Sky, Morrisons, Selfridges: 5 things that mattered this week and why

With Morrisons chasing digital growth and Selfridges launching its Project Earth sustainability campaign, catch up on all the biggest marketing news from the week gone by.

Morrisons food boxMorrisons chases growth as digital focus ramps up

After stealing a march on its ‘big four’ rivals during lockdown, Morrisons is pushing for growth in a bid to become a “broader, stronger business” that can offer value to customers as recession looms.

The supermarket spent £31m on marketing and advertising in the 26 weeks to 2 August, communicating its ‘Feeding the Nation’ promise and more recently a raft of price cuts on more than 400 ‘essential products’.

Crucially, over the past six months Morrisons has ramped up its online delivery capacity, which has increased fivefold via Morrisons.com, the launch of food boxes and a doorstep delivery service, as well as tie-ups with Amazon and Deliveroo.

The supermarket has also opened a Deliveroo ‘dark kitchen’ at its new look Market Kitchen store at Manchester Piccadilly Station. Delivering fresh food direct from the store, one or two more dark kitchens are set to be introduced before the financial year end.

To help fuel this switch to online, grocer has recruited more than 45,000 new and temporary staff since the start of lockdown. The current headcount has swelled to 122,361 with an additional 26,000 employees, at least half of whom are permanent staff. The supermarket has, however, cut 3,000 managerial roles and added 7,000 customer facing roles in a bid to bolster the in-store customer experience.

In addition to this, Morrisons is pioneering a new way of working at its Bradford headquarters. The office is now open six days a week and staff have moved to a four-day work pattern with “fewer bigger roles and more home working”. Employees are now required to work four days a week and every fourth week they work on a Saturday until around 2pm to help limit the number of people on site at any one time.

Despite the furious pace of change during lockdown, CEO David Potts is confident that Morrisons will continue to innovate as we move into the Covid-19 recovery phase. He is similarly bullish about the supermarket’s ability to differentiate itself amid a price war through its British supply chain, friendly customer service and online innovation. Only time will tell whether Morrisons has placed the right bets for future success.

READ MORE: Morrisons targets ‘new future’ in bid to become ‘more relevant’ post-lockdown

Ad industry tackles its carbon footprint

Sky and Unilever have joined forces with the Ad Association on a new initiative designed to eliminate the negative environmental impact of advertising production.

From 2021 AdGreen will provide tools, services and expertise to the UK ad production community, enabling all advertising professionals to improve the way campaign assets are produced for a better climate future.

The initiative has two clear aims. The first is to measure the carbon footprint of ad production, while the second is to empower the industry to reduce emissions and push for a zero carbon, zero waste future.

It’s a great step from the industry, but while Sky and Unilever are backing the initiative there is still a notable lack of brands taking part. It will take more brands getting involved for the industry to show it is serious about reducing its carbon footprint in the long-term.

READ MORE: Sky and Unilever unite with ad industry to tackle climate change

PHE shines the spotlight on young peoples’ mental wellbeing

This week Public Health England went live with its first mental health campaign targeted at children, young people and their families.

The ‘Better Health – Every Mind Matters’ campaign is designed as a response to the rising loneliness and stress being felt by children as a result of the Covid-19 crisis. Research from children’s charity Barnardo’s reveals 41% of children and young people say they are lonelier than before lockdown, while 38% feel more worried, sad (37%) and stressed (34%).

The multi-media campaign features creative targeted specifically at parents and carers of children aged 5-13 and young people aged 13-18. Teen-targeted activity includes influencer-led social media and partnerships with 4Studios and Snapchat, offering tips and tools for looking after their mental wellbeing. A short film has also been released featuring celebrity parents such as Davina McCall, Marvin Humes and Katie Piper.

The hope is that the NHS-endorsed advice will help parents and carers spot the signs children may be struggling with their mental health, as well as enable young people to build resilience.

This is the latest work from PHE, which has had a busy summer with the release of the £10m ‘Better Health’ nationwide campaign in July aimed at tackling obesity. Speaking at the time, outgoing marketing director Sheila Mitchell described the campaign, PHE’s biggest in more than a decade, as a “reset moment” in the UK around health.

Maynard Bassetts builds brand love

Whether it’s wine gums or jelly babies, Maynard Bassetts sells a host of iconic sweets. That being said, its also the victim of lots of copycats. Any supermarket store will have it’s own brand alternatives and this, along with four years of no brand communications, meant the company has lost touch with consumers.

However, it’s determined to change this by reviving its 1990s ‘set the juice loose’ catchphrase. Maynard Bassetts is hoping it can rebuild brand affinity and ensure its products become top of mind with consumers.

It is also hoping that the new campaign will build awareness of the brand itself, rather than just its products, to help as it sets out its innovation pipeline.

It’s a smart move from the sweets company, played at the right time as coronavirus has meant consumers are craving brands they trust. Maynard Bassetts can capitalise on this consumer behaviour by reviving its famous tagline to create a brand that lasts. It rightly acknowledges that it has a long way to go, but by playing the longer game around brand building the company is far more likely to win.

READ MORE: Maynard Bassetts revives ‘set the juice loose’ to ‘breathe new life’ into the brand

Selfridges launches Project Earth campaign

Selfridges Project Earth posterDepartment store group Selfridges has reinforced its environmental commitments with the launch of its latest initiative, Project Earth.

Described as a transformational sustainability initiative, Project Earth builds on steps taken by Selfridges over the last decade and aims to shape the company’s approach to business over the next five years. It will see Selfridges put “sustainability, people and planet” at the heart of its activites.

The commitment to sustainability is reflected in creative and materials used for an out-of-home campaign, which was developed in-house to highlight the launch. Window display props for Project Earth will be reused for later campaigns.

The ads ask a series of questions to reflect the thoughts and concerns of the public during the current pandemic, using bold typography and open language. Bright window displays will use visual merchandising techniques to repeat the message.

The planned launch date was delayed due to lockdown, but since then “the interconnection between people and planet has been propelled to the forefront of public consciousness”, according to Selfridges director of creative direction, Sarah McCullough.

Selfridges is looking to demonstrate leadership and put sustainability at the top of the retail agenda at a time when the climate crisis is big news among consumers. The trick for the department store chain will be maintaining this focus in the run up to Christmas and beyond.

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