TUI, Virgin Money, Carlsberg: 5 things that mattered this week and why

From Virgin Money’s shift to music sponsorships to Carlsberg and TUI’s ‘welcome back’ marketing campaigns, we’ve rounded up the biggest marketing stories from this week.

An impression of the Virgin Money Unity Arena

Virgin Money puts focus on music

Virgin Money is hoping a focus on music sponsorship can help it stand out in the banking market as it looks to take on the old guard of the finance world.

The bank this week launched a new ‘Emerging Stars’ platform that will give eight up-and-coming music artists financing and support to take their careers to the next level. That includes a £10,000 development fund for each performer, mentoring, plus the opportunity to play at venues including The O2 in London and SSE Hydro in Newcastle.

It is also putting its money behind a new venue – the Virgin Money Unity Arena – that will enable people to attend social distanced gigs.

As Virgin Money’s marketing boss Helen Page rightly points out, banking is a competitive market and one that is still recovering from the last economic crash. A focus on grassroots music should help Virgin Money stand out and makes sense given the Virgin brand’s origins in music.

Helping rising stars is also arguably even more important now, given the huge impact Covid-19 has had on the entertainment industry.

But, as with any shift in positioning, key for Virgin Money will be giving customers a really good reason to switch from other banks. And that will come down to its products and services rather than support for the music industry.

READ MORE: Inside Virgin Money’s plan to build a consumer, not just a bank, brand

TUI urges holiday-makers to ‘look forward’

tui / holiday

When coronavirus hit, travel was one of the first things to be limited. However, as travel restrictions ease and travellers from countries including France, Spain, Germany and Italy will no longer need to quarantine, holiday company TUI is urging people to ‘look forward’ and think about their next trip.

The Welcome Back campaign reminds Brits of the joy of going on holiday, from the first dip in the pool to feeling the sand between their toes. However, the brand is clear this is not about pressuring audiences to travel but instead asking them to start considering it as an option.

TUI is looking to reach its “heartland audiences” of couples and families with the ad. While other holiday brands kept advertising during the peak of the crisis, TUI felt this was “inappropriate” and is still not offering offering incentives to book holidays like it normally would.

The travel industry is picking up the pieces left by coronavirus and trusted brands will be the ones that come out on top. That makes TUI’s decision to keep in tune with public sentiment, rather than pushing bookings too soon, a sensible one.

READ MORE: TUI ‘welcomes back’ holidaymakers with nostalgia filled campaign

Keith Weed calls for brand collaboration in fight against Covid-19

As the lockdown starts to lift across the UK, the government is conscious of the need to balance the understandable fears of consumers across Britain with the desire to revive the economy.

This balancing act in mind, Number 10 went live with its ‘Enjoy Summer Safely’ campaign, working with brands to land the message that it is safe to enjoy summer activities in a socially distanced manner.

The likes of BT,, Dettol, Domestos, McDonald’s and Vodafone have already collaborated with the government to promote the campaign, which since its launch has attracted the support of 30 brands. Now Keith Weed is urging others to join the collaborative effort: “More is more rather than less is more. More brands will make more impact.”

The Advertising Association president and former Unilever CMO insists that government and brand collaboration is vital in the fight against coronavirus. He explains that brands have the ability to “embed” key health behaviours, building on the official communications to make hygiene messages “mainstream”.

In fact, while he hopes life in the UK will get back to normal as quickly as possible post-lockdown, Weed is clear that engaging in a “multi-stakeholder approach” is the best way forward. He is adamant that it is impossible to have “healthy business in an unhealthy society” and that the collaboration between brands and civil society is needed for “the greater good”.

It is fair to say the government will be hoping this collaboration between state and business will help land its summer safe message, especially as the need to stimulate the economy post-lockdown remains a pressing issue.

READ MORE: Keith Weed on why brand collaboration is needed ‘for the greater good’

Carlsberg celebrates pubs reopening

This week saw one of the nation’s favourite pastimes come out of lockdown. Once again we can go to the pub, enjoy a pint – in socially distanced groups of six of course – and Carlsberg is here to usher in the new stage.

It launched a campaign to capture “the mood of the country” with outdoor and national press ads welcoming people back to pubs.

However, there are also swathes of individuals who are concerned about the reopenings, something which Carlsberg is aware of when it comes to striking the right tone. The beer brand conducts daily polls in order to ensure it is keeping up with consumers whose mood it finds can change hourly.

This is not the only way the brand is supporting pubs. It is also using its ‘Love My Local’ digital platform, which encourages pub goers to support their local pub in a safe and responsible way. The app allows for table bookings – infrastructure which is usually only afforded to larger chains that can afford it.

By tapping into nostalgia rather than celebration, Carlsberg appears to successfully balance the need and desire for pubs to be open while also positioning itself as a brand that puts safety first through its app.

READ MORE: Carlsberg welcomes back pubs as it tries to mirror mood of the nation

The government attempts to stave off mass unemployment

ApprenticeshipsIf the first impact of coronavirus was on health, the second is certainly on the economy. Economists are predicting that unemployment in the UK could hit 15 million people, as businesses tighten their belts amid concerns over growth and a hit to consumer confidence and spending.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has attempted to ward off the worst case predictions with a package of measures particularly aimed at young people entering the job market. There will be government funding for apprenticeships and traineeships, as well as for creating jobs for those aged 16 to 24 and keeping on furloughed staff.

But news from the high street this week shows even with these government incentives job losses are coming. Boots announced plans for 4,000 redundancies, while John Lewis is consulting on 1,300 jobs as it admits eight of its 50 stores will not now reopen.

Why brands must not forget young talent during Covid-19

We’ve written before on Marketing Week about how marketing is not immune. Job vacancies have plummeted while there are mounting signs that companies are doing away with their top marketers as a means to cut costs.

Amid a bleak outlook, we’ve tried to offer some help and support. If you haven’t already, our podcast series This Much I Learned is well worth a listen as we speak to marketers about issues from redundancy and feeling stuck in your job, to mental health and looking to the future.



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