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.


John Lewis’ Christmas ad is already a contender for advertising event of the year even though it is just hours since it was revealed to the world. Our crude analysis concludes no ad in 2013 as been talked about, positively and negatively, as much as this bear and hare starring whimsical delight. There’s been a lot of chatter about Christmas ads in the UK matching SuperBowl ads in terms of anticipation and talkability. I don’t subscribe to that theory for the majority with one exception: John Lewis. Now, can all the love translate to sales, the only measure of success that matters?



Or a slightly better week… Some might conclude it is odd to say M&S has had a positive seven days after posting its ninth consecutive quarter of declining clothing sales but there is a shard of light for the retailer. Like-for-like sales at its general merchandise business, which includes clothing and homeware, were down 1.3 per cent, an improvement on the 1.6 per cent decline in Q1. M&S CEO Marc Bolland credited its new womenswear range and supporting ‘Leading Ladies’ ad campaign, adding the range has been “well received” and there are “early signs” of improvement in sales as a result.

Lost in the coverage of its womenswear woes is the rise and rise of its food business – up 3.2 per cent on a like-for-like basis in the second quarter, an improvement on 1.8 per cent growth in Q1.



Morrisons is another retailer beset by reports of consecutive quarters of decline. Unlike M&S though, its problems seem to be getting worse.

The supermarket chain reported sales from stores open for 12 months or more fell 2.4 per cent in the three months to 3 November, its third quarter. Sales had fallen by 1.6 per cent in its first-half.

Shaky consumer confidence, heavy discounting across the sector and continued absence from the fast growing online grocery market were blamed for the sales dip. Morrisons is hoping a Christmas advertising campaign calling on customers to treat themselves during the festive season will help revive its flagging performance. It might help in the short-term but Morrisons’ long-term fresh food and format focus has yet to convince.


Alcohol ads are reaching too many young people in TV markets across the United States, according to a study. Researchers from the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY) found almost 1 in 4 alcohol ads, shown in 25 of the largest television markets in the region, exceeded the alcohol industry’s voluntary standards on responsible marketing. The report assessed alcohol ad placements in 2010 for the 40 programs with the largest numbers of youth viewers within each of four program categories (network sports, network non-sports, cable sports, and cable non-sports).

Beer industry trade body The Beer Institute hit back at the findings, claiming they were “rooted in shaky ground”. It said brewers “take the task of responsible advertising very seriously and actively work with educators, parents, law enforcement and policymakers to further reduce the country’s underage drinking rate, which is at a record low level.”


Interactive washrooms. No seriously. Captive media, a company that specialises in media placements in public washrooms, this week raised an extra £250,000 to offer brands the opportunity to ‘capitalise’ on “The Golden Age of Advertising”.


@jopkins – Nando’s UK head of digital on Christmas ads
I’d say some of the retailers have fallen into that trap of thinking that everyone really cares about their Christmas ads. Assume nothing…

@yashraj_jain – Direct Marketing Association research executive tweeting at the DMA’s Rethink TV event
With targeting on TV becoming so granular how can creative keep pace? #DMATV

@davidschneider – Comedian On John Lewis’ Christmas ad
Just saw John Lewis Christmas ad. Nice but bear and hare’s babies are going to be the weirdest since Donkey shagged the dragon in Shrek 2.


13 November – Motorola is set to unveil its latest smartphone the Moto G. Rumours indicate the Android device will come at a low price point of just £135 with a range of colours.

13 November – Sainsbury’s will be the last of the big four supermarkets to launch its Christmas brand campaign.

15 November – Carlsberg will be hoping investments in its Premier League tie-up have helped lift sales across Europe when it posts its third quarter results.


Mindi Chahal

Nuisance calls harm the research sector too

Mindi Chahal

The practice of ‘sugging’ (selling under the guise of research) means that the on-going problem with nuisance calls is also affecting the reputation of market research, but will any action to solve the issue come too late?


    Leave a comment