Pepsi, Kellogg’s, L’Oréal: 5 things that mattered this week and why

Catch up on all the most important marketing news this week including Pepsi promoting a former marketer to CEO, more clarification around junk food ad rules and L’Oréal’s focus on augmented reality to drive ecommerce sales.


Pepsi brings in a new CEO as it looks for new ways to grow

After 12 years in the top job at PepsiCo, CEO Indra Nooyi is to step down at the start of October, handing the reins over to president and former marketer Ramon Laguarta.

Nooyi was the first woman and first foreign-born boss of Pepsi, as well as being one of very few female leaders of Fortune 500 companies. Her time at the helm as widely been seen as a success, with Nooyi pivotal in prioritising sustainability and launching its ‘Performance with Purpose’ programme that focused on healthier products, cutting its environmental footprint and investing more in its communities.

She also moved Pepsi away from its reliance on carbonate drinks – acquiring Tropicana and merging with Quaker Oats.

However, the market is facing mounting challenges caused by shifts in consumer tastes and greater competition as nimble startups enter the market. And CEO turnover at FMCGs is on the up as the last generation of leaders run out of ways to grow through consolidation and expanding in emerging markets.

FMCGs are now looking for new skills in the boardroom from CEOs and CMOs. Expect a shake-up at Pepsi across the c-suite as it looks for new ways to grow.

READ MORE: PepsiCo gets a new CEO as Indra Nooyi steps down

L’Oréal looks to AR to boost ecommerce sales

One FMCG firm looking firmly to the future is L’Oréal. Now in the second stage of its digital transformation, it is putting the focus on new technology such as augmented reality to boost sales, both offline and online.

Some have missed new tech as a gimmick or distraction, but L’Oréal sees its online ‘try before you buy’ service as key to future growth. And so it has partnered with Facebook, giving it the reach it needs on a platform where the tech is already in place.

L’Oréal’s chief digital officer Lubomira Rochet is keen for AR to form a key part of its strategy. And so while it will help position its brands as “fun” and “entertaining”, the main KPI is conversion. At the end of the day, if its AR tools don’t drive sales they aren’t doing their job and won’t be the worth the investment.

READ MORE: L’Oréal looks to drive up ecommerce sales in AR partnership with Facebook

KFC and Kellogg’s in trouble for advertising junk food to children

Kellogg's Coca Pops Granola

As issues around junk food and childhood obesity continue to dominate headlines, the UK ad regulator has made an example of two big brands this week for breaching guidelines around advertising products that are high in fat, salt and sugar (HFSS) to children.

The first was KFC, which got in trouble for putting a Mars Krushems poster ad on a phone box next to a primary school. But KFC was quick to admit it was a mistake – a result of “human error” – and removed it right away. Case closed.

The second case is slightly more complicated and involves a Kellogg’s TV ad for Coco Pops Granola. While this particular cereal isn’t actually considered a HFSS product, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said the use of Coco the Monkey would likely cause association with the original Coco Pops cereal, which didn’t meet nutritional guidelines when the ad was first broadcast in January.

Coco Pops original has reduced its sugar content to meet HFSS guidelines now, but because it didn’t at the beginning of the year, the Granola ad has to be banned. What this particular case shows is that brands are going to have to think much more carefully about creative and branding in future – especially when it comes to advertising to children.

Meanwhile, McDonald’s managed to escape a ban on two counts: one for a video-on-demand Happy Meal ad and another for a bus ticket promotion.

Because the Happy Meal advert promoted the option to have fruit and water as part of the deal, alongside a portion of McNuggets, none of the items were actually considered to be junk food.

The bus ticket promotion, meanwhile, was ruled to not be specifically directed at children, with further data showing that the proportion of under 16s likely to see the promo was lower than current guidelines.

READ MORE: KFC and Kellogg’s ads banned for promoting junk food to children

Virgin Holidays preps a new marketing strategy

Virgin Holidays 1

Virgin Holidays is getting ready to unveil a shift in marketing strategy under its new marketing boss Amber Kirby.

Kirby, who joined from Boots just four months ago, believes there is more the brand can do to show its perspective on the world. She admits that with mounting competition it moved to focusing too much on value rather than its position.

That will change when it launches its new campaign in September. It will also be the first time it has run a campaign alongside sister brand Virgin Atlantic.

The changes also go beyond marketing. Virgin Holidays is looking at services such as a warning system for LGBT+ travellers to let them know countries where there might be more risk. And offering one-parent families better deals.

“We should be inspiring and helping you choose the right holiday for you, and also helping you understand how you can access it. Whether you are a single parent, someone with a disability who needs a little bit of extra help on resort, we should be there to help you out,” she explains.

READ MORE: How Virgin Holidays is going beyond bookings to ‘inspire change’

Thierry Henry joins Renault to bring back ‘va va voom’

Renault and Thierry Henry

Renault is looking to inject some ‘va va voom’ back into the brand with the resigning of former French footballer Thierry Henry, who is going to star in a new series of TV idents as part of Renault’s Premier League sponsorship on Sky Sports.

The spots will be broadcast during or around 96 live matches and non-live programming, with Henry following the journey of Premier League fans as they experience the highs and lows throughout the season (while showcasing several Renault cars, of course).

Henry is no stranger to Renault; he first starred in those memorable ‘va va voom’ ads back in 2002. However, the car brand’s reputation and positioning in the market has arguably suffered since then, with sales down -15% year-on-year in July, while YouGov’s Brand Index ranks it as the 28th most popular car brand out of 38.

So perhaps Henry – a nod to Renault’s French roots – is what Renault needs to boost perceptions of the brand and make its market positioning a little clearer.

However, while Renault was once seen as very much a French brand, the manufacturer has since declared its mission to take more of a global stage. So it will be interesting to see how the brand develops its strategy and messaging going forward and to what extent it will distance itself from its once very intrinsic ‘Frenchness’.

READ MORE: Renault brings back Thierry Henry to reignite ‘va va voom’



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