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.


Despite demonstrating nothing creatively, from a visual point of view, Apple takes the campaign of the week crown. Apple has signed up comedian Jimmy Fallon and pop star Justin Timberlake to feature in the ads for its latest flagship smartphones, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

Despite the star power of Fallon and Timberlake the smartphones are the actual stars of the spots with the duo providing voiceovers and a song – in the form of humming the theme to 2001: A Space Odyssey.

It’s cute, if a little scripted, and it does exactly what is required of an ad for a new phone – tell people exactly and effectively what the features of the phone are.


Man United’s sponsorship team

Manchester United

Manchester United’s performance on the pitch might have dipped in the last year but that has not deterred sponsors with the club’s global income from brands eager to associate with the Premier League club rising 49 per cent in its latest fiscal year.

The club is currently facing its first season without European football in more than two decades after finishing a lowly seventh in the Premier League last campaign but still managed to sign 20 brand partnerships in the year to 30 June. Regional deals with brands including STC in Saudi Arabia and PepsiCo in parts of the Middle East and Asia coupled with global deals with Nike, Aon and DHL helped push sponsorship income up to £135.8m in the period, up from £90.9m a year earlier.


Scottish shoppers

Scottish shoppers have been warned that prices could rise if the country votes Yes and becomes an independent nation. John Lewis and Asda both said prices could go up in the event of independence because the cost of operating in the country is higher.

Elsewhere, a number of retailers leaders, including Marc Bolland at Marks & Spencer and Sir Ian Cheshire of B&Q owner Kingfisher have added their names to a letter spelling out how a “yes” vote could impact costs that is set to be released tomorrow, according to the Guardian.

All of this is hypothetical, of course, not to mention a long way off but it will not be welcome reading.

International News

Burger King black burger

Burger King adds black burgers to its Japanese menu

When asked how they’d like their burger most people don’t say “black”, but that’s exactly what they’ll get if they order the new item on Burger King’s menu in Japan. The burger includes a black bun and cheese slice, both coloured by bamboo charcoal, and an onion and garlic sauce containing squid ink. Customers can choose from two options, the basic Kuro Pearl, which costs around £2.80, or the £4.00 Kuro Diamond, which also comes with (non-blackened) salad.

Burger King has form here. It first introduced a black burger back in 2012 but only as a special edition, following up with a similar burger that also contained bacon a year later. However it has made the decision to add the Kuro Pearl and Diamond permanently following their success. Rivals including McDonalds have also introduced black burgers in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Buy a friend a Bud

Social commerce hasn’t yet taken off but that isn’t stopping Budweiser from trying to convince people to buy beer on Facebook. It is launching two campaigns, dubbed Bud Light Birthday and Buds for Buds, that lets users buy a voucher priced between $4.50 and $6.00 via the social network. They can then send a voucher to friends using an online form, which can be redeemed in bars via a smartphone.

The campaign is currently being piloted in Denver and Chicago but there are plans to launch it across the US if it proves successful. Bud owner Anheuser Busch is just one of a number of brands making another go of social commerce, with advertising including Starbucks and Coca-Cola trialling Twitter gifting and the social network launching its ‘Buy’ button earlier this week.

One To Watch


Australian airline Qantas has launched its own media-buying platform based on data from its loyalty programme as it looks to keep customer data and the relationship with advertisers in-house. The scheme, dubbed Red Planet, will use loyalty data including information on frequent fliers and payment data to offer marketers better targeting and analytics.

The move is the latest sign that brands are looking to keep more control of their data, rather than pass it to a media agency. Qantas says its deal with ZenithOptimedia is on going, but AdNews reports that there are suggestions the nature of the relationship, especially with regard to digital media, may change. There are also reports that other brands such as supermarkets and banks could be looking to follow suit.

Turning Minecraft into a brand

Minecraft creator Markus Persson was previously a staunch critic of Microsoft but he seems to have put aside those feelings to hash out a $2bn deal for the software giant to buy his virtual game. The acquisition is still in negotiations but it would make Persson a billionaire at the age of 35 and offer Microsoft an in with the millions of people that play the game.

However, that doesn’t appear to be its end goal. Microsoft sees big potential in the Minecraft brand and wants to create new editions of the game, as well as other ways to monetise it through film tie-ups and merchandise. We could be about to see the start of brand Minecraft.


@TonyWReed – OneStop CEO on the new Lidl “Farmers Market” TV ad

I must say the TV ad on fresh food from Lidl is very good. Reminds me of the Tesco Dotty ads.

@KristianCarter – head of social at Automic software on Apple giving away U2’s album for free

Genius marketing by U2. The kind of people that listen to U2 will be precisely the kind of people that can’t get rid of it from their phones

@HoldenMarks – PHD Media worldwide planning and strategy director on leadership

“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”

@ZoeSQWilliams – writer and journalist on the Iceland TV ad

Is Peter Andre in the Iceland advert the best celebrity-supermarket-advert ever? I even like his non-acty acting


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