Salah using their skills to battle it out for the last can of the fizzy drink.

Under the tagline ‘Play Never Stops’, it will run in more than 80 countries across outdoor and social media.

The focus on simple brand ideas is one advocated by PepsiCo’s senior marketing director, global, Michael Walford. “I am a subscriber to big, global, simple insights that lead to clear, big brand ideas,” he says.

It’s an outlook that brands are increasingly reverting back to as the industry realises it has been too focused on short-term tactics at the expense of long-term brand building. But finding those simple ideas is not as easy as it sounds!

READ MORE: Pepsi on why big, simple brand ideas are usually the best

RBS to scrap the CMO role

RBSDavid Wheldon was always going to a hard act to follow at RBS. He was the first board-level marketer at the banking group and joined when it was still in the midst of recovery from the banking crisis and government bailout.

The huge amount of brand work that needed doing meant having a CMO with board-level accountability was going to be key to the turnaround. As was having a big name with the experience required to undertake the job.

But with that turnaround down and RBS looking to the future with a name change to Natwest Group, its marketing requirements have also shifted.

That means that rather than having one CMO, Wheldon’s old responsiblities will be split between two roles. RBS has already appointed the first of those, hiring Aviva’s Nigel Prideaux as group director of communications and corporate affairs.

Prideaux will report into new CEO Alison Rose and sit on the board. RBS is now hunting for a marketing director, a job title that suggests a demotion of marketing from its previous board-level status.

The turnaround at RBS has been stark, with the company returning to profitability and paying dividends to shareholders. That is in no small part due to the work of Wheldon and his team, and their focus on the consumer-facing brands like Natwest and Royal Bank of Scotland.

But there is still much work to do. The legacy of the banking crisis can still be seen in consumer perceptions of its banking brands. And there are many that still need to be convinced the name change to Natwest Group is anything more than a badging exercise.

Marketing will still be key. Hopefully Natwest Group knows that.

READ MORE: RBS confirms plans to scrap CMO role

Adidas turns to non-league football to up its narrative game

Adidas Stonewall FCIt’s long been a bugbear among both fans and the media that football’s top stars tend to be PR-ed to within an inch of their lives, seemingly incapable of saying anything without it sounding overly guarded or constructed.

However, way from the game’s top tier, in the lower and amateur leagues, there are hundreds of stories waiting to be told, perfect for brands looking to finding authentic human interest narratives on and off the pitch.

It’s something that Adidas have tapped into, developing and deepening it relationship with LGBTQI+ non-league team Stonewall FC, as the club looks to highlight and combat homophobia at all levels of the game, from the grassroots up (it’s also hoping to get one over on Cricklewood Wanderers).

With non-league teams increasingly establishing strong identities and voices on social media, brands should be looking to the lower, rather than the higher, reaches of the beautiful game to find more engaging narratives.

READ MORE: Adidas’s partnership with Stonewall FC could be a game changer

Greggs VIP membership is a big swanky tease

Greggs VIP cardIt seems Greggs has quite a starry fanbase. So much so that the high street favourite has just launched a new VIP service for a select number of its celeb consumers.

The first beneficiary is BRIT-winning grime singer Stormzy, who revealed his sleek looking membership card (and size 12 Greggs slippers) to the world via his Instagram account this week.

Greggs are apparently determined to keep the various privileges of membership (which include being able to order whatever you want, whenever you want) available exclusively to VIPs and strictly by invite only.

But as a promotional tool, the idea of that lovely swanky personalised black-and-silver membership card nestling in a purse or wallet takes some beating. Even if it is just tantalisingly out of reach for us mere mortals.

READ MORE: Greggs, Victoria’s Secret, Amazon: Everything that matters this morning

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