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.


Harvey Nichols set social media ablaze this week with its tongue-in-cheek Christmas advert. The luxury retailer is encouraging shoppers to spend as little as possible on their loved ones this holiday season and say “Sorry I spent it on myself” through an Adam & Eve/DDB created advert. The satirical ad sees family members left bitterly disappointed after receiving budget gifts from Harvey Nichols shoppers. They are then pictured with their gifts to themselves, including a Givenchy tote bag and Louboutin leather pumps.

The retailer has a history of producing humorous Christmas ads. Last year’s effort showed women shooting lasers out of their eyes after discovering they had turned up at a party wearing the same dress as someone else.


Royal Mail

Royal Mail has enjoyed a good first few weeks as a private company. Its first results showed operating profit almost doubling to £283m, helped by a VAT credit and lower than expected costs related to privatisation. Revenues were up 2 per cent, helped by strong growth in parcel revenue

Plus, it claimed a “good start” to the second half, which began 29 September, because of “energy company mailings”. Price rises by five of the big six energy suppliers led to an increase in direct mail as they advertised their energy efficiency initiatives. Meanwhile, smaller challenger energy brands have ramped up activity to exploit customer anger and convince them to switch.


Coop Bank

It’s no secret that Co-op Bank is experiencing something of a crisis. It said this week that the fallout from “recent events”, namely the arrest of its former chairman Paul Flowers over drugs claims, might have caused brand and reputational damage. It also admitted it has seen an increase in people closing current accounts and is likely to incur costs from investigations announced by the Treasury, Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority.

Not only that, but the scandal is effecting its other brands. The supermarket chain has seen customer perceptions fall, with YouGov’s Brand Index showing that its Buzz, a measure of the positive and negative things said, Recommend, Reputation and Impression measures are all significantly down compared to a week ago.


‘Sh*t’ marketing

Saatchi & Saatchi Singapore has today (29 November) unveiled a marketing campaign for the World Toilet Organisation to improve sanitation in the developing world.

The crowdfunding initiative literally encourages people to “Give a Sh*t” and make a donation on the campaign site, with the pair declaring today “Brown Friday” (see video). 


Johnnie Walker looks east

Johnnie Walker is switching its focus from the Western world to Asia, after it appointed media agency PHD to help market its Johnnie Walker Blue range.

China’s state TV ad sell-off raises $1.5bn

China’s state TV station raised $1.5bn worth of media this week during its annual ad space auction, with car marques and consumer electronics companies reportedly leading the charge in the high growth market.


@lifeofbry – Metro marketing and communications director
on his departure
Last day at Metro today – 7.5 years at the group, who knows where I’ll go next, but loved working with fantastic people in a great business.

@Blackett_kt – CEO of MediaCom UK
on the former chair of Agent Provocateur and founder of Winser London
I think I have a girl crush on Kim Winser, amazing career history and woman! @ #MTInspiringWomen

@Rickontour – Ricky Wilson, lead singer of the Kaiser Chiefs, on Amazon’s latest TV advert
I don’t understand why the guy in the Kindle advert wants to watch ‘Fast Five’ with his friends at what looks like quite a civilised party.

@charliesayz – director of digital for AEG Europe 
on the wisdom of Black Friday 
These #BlackFriday ads are getting annoying. We’re in the UK, not the US. Stop it @asda and others, you have enough excuses to take my money.


  • 4 December Tesco reports its third quarter results. It is likely to comment on the success of its first tablet, Hudl, and the on-going impact of its Love Every Mouthful marketing campaign.
  • 7 December – The draw for the World Cup 2014 Groups will take place next week, rousing some sponsors into starting their activity for the event.



Christmas IT failures put NatWest brand at risk

Michael Barnett

NatWest, along with its Royal Bank of Scotland stable mates, has suffered a third significant systems failure in 18 months, causing consumers’ payments to be declined. With a new, quicker switching process in place for UK accounts, the brand could see a new kind of bank run.


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