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.


Sony PlayStation 4

The marketing machine for Sony’s hotly anticipated PlayStation 4 launch later this month kicked further into gear this week with a Tinie Tempah interactive video. The UK rapper is the centrepiece of a short film, in which viewers use their smartphones to access exclusive content as he discusses the importance of playing games with friends. Featuring shots from a host of upcoming titles, the atmospheric ad sets the tone for the brand’s focus of being a games machine first and a home entertainment platform second.


Taking on Sky in the sports broadcasting business is a risky bet. The list of casualties includes Setanta, which went bankrupt, and ESPN, which pulled out of its UK venture after four seasons. But BT’s £1.5bn investment in its sports channels appears to be paying off, producing unexpected early success. Barely three months after launch, BT Sport has signed up 2 million subscribers and its full pay-TV service added 70,000 subscribers, its biggest growth for five years and bringing total numbers to 900,000, according to its financial results for the quarter to 30 September.

It also halted the loss of broadband customers to rivals, the main aim of launching BT Sport, adding 156,000 broadband customers, propelling BT ahead of Sky in terms of broadband customer growth. Should success continue, BT hasn’t ruled out making an even bigger grab for Premier League football games or going after some Champion League matches in upcoming seasons. Game on.


Guinness Round Up Your Mates

Guinness scored a rare marketing fail after its ad campaign, which saw it take over all three ad breaks during Saturday night’s (26 October) Jonathan Ross Show, was criticised by viewers. A Twitter hashtag, #RoundUpYourMates, was meant to encourage fans to show their support for spots on male bonding, but it was quickly hijacked by viewers calling it “excruciating” and “contrived”.

Guinness is hardly the first brand to fall foul of Twitter users and it won’t be the last. However, what seems to have surprised most consumers is that the gaffe came from Guinness, previously rated highly for its marketing efforts. Owner Diageo admitted that it failed to live up to the brand’s legacy of iconic marketing and is now addressing what went wrong. It is, however, ploughing on with its multimillion “Made Of More” strategy, with plans for further content-based activations as part of wider efforts to court younger drinkers and kickstart sales.



Unilever came under fire this week after a TV advert appeared in Thailand for its Citra Pearly White skin whitening cream that appeared to offer university scholarships to students with paler skin. Critics said the ad, which was broadcast on Thai TV and YouTube, equated lighter skin and intelligence. Unilever withdrew the ad – although it still continued the 100,000 baht scholarship competition for the university student judged to best demonstrate “product efficacy” – saying it “never intended to suggest racial discrimination” and apologized for “any misunderstandings”.



French online advertising firm Criteo debuted on the Nasdaq on Wednesday (30 October) marking the maturity of the online tracking technology sector. Criteo’s stock price debuted at $31 and has risen to a high of $41.40 since then. With the online advertising industry being almost entirely run out of the West Coast of the US, the flotation of Criteo highlights the rarity of successful European technology start-ups. However, things may change as governments across the continent aim to emulate the success of Silicon Valley.


@AbiComber – global head of marketing at British Airways

on her learnings during the inaugural Marketing Academy CMO Fellows scheme

The quality and success of a leader can only be measured after they have gone #CMOFellows@merlinthementor @McK_CMSOForum

@Nate_Elliott – vice president and principal analyst at Forrester

speaking to Business Insider deputy editor following the publication of Forrester’s controversial “Facebook is failing marketers” report

@Jim_Edwards good story. but while FB claims GM is ‘back,’ GM went from a $10m FB spend to much smaller spend. we predict others will follow

@ChristianHern – Investor at White Star Capital and ex-Facebook, Google and Microsoft employee.

on French online advertising company’s Criteo’s IPO

A US office (where clients are), a US IPO (where the market exists) does not “American DNA” make (good debate to be had BTW).

@BruceDaisley – Twitter UK managing director

on 1990s pop music. Again.

I miss Charles and Eddie. I wish Charles (or Eddie) hadn’t died.

@EllieJaneTaylor – Comedian

on an unwise tweet from Topshop’s social media team

YAY! Divorce and heartbreak!!?? ?? Their kid will probs be fine about it so let’s PARTY! “: Yes! Orlando Bloom is single again!”


2 November Royal Mail will launch its first TV ad in six years during The X Factor.

5 November Marks & Spencer is to report its half-year trading results to the City. The retail is expected to report a 1.5 per cent drop in general merchandise sales for the six months to the end of September and that it is failing to revive its share of the women’s clothing market.

6 November Channel 4 is to reveal its upcoming programming lineup at a glitzy Upfronts event at its Horseferry Road HQ.

6 November John Lewis will unveil its hugely anticipated Christmas campaign for this year.



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