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

It has to be the juggernaut that is the John Lewis Christmas ad. The fantastical but not altogether festive tale of the friendship between a young boy and a penguin named Monty. Within hours of the campaign being released and 36 before it hit TV screens the nation (or it just people in the media?) had declared it a soaraway success. Just look at the social media success, the Twitter mentions, the shares, the positive Buzz, commentators everywhere said. Dizzying, but the real success will be the integration with direct, multi-channel and customer experience. A well-received TV campaign will only get you so far; an effective marketing strategy will win the day.

Good week

Morrisons deserve a break and for what it’s worth, we will give it one. Despite the headline 6.3% drop in sales in the three months to 2 November, there was a shard or two of light for the supermarket. First, things were not quite as bad as they were in the previous quarter when sales dipped 7.4% and second the revelation that 1 million had signed up for its loyalty/price match scheme “Match and More”, means access to a data mine previously unavailable and a swagger, however ill conceived, in its battle with the discounters. Morrisons is not yet a turnaround story but just maybe this is the start of one.

Bad week

Advertisers that do not appreciate the requirements of multi-cultural Britain were given a wake-up call this week. A report from the Advertising Association’s think tank Credos concluded that companies are ignoring the commercial rewards of reflecting cultural sensitivities realistically in their work. The consequences and opportunities are clear, the report found. More than half (53%) of the UK’s black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) population say they prefer to purchase from brands they feel “meaningfully” represent their culture, while 51% say they are more likely to purchase from those brands. Nearly half of all respondents (48%) say they prefer and 45% are more likely to buy from brands that champion diversity in their advertising and marketing.

One to watch

HarperCollins streams novel on digital boards or commuters to speed-read

The publisher has opted for an eye-catching effort to promote the latest Patricia Cornwell novel Flesh and Blood. Using speed-reading technology Spritz, Harper Collins is streaming the entire novel through a digital board at Liverpool Street station so that commuters have the opportunity to read it as soon as it hits shelves. The campaign, developed by agency Ralph, aims to give readers a flavour of the novel’s fast-paced style in the hope they are then convinced to buy it. It is backed by blogger outreach alongside ads on newspaper and lifestyle sites.

International News

McDonald’s continues marketing revamp to overturn US sales drop

The company’s latest executive shuffle of 2014 saw it hire Kristy Cunningham as the senior vice president of strategy for its US business this week. Cunningham replaces Kevin Newell, who she will report to in his new role as president of the McDonald’s west region. The role was created following the restaurant’s split into four US zones last month so that it could react to local trends faster.

Since the appointment of US CMO Deborah Wahl earlier this year, the business has made several changes to inject urgency into its turnaround plans. It sparked the arrival of Julia Vander Ploeg as its first VP of digital for the county in August and in September it hired Fred Ehle as its first VP customer officer. Underpinning the changes, is McDonald’s shift of its marketing around consumer groups such as millennials and away from products.

Burger King partners with Paypal for mobile payments

Not to be outdone by rival McDonald’s mobile payments tie-up with Apple, Burger King has formed a pact of its own. The fast food retailer is working with Paypal to introduce a mobile ordering app in the US. Customers place an order via the app to generate a four-digit pin, which they can use to pay at the counter. The app also displays the nutritional value of the ordered foods as well as host exclusive offers and discounts. Mobile orders are tipped to be the key battleground for fast food chains in their efforts to increase footfall. Starbucks plans to deliver food to people whom order using its app, while KFC and McDonald’s are both experimenting with mobile payments to give younger diners more choice in how they purchase food.


@Charlie_Boss, head of marketing at ESPN UK, on advertisers’ attitudes toward programmatic trading: “Will other advertisers follow Google’s lead by setting a target ad spend via programmatic? For me, 60% is too high…”

@KyleStack, digital marketer at Nike, on whether McDonald’s transparency efforts are enough to increase people to eat at its restaurants: “I like the thought behind the @McDonalds videos showing how they make their food. But I’m still skeptical when it comes to eating there.”

@m_bertozzi, president of audience on demand EMEA at VivaKi, on the quality of AOL’s Twitter strategy: “Half the @AOL links on Twitter seem to be more like click bait. click on link and then can’t find the content – just faced with video ads?”

@nwalley, managing director of Deciper, on the latest pop-up store in Shoreditch: “UK’s first cereal cafe in Shoreditch will sell 100 varieties over two floors”. Started by a cereal entrepreneur? (tee hee….)”


1 Comment

Despite the attention on Monty the Penguin, the rest of the marketing mix will be as responsible for John Lewis’ fortunes this Christmas

Sarah Vizard

The annual launch of the John Lewis Christmas campaign has become something of an event in its own right. No other ad causes such anticipation, so many column inches or such a reaction in the UK. But while the ad is important for John Lewis to ensure it’s front of minds as consumers head off to do their festive shopping, its just one cog in a well-oiled marketing machine, all the parts of which need to work together to ensure the retailer has a sparkling Christmas.


    Leave a comment