Tesco, Unilever and Asos: 5 things that mattered this week

From Asos taking more than half its orders through mobile to the Tesco price dispute sending Unilever brand perceptions tumbling, here is what happened in the world of marketing this week.


Tesco’s price spat sends Unilever’s brand perceptions plunging

It made national headlines but was short-lived, as the pricing row between Tesco and Unilever ended within 24 hours. It was caused after Unilever reportedly raised the price of its products by 10% in a bid, it said, to offset the higher cost of importing caused by the weak pound following the Brexit vote. In response, Tesco decided to pull dozens of Unilever’s brands from its shelves.

Nevertheless, the dispute has led to a number of Unilever’s brands experiencing a steep decline in consumer perceptions days after the spat became public knowledge. Figures by YouGov BrandIndex show that Marmite was undoubtedly the biggest loser. The brand’s reputation declined by 11.6 points, causing it to fall 16 places in the rankings. Purchase intent among consumers has also dropped -3.9 points. Meanwhile, PG Tips fell 24 places down to 28 when it comes to brand buzz, while Colman’s fell 17 places from seventh to 24th.

Asos boasts about its mobile sales success


Asos must be feeling slightly smug after this week’s results. The online retailer saw more than half its orders come through mobile devices for the first time in the six months to 31 August as its focus on making the mobile experience cleaner and faster helped boost conversion.

The online retailer said 51% of orders came through mobile, up from 44% six months ago. While Asos had its first month when mobile accounted for 50% of orders in February, this is the first time it has managed to maintain that level for a full half-year.

“We are already awesome at mobile and we are going to get better,” Asos CEO Nick Beighton said on an investor call. “We want to fundamentally change the way people view and shop fashion on mobile.”

Aviva explains how it flipped its marketing ‘360 degrees’

Almost 12 months ago, Aviva decided to make some big changes to its marketing strategy and introduced ‘Good Thinking’ to the world.

It aims to find news ways of serving customers in a “better or different way” – all while honing in on big societal issues like saving money or safe driving. While unable to talk specifics, the brand’s UK customer marketing director Lindsay Forster says it is already seeing an increase in sales and revenue by focusing on values rather than “flogging product”.

“We’ve made a phenomenal level of progress, where [we’re] actually growing in terms of sales and revenue.This proves to me that when you do the right thing for the customer by having conversations customers want to have, it will bear fruit commercially,” she said.

Sainsbury’s hits back at ‘nonsensical’ critics of Argos deal

sainsburys store

Sainsbury’s acquired Argos as part of an eye-watering £1.4bn deal back in March. This week, Sainsbury’s CEO Mike Coupe hit back at claims that the two brands couldn’t possibly work together, branding them “nonsensical”.

“I’ve certainly heard the criticism. People seem to think if a Sainsbury’s shopper sees an Argos shopper they will run across the road to avoid them,” he said.

“Nearly half of the nation shop at both ever year so of course the customers can overlap. The reality is Sainsbury’s shoppers are either indifferent to the idea of Argos concessions within our supermarkets or super enthusiastic. But these are two popular mass market brands, so the idea they can’t work together is nonsensical.”

The big debate: Is content marketing really nonsense?


Marketing Week columnist Mark Ritson is back at it again and leaving a trail of controversy and heated comments in his wake. His column last week, ‘Is content marketing a load of bollocks?’, had at the time of writing notched up over 60 comments and plenty of discussion on social media, as Ritson questioned the wisdom of a profession in which ‘content’ is often seen as king.

He suggests the term is meaningless because it covers activities that generalist marketers were doing anyway. Marketers from a wide range of industries have since lined up to agree and disagree with Ritson in equal measure.

Blake Cahill, global head of digital and social at Philips, takes issue with Ritson’s interpretation of content marketing, arguing that it is not simply about the production of content but rather “a strategy and long-term approach with its own set of objectives and measurements”.

“Giving content marketing its own separate term is recognition of the fact that it is a separate discipline to others such as advertising and branding; meaning it requires its own specific set of expertise,” he says. “It’s no better or worse than any other marketing discipline and should be part of a brand’s marketing mix – it shouldn’t replace it.”


Asos: ‘We are investing in price first and marketing second’

Sarah Vizard

Asos chief executive Nick Robertson says the fashion retailer’s priority is to improve its price positioning first before it considers a marketing push to increase customer acquisition as it looks to boost sales following a difficult year that has seen sales decline internationally and growth slow in the UK.


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