The Marketing Week – 9/8/2013

Welcome to The Marketing Week, your guide to the good, the bad and the ugly in the marketing industry over the last seven days.


Marmite ruffled a few feathers this week after its latest advert was slammed by viewers for spoofing animal rescue workers. Since launching on Monday, the humorous spot has notched up more than 400 complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority, although the watchdog is yet to decide whether it will be formally investigated. Love the advert or hate it – Unilever has made sure its brand’s first TV appearance in two years has been a memorable one.




The animal welfare charity finished the week £18,000 better off and all the better for its considered response to the hundreds of complaints the Marmite ad generated. Instead of issuing a knee-jerk ‘ban this filth’ response to the ad, the charity invited Marmite brand chiefs to work with it on animal welfare. The invite led to Marmite donating £18,000 – the cost of running its inspectorate service for one day, the RSPCA says – to the charity.




The betting shop brand reported operating profit fell nearly 20 per cent to £85.7m for the six months to 30 June. A number of factors were offered as reasons for the decline, hot weather in early summer keeping punters outdoors and away from bookies, among the most notable. One of the most significant and what should be the most alarming to the company was the drop in digital operating profit, down 28 per cent to £10.8m.

The company is trailing rival William Hill in exploiting the fast growing area. It is pinning its hopes on its deal with software provider PlayTech. Signed in March, it is hoped the deal will lead to the introduction of a raft of branded casino games. It also led to the setup of Ladbrokes Israel, a 40-strong digital marketing team that employs PlayTech’s digital marketing services.


AOL buys video ad platform

AOL has placed its bets on connected TVs becoming a staple of our viewing habits in future, paying $405m for digital video ad platform this week. The acquisition is the company’s biggest since 2009 and ads to AOL’s portfolio of acquisitions, which includes media brands Huffington Post and TechCrunch.

Danone seeks Chinese agency

Food and drinks giant Danone has reportedly put out a media brief among Far Eastern agencies to help it crack the high-growth Chinese market as part of its ongoing global media pitch. The final decision is expected in October.


More augmented reality/wearable tech (this time from Microsoft)

With Google Glass already a (somewhat) known entity, it emerged this week that Microsoft has filed a patent for a pair of augmented reality (AR) glasses with voice control and facial recognition technology.


The patent, filed in the US, describes the technology as a head-mounted system and “related methods for inviting a potential player to participate in a multiplayer game” – suggesting it will somehow be applied to Microsoft’s Xbox gaming system.

Microsoft has yet to comment publicly on the matter, but with Google Glass already tipped for a market entry within months and Apple heavily rumoured to be working on an ‘iWatch’, the shift towards ‘wearable tech’ cannot be ignored.


Monty Munford, Founder of agency Mob76, writer for The Economist, Telegraph, @montymunfordAfrican entrepreneurs, startups and companies need to use Linkedin, not just Facebook and Twitter

Robin Grant, co-founder & global managing director of We Are Social, @robingrantCrowdsourcing – if briefs are going through the agency process and the best ideas selected by CDs, then what’s changed?

James Whatley, head of social at Ogilvy Soho Square, @whatleydudeLesson of the day: do not use the term ‘dicking about’ when discussing anything related to Snapchat

Oliver Snoddy, Twitter’s UK head of planning: @olisnoddy I reckon I’d stand a chance against Bolt in the 800m. What about at 400m?


  • Monday 12 August – Budweiser launches the second season of its grassroots football campaign as it looks to grow its ties to the sport.
  • Thursday 15 August – First-half ABC results for consumer magazines released.


Mark Ritson

How McDonald’s fell from employer hero to zero

Tess Waddington

Congratulations to McDonald’s which has managed to keep costs down and flexibility up by putting most of its staff on ‘zero-hour’ contracts. The contracts, widely condemned by unions and politicians, essentially involve an employee committing to an employer without getting any commitment in return. No long term contract, no guarantee of regular work and no standard hours or stability of income.

Lara O'Reilly

Vodafone’s 4G content proposition may have sting in its tail

Lara O'Reilly

Vodafone chose to lead its communications on the content deals it has brokered for the announcement around its 4G switch-on date and tariffs today (7 August) – somewhat surprisingly given its hefty investment behind the spectrum that provides the best indoor coverage. The operator should ensure, however, that deals with the likes of Sky and Spotify go beyond simply low hanging fruit-style introductory offers.


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