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.


Ballantine’s trumpeted its tie-up with online music channel Boiler Room this week, claiming it is “not your run of the mill” music platform. The scotch whiskey maker is producing a series of short films focusing on the impact music has had on different cultures around the world in an attempt to tie the brand to more up-tempo drinking occasions. One-off gigs will also be hosted with the events streamed online to those unable to attend. While it won’t reinvent the wheel when it comes to music marketing, the brand’s commitment to forging a long-term relationship with Boiler Room, combined with the respect the channel commands from the underground music scene, could elevate Ballantine’s above its rivals.


Lloyds Banking Group logo

After five long years, Lloyds Banking Group is back in the black. The company, 32 per cent owned by The Treasury, reported it returned to profit in the 12 months to 31 December for the first time since its 2009 bail-out. Pre-tax profit hit £415m in 2013, up from a loss of £606m in 2012, prompting many to predict a return to private ownership.

It also claimed the introduction of products designed to tempt people to switch current accounts such as the Halifax ‘cashback debit card’ and “Everyday Offers” at Lloyds Bank helped it post a net gain of 144,000 current account customers in the four months since the Payment Council’s switching service was launched.

Challenges remain – the ever growing bill for the mis-selling of payment protection insurance for one- but just for the moment its “strong portfolio of differentiated brands” aided by the recently relaunched Lloyds Bank and Scottish Widows offers it a shard of light.



The week didn’t start well for Barclays with the Mail on Sunday alleging stockbrokers had used customer details stolen from the bank. A positive story of progress made in rebuilding trust with customers and a promise to do more was then high-jacked by news of an increase in its bonus pool and the loss of up to 12,000 jobs.

Keen and quite right to impress upon people how its culture and values are changing, it was an incredibly tough sell on a day when headlines screamed “12,000 job cuts and bankers’ bonuses on the up”.

The LIBOR rate-rigging scandal made Barclays the poster boy for the worst excesses of the banking industry, headlines like this will not help shed that tag.


Comcast’s takeover of Time Warner Cable

Comcast is buying rival Time Warner Cable for $45.2bn in a deal that has the potential to dramatically alter the US pay TV and broadband markets. The deal between the top two US cable service providers would give the resulting company 30 per cent of the pay TV market and put it in 19 of the largest 20 US TV markets. Comcast’s boss Brian Roberts says the deal will create economies of scale that will “spur” TV and internet innovation. It will also give it some impressive negotiating power when it goes to talk to brands and advertisers. It’s likely to come under scrutiny from regulators but if it goes through its impact could be far reaching.

North Face

Don’t watch this ad if you’re afraid of heights. For it’s latest campaign outdoor sportswear firm North Face has sponsored free-solo rock climber Alex Honnold. He is planning to climb up a 2,500 foot limestone wall without using any ropes and North Face will be documenting his attempt. It’s a risky move for North Face, one wrong move and their newest ambassador could be falling to his death. It’s also one that makes sense for North Face as it looks to prove its extreme sport credentials.


Porter Mag
Photography by Inez and Vinoodh.

Last week ecommerce website Net-a-Porter made its first foray into print with the launch of the Porter magazine. Noteworthy in itself because of the move online to print, rather than vice versa, the magazine is also interesting because it will be entirely shoppable. Customers with a mobile app will be able to scan any image and be directed to a product page to make a purchase. The launch of Porter was quickly followed up by the release this week of Clique, another magazine that lets you buy direct from the pages. It’s an interesting trend and one that the big fashion magazines, such as Grazia and Vogue must be watching with interest. If they can use their brand power to launch ecommerce magazines we could see the gap between content and advertising close still further.


Jerry Daykin, European social media manager at Mondelez International, in response to what appeared to be faint praise for the role marketing played in its European sales lift.
“Proud to have been part of some ‘pretty good’ marketing activity once more ;)”

Tim Crow, chief executive of Synergy Sponsorship, on matchmaking Tinder app seeing a huge spike in Sochi during the Games.
“Tinder Olympic Village media stories are the new condom Olympic Village media stories #Tinderlympics”

Rob Sellers, director of shopper marketing agency Dialog, on its McVitie’s campaign.
“You know your campaigns making an impact when people’s mums are sending you store photos! #Sweeet”

Dates for your Diary


14-18 February – London Fashion Week. See how fashion brands adopt new technology for their catwalk runs this year.

20 February – Asda posts its fourth quarter results providing the first information on how it did over Christmas. Will it be one of the winners or one of the losers?

20 February – British Gas owner Centrica will push ongoing energy bill concerns further into the spotlight when it shares its preliminary results for 2013.

20 February – Converse will be hosting the first of its gigs at the 100 Club for 2014 with music producer Blood Orange.



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