MoneySuperMarket, PepsiCo, Unilever: 5 things that mattered this week and why

Catch up on all the week’s marketing news including the launch of Drinkfinity, Unilever’s restructure and the ad industry taking on sexual harassment.

PepsiCo takes a startup mentality with first ecommerce brand Drinkfinity

PepsiCo has spoken for some time about its desire to increase ecommerce revenues, and while there is an opportunity to drive online sales from its current stable of brands, the company also see an opening for new brands that only operate in this space.

Drinkfinity is one of those brands. Originally launched in Brazil, it is now coming to the market in the US and Europe, including the UK. It is a healthy squash-like drink that comes in the form of plastic ‘pods’ that are adding to water. It includes flavours such as Blackberry Acai Charge, White Peach Chill, and Pineapple and Coconut Water. Consumers can only buy the pods, along with a reusable bottle described as a ‘vessel’, on the website.

As a direct-to-consumer play, the first for PepsiCo in the UK, it’s an interesting move. The development of the brand is also worth exploring. Designed to mirror how a startup operates, the team behind the brand were kept entirely independent from the rest of the company, working in a separate office and using separate manufacturers. Even the launch and marketing mark a clear distinction, with no mention of PepsiCo on its packaging or website, or its comms.

PepsiCo is one of a growing number of brands looking at how to structure innovation teams and considering whether they are better inside or outside the normal organisational set-up. Here, PepsiCo sees an advantage in letting Drinkfinity test and learn. But hopefully it will be sharing those learnings with the rest of the business.

READ MORE: PepsiCo on the launch of its first ecommerce-only brand Drinkfinity

Unilever’s restructure aims to make use of both scale and agility

Hidden amid the headlines that Unilever has opted for Rotterdam over London for its new headquarters was the news that its wider business (and marketing teams) have been given a bit of a restructure too. Unilever will now be made up of three divisions – beauty and personal care, home care, and food and refreshment – with their own mandate on marketing including budgets.

The current ‘country category business teams’ will remain in place but now report into the separate divisions with the hope this will offer more agility and connection to key consumers and markets. And they won’t be losing out on the scale the wider Unilever organisation offers either, with easy access to central functions such as procurement and its in-house content studio U-Studios.

Unilever has been doing a lot of soul searching since the takeover attempt by Kraft Heinz a year ago. A move to be more agile while also still making use of its scale makes sense. And while in reality little will change on the ground for its marketing teams, this restructure should help Unilever and its brands better focus on consumers and new trends, making it better able to compete in an increasingly competitive world.

READ MORE: Unilever hands responsibility for marketing to new category divisions in shake-up

MoneySuperMarket to give marketing a seat at the top table


MoneySuperMarket is in the process of hiring its first chief customer officer, who will sit on the executive board, in a move that makes clear marketing’s strategic importance across the business. The move comes as the brand looks to shake up its strategy having ditched Mother, which made the company’s ads famous with spots such as ‘Epic Strut’.

The issue? MoneySuperMarket thinks the ads are more famous than the brand and says that needs to change.

“Last summer we completed a big strategic review and we have a new CEO and this is very much about how we define the next stage of growth for our business. We want to help make it easier for customers to save money and we have to disrupt ourselves and the category to do that,” says marketing director Darren Bentley.

“One thing we absolutely have done is get our ads into the psyche of the UK population. Whether you love them or you hate them, everyone recognises them. The challenge we have is that the ads are more famous than the brand. In a category where customers might only use us once every 12 to 18 months, that is hard to get over.”

Whoever takes the CCO role and whichever agency comes in, they’ll have a hard time living up to Mother’s creative talents. And in a market where salience is all important, MoneySuperMarket will still need to shout about its brand to make sure it stays top of mind.

READ MORE: MoneySuperMarket – We need our brand to be more famous than our ads

McDonald’s on why marketing is about taking risks

Everyone in the marketing industry remembers the McDonald’s ad fail last year, where it was forced to pull its ‘dead dad’ TV spot after accusations it made light of bereavement. But were the fingers of recrimination pointed afterwards? UK CEO Paul Pomroy says not.

Speaking at an event held by Oystercatchers, Pomroy said he was very clear that no one should lose their jobs, either at the brand or the agency. And he acknowledged that when taking creative risks there is a chance things can go wrong, but that doesn’t undo years of good work.

“You have to look at it all – the people who worked on that quarter also worked on the other 48 quarters,” he said. McDonald’s in the UK has posted 49 consecutive quarters of growth in the UK and been at the forefront of innovations for the brand including mobile ordering and delivery service.

It’s refreshing to hear a CEO say he understands the risks and rewards of standing out creatively. Hopefully more will follow his lead.

READ MORE: McDonald’s doesn’t want marketers to stop being brave despite the ‘dead dad’ ad fail

UK ad industry aims to stamp out sexual harassment

Time to

The global wake-up call to sexism and sexual harassment over the last year has prompted ad land to launch its own movement in an ambitious drive to stamp out sexual harassment from the industry entirely.

The Advertising Association, NABS and WACL unveiled ‘timeTo’ – an all-inclusive, non-naming-and-shaming initiative aimed at all sexualities and genders working at agencies, media owners and marketing businesses in the UK.

It will begin with an industry-wide, anonymous online survey to act as a benchmark and gauge the current level of sexual harassment across the industry. From that, it will roll out a best-practice code of behaviou’ to all participating companies.

Stephen Woodford, CEO of the AA, said as the UK media industry goes through a “critical reset” in terms of behaviour change, a movement like this is imperative to help ensure it continues to be an economic and social force for good in the years ahead.

It is hoping to effect longer term, culture change through training programmes for both joiners and existing advertising and marketing personnel – and other forms of communication over the next 12 months.

READ MORE: Ad industry comes together to tackle sexual harassment



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