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.

CAMPAIGN OF THE WEEK – Ocado: Britain’s Next Top Supplier

Ocado is giving start-up food makers the chance to have their products sold on its site for six months.

Ocado’s new year resolution is to improve its relationship with small businesses. The online retailer has kicked off a nationwide search for “Britain’s Next Top Supplier” in recognition of its entrepreneurial roots as an online grocer. It is asking entrants to submit a “Dragon’s Den”style business pitch for the chance to sell their products on Ocado and receive a £10,000 marketing budget. The competition is open to any small or medium-sized business with a food or drink product that isn’t stocked at Asda, Waitrose, Morrisons, Tesco or Sainsbury’s. Sounds like a route to differentiation to us.



Recognition for the very visible chief executives of Britain’s biggest companies is commonplace in the New Year Honours List. Less so, for marketers. We should all celebrate, therefore, news that Aviva CMO, Marketing Academy mentor, former Marketing Society president and all-round good egg Amanda Mackenzie received an OBE for services to marketing. As Mackenzie herself said in a tweet “good for the industry“. Elsewhere, other advertising and media figures were awarded gongs including IAB chairman Richard Eyre and former Interbrand chief executive Rita Clifton. “As advertising moves up the economic agenda, it’s gratifying to see its leaders recognised, ” said Advertising Association chief executive Tim Lefroy. So say all of us.



News of Debenhams’ profit warning and the negative impact of  “unprecedented” promotional activity on its profit margins for the Christmas period led many industry watchers to predict other retailers will be preparing to unveil similarly gloomy festive trading updates, hit by what Debenhams chief executive Michael Sharp described as a “sea of red” in the run-up to Christmas. This, however, has not yet been borne out by statements by rivals John Lewis, House of Fraser and Next which have all since announced bumper Christmases. It could be, then, that Debenhams went too cheap, too early.  The exit of its finance director Simon Herrick a day after the profit warning only increased chatter that the retailer had got things wrong.


Coca-Cola drops gay marriage scene from Irish ad

Coca-Cola has found itself at the centre of a Twitter backlash after deciding to drop a gay marriage scene in the Irish version of its new “Reasons to Believe” brand campaign. The spot, posted online and running in countries including Great Britain, the Netherlands and Norway, showed a same-sex couple getting married. However, the version aired in Ireland replaces that scene with a young straight couple getting married in a church.

Coke says the decision was made in an attempt to make the campaign “relevant and valid” in every market, highlighting that gay marriage is not legal in Ireland. However, the move means the company has once again raised the ire of gay rights campaigners, who are already putting the brand under pressure due to its sponsorship of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, which earlier this year introduced a law that prohibits the promotion of “non-traditional” relationships to minors.

Meat scandal at Walmart as fox DNA found in donkey products

Walmart is the latest food retailer to find itself at the centre of a meat scandal after it recalled its “five spice” donkey product from some stores in China when it was found to contain traces of DNA from other animals, including fox. The supermarket chain has 359 stores in China and has big expansions plans, hoping to open more than 100 new stores over the coming year. It has said it will investigate its Chinese supplier and tighten food safety rules.

The move comes almost a year after the horse meat scandal rocked food retailers in the UK including Tesco and Aldi.



The annual Consumer Electronics Show kicks off in Las Vegas on 7 January and among the massive TVs, sparkly smartphones and tablet tech, there is set to be plenty of announcements that should pique the interest of marketers.  Expect plenty of mobile, new wearable technology and connected car launches as well as announcements from brands that usually dominate the headlines at Cannes but are now steadily making names for themselves at the world’s biggest tech expos.


@LizCobbold – head of marketing at Adnams Brewery on the marketing secrets behind John Lewis’ Christmas success
@MarketingWeekEd doing everything well & better than comp- logistics, training, cust. serv is the best marketing tool @johnlewisretail 

@AndreaHudson on possible sexism in Virgin Active’s recently launched brand campaign                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           @MarketingWeekEd just aiming for guys then, are women already in the bag as members? 

@SteveDresser – retail analyst on Asda’s announcement it will invest £200m in cutting prices this year                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Significant and lasting investment in price from Asda… So is kingsmill 50p bread a permanent cut or rather ‘promotional’ pricing?

@Dava_Insight Media planner and buyer at MindshareUK, in response to Evian’s latest “LiveYoung” campaign
@MarketingWeekEd kind of sick of the ‘live young’ angle when people already know that recycled water is actually better for you than bottled


  • 7 January The Consumer Electronics Show opens its doors in Las Vegas. Expect big announcements from Samsung, Sony and LG – as well as some unexpected surprises from brands outside the tech vertical.
  • 7 January Easyjet will be hoping to maintain momentum when it unveils passenger numbers.  
  • 8 January Domino’s will publish its fourth quarter results as it hopes to carry strong momentum from its online delivery service last year into 2014.
  • 8 January Sainsbury’s shares its quarter three trading performance with the City.
  • 9 January …closely followed by Tesco, which will publish its Christmas trading statement. And Marks and Spencer, which will be hoping the recent mini revival in clothing sales continued over Christmas
  • 9 January IPA President Ian Priest hosts New Year reception.



Aldi takes swipe at rivals’ price cuts

Sarah Vizard

Aldi is launching an aggressive campaign to convince shoppers to switch from one of the big four supermarkets as it looks to protect its position as a value retailer as rivals try to claw back market share lost to the discounter with their own price promotions.


Dixons creates chief marketing officer role

Sarah Vizard

Dixons Retail, which is behind consumer electronics retailers including Currys and PC World, has poached Telefonica Digital’s CMO Gary Booker for the newly created role of UK and Ireland chief marketing officer as it looks to ‘revitalise’ its marketing.


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