The Marketing Week

Welcome to The Marketing Week, your guide to the good, the bad and the ugly in the marketing industry over the last seven days.


Sex sells. Right? So why not use it to sell something worthwhile. That was the premise behind Save the Children’s new campaign. It got a group of models together at a shoot in New York and asked them to read a load of vacuous statements, like “lust is my mistress”, in as sexy a way as possible. Then it shifted gear.

Cue cards appearing saying “almost 800 mothers and 18,000 young children die each day, mostly from preventable causes”. The models had to try to make this sexy. Some tried to remain flirty and seductive, most just looked plain uncomfortable. Poverty is not be sexy, but it needs bringing to people’s attention. Save the Children has found a striking way to do it.




The beer brand spent a few years in a search of a positioning in the early years of the current decade before going back to the future last year and settling on a return to the blokeish tone of its glory days.

The decision looks to have paid off, sales of the Carling brand by grew by 6.2 per cent in the year 31 March after a couple of flatter years.

It is unlikely it is the advertising alone, however, that has driven the uplift. Discounting, as one commentator pointed out, could also have helped. A word of warning for Carling then to not sacrifice value for volume sales.




The games console maker attracted criticism this week over its decision not to allow gamers to play as gay characters in an upcoming life simulator game. The Japanese video games publisher is refusing to let players engage in same sex relationships in English editions of its Tomodachi Life title.

Nintendo said in a statement it never intended to make any form of ”social commentary”.

LGBT campaigners slammed the decision as out of touch and a poor business call to potentially alienate current and prospective gamers.

Ian Johnson, chief executive and founder of LGBT marketing agency Out Now Consulting summed it up best when he said. “To be inclusionary in 2014 is not at all to do with ‘social commentary’ – it is simply reflecting youth market realities – and frankly is now smarter business for brands that do not want to look afraid of a more inclusionary future.” 


Coca-Cola sends drones to Singapore

This week Coca-Cola partnered the Singapore Kindness Movement to deliver “happiness from the skies”, using drones to drop off boxes of Coke to the nation’s large population of migrant workers.

The project sought to build bridges between Singaporeans and the city state’s foreign labourers. The drone drop off was supported by an on-street activation led by the Singapore Kindness Movement, encouraging passers by to offer their messages of support, thanks and solidarity to guest workers in the form of handwritten notes and photos, which were then attached to the packages.



The popular photo messaging app is to implement a privacy programme monitored by an independent privacy expert for 20 years after the US Federal Trade Commission found the company deceived users by saying the messages they sent disappeared forever shortly after they were received.

The FTC’s charges also alleged Snapchat collected address book information without user consent and that the app failed to secure its “Find Friends” feature, which led to a security breach that affected more than 4 million accounts.

In a blog post, Snapchat admitted when building the app “some things didn’t get the attention they could have”, including being more “precise” with how it communicated with the Snapchat community.

It added: “We are devoted to promoting user privacy and giving Snapchatters control over how and with whom they communicate. That’s something we’ve always taken seriously, and always will.”


Dunnhumby and Sky IQ

Dunnhumby, the data company that underpins the Tesco Clubcard loyalty scheme, and the Sky-owned research house Sky IQ have formed a partnership they believe will help FMCG brands make their TV advertising more relevant and accountable.

The partnership combines Dunnhumby’s customer behaviour analysis and Sky IQ’s TV viewing panel to create insights into the link between TV ads and purchasing decisions, a move they claim will enable FMCG brands to more accurately define the programmes that optimise sales as well as offering insights such as how many times an advert is viewed on average before prompting a response.


@Mildenhall – CMO Airbnb
on the Omnicom and Publicis Groupe merger collapse
Is anyone REALLY surprised? Culture eats strategy for breakfast. Period. At odds #Omnicom and #Publicis End Merger

@NotMilesK – musician
pondering Google’s founding brand principles
Google’s motto of “Don’t be evil” seems to be accommodated these days by having abandoned the concept altogether.

@TheMiltonJones – comic
on the Pizza Express halal meat affair that has swept the headlines this week
Pizza Express halal chickens killed incorrectly #sloppyGiuseppe

@petehotchkiss – partner at communications agency Substance
on #amazonbasket
This Amazon tweet to add to basket feature is like walking into Tescos & shouting I’VE JUST PUT A PINEAPPLE IN MY TROLLEY PPL!

@JonathanHaynes – web news editor at the Guardian
on Morrisons covering the Angel of the North with an ad
Morrisons presumably working on the principle all publicity is good publicity. Even when ruining artworks with dreadfully ugly ads.


13 May – EasyJet’s first half results are out.

15 May – Dixons has its full year statement out but all eyes will be on whether it announces its proposed merger with Carphone Warehouse. Rumours are the £3.7bn deal is set to go ahead, creating one of Britain’s biggest high street retailers with 1,300 stores.

15 May – Asda announces its Q1 results. Its market share has been the most resilient in recent weeks in the face of growing competition from the discounters. Can it translate this into revenues and profit?