Tesco, Pepsi, Ikea: 5 things that mattered this week and why

From the TV ad market going into ‘recession’ to Facebook bringing ads to Messenger, catch up on all the news in the marketing world this week.


Tesco’s digital Clubcard fails to materialise

Back in 2014, Tesco unveiled grand plans for a digital Clubcard that would shake up the loyalty sector by offering tailored, gamification-style rewards. Yet fast forward three years and those plans are still nowhere to be seen. Its latest, underwhelming, update to Clubcard is to make the card contactless. It’s a nice bit of tech that will speed up checkout but it’s hardly groundbreaking.

In some ways it’s not a surprise the digital Clubcard has been put on the backburner. Then CEO Philip Clarke left not along after announcing the plan three years ago, and with recovery needed after the accounting scandal and threat from the discounters, the new management’s focus has been on other areas.

But Tesco should not rest on its laurels when it comes to Clubcard. The loyalty scheme was what gave it the edge back in the 1990s but it has been usurped by more recent loyalty programmes – think Marks & Spencers’ Sparks and Harvey Nichols’ Rewards app. Consumers now are looking for more than just points from loyalty schemes. Tesco would do well to remember that if, or should that be when, Clubcard gets a more transformative update.

READ MORE: What happened to Tesco’s big plans for a digital Clubcard?

The TV ad market is ‘in recession’

The TV ad market has been pretty robust over the past few years despite wider economic issues and all the digital players seemingly trying to steal its budget. But now it is facing a “recession”, in the words of Channel 4’s sales director Jonathan Allan, as big brands cut budgets.

That in these “strained” times big brands would pull money out of TV seems counterintuitive. It remains one of the most effective ad mediums, particularly for big brand campaigns, and millions of people still spend hours every day watching TV, despite the almost daily proclamations of the ‘death of TV’.

But that also doesn’t mean the TV industry couldn’t do with a shift in emphasis. Facebook, Google et al having been getting more and more aggressive in going after big advertisers’ budgets and TV needs to really fight back. It is no longer a level playing field so any industry that wants to be heard needs to fight a little dirty and take advantage of competitors’ weaknesses. That is just what Channel 4 plans to do.

“We will be investing a lot of money in communicating the value of broadcast advertising effectiveness, in both video online, VoD and traditional TV, versus the less secure environment on YouTube and Facebook,” says Allan.

READ MORE: Channel 4 admits TV ad market is in recession as big brands pull back

Pepsi’s ecommerce ambitions

Ecommerce has always been a tricky one for FMCG brands. Their relationship with retailers is key to sales and so selling directly to consumers is somewhat counterintuitive, as well as being a risk to those same relationships.

There are infinite possibilities to create impulse buying through technologies online.

Indra Nooyi, Pepsi

But more and more FMCG brands are looking at their own ecommerce offerings. Procter & Gamble has its own online subscription service for Gillette, while Unilever launched an ecommerce site for Maille mustard. And Pepsi’s CEO Indra Nooyi says it also sees an opportunity to be more innovative in ecommerce, with its own online grocery stores on the cards.

“We want to make sure our snacks are more deliverable, not just through click-and-collect. We want to look at the cold delivery of beverages to support the exploding growth of ecommerce,” she explains. “There are infinite possibilities to create impulse buying through technologies online.”

READ MORE: Pepsi sees ‘infinite possibilities’ in ecommerce

The benefits of long-term agency relationships


Brands look to be increasingly chopping and changing their advertising and the appointment of every new CMO or marketing director seems to herald a pitch and, more often that not, a change in agency. So it’s refreshing to hear Ikea’s UK marketing boss Laurent Tiersen talk up the power of its long-term “collaboration” with Mother London.

He compares its relationship with its agencies to the ones it has with its supplier and furniture designers. “If we work with a designer we also work with the supplier to find the right set up to make sure their product is ethical, functional, beautiful and sustainable. It’s the same process with our creative and media agency partners.”

There’s some great advice in there for any brand considering pitching or how the relationship with their agency is working. Having a more strategic relationship where Mother doesn’t just come up with ad campaigns, but positioning and pricing as well, has been key to success. And the ads (the latest featuring a chilled out lion) ain’t half bad either.

READ MORE: Ikea: We work as closely with our agencies as we do our furniture designers

Facebook’s Messenger strategy shift

Facebook obviously wants to monetise Messenger. It has 1.2 billion users there and with the social network rapidly racing towards the upper limit of the number of ads it can show people in the news feed before they get totally pissed off and leave rapidly approaching, it is scouting around for other options.

It has hit on Messenger. And so it is rolling out ads on the homepage.

But this is also a tacit admission from Facebook that the brave new future in which all customer service is done via chatbots on Messenger is some way off. It remains to be seen if brands inserting themselves into one-on-one messaging will pay off in the long run.

READ MORE: Facebook takes Messenger ads global



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