Lastminute.com, a brand synonymous with the Internet boom of the latter 1990s, has been sold to Swiss travel group Brovofly Rumbo for $120 million (about £76 million).
Looking back at 2014, more projects than ever came from marcoms agencies, seeking help with clients’ requirements. From the Netherlands, Spain, in and around London, across the midlands and further north. A large accountancy practice in Kent is a new contracted client. PR remains strong and copywriting has grown significantly. Now to the challenges of 2015.
Smartphone and tablet originated commerce will account for 49% of all online sales in Europe by 2018, according to researcher Forrester. This latest survey covered Europe’s seven largest national markets.
Pantone, market leader in colour matching systems, has announced that Marsala, an earthy reddish-brown shade named after the fortified wine, is its colour of 2015. It describes Marsala as impactful, full-bodied and elegant.
Barclays Bank has introduced a face-to-face video banking facility allowing premier service customers to communicate with bank staff from mobiles or tablets. The service could be extended to all customers during 2015.
New research from e-commerce specialist Skrill concludes that 54% of UK consumers are using digital wallets to pay for goods online, thus avoiding the need to fill out merchants’ order forms.
Derby-based digital and offline marketing agency Essential Marketing Solutions will be relocating to larger premises next month. The move to The Mill in Derby’s Lodge Lane is part of an expansion programme planned for 2015.Alan Page provides copywriting services to the agency.
Grenoble in France is the first European city to ban outdoor advertising. All 300-plus large scale hoardings and billboards will be removed by next April. Some of the areas will be offered to social and cultural groups to “express themselves”. The municipality is controlled by the Green Party.
Twitter’s declared intention of beefing up its earnings growth has taken a severe knock after leading ratings agency Standard & Poor’s downgraded its debt to ‘junk’ status.
Regulator Ofcom plans to sell off more of the publicly-owned radio spectrum, probably in Autumn 2015, providing wider high capacity 4G mobile coverage in the UK.
Johnston Press has admitted that staff morale is suffering through extensive job cuts, as the regional publisher attempts to stem losses. The statement followed a notice that editorial teams at its three leading titles in Scotland will be merged, with a further loss of 45 posts. Meanwhile, Trinity Mirror plans to close at least 10 local papers in the south-east.
Revered weekly business magazine ‘The Economist’ has launched its first ever daily edition as it seeks to take advantage of digital opportunities. Its editor-in-chief said: “There is a huge market out there we couldn’t get to in print that we can reach now.”
Only 32% of Fortune 500 chief executives have a presence on social media sites, according to new research by business intelligence company Domo. LinkedIn is the most popular platform for these industry leaders, at over 25% take-up.
Mercury Marine, the world’s largest manufacturer of boat engines, is celebrating 75 years in business. It was started in 1939, working out of a converted barn near the shores of Lake Michigan. As of 2014 it employs over 5,200 people.Alan Page agency-managed Mercury’s European advertising, PR and promotions for 15 years.
Between now and next March the Lloyds banking group will review all digital and traditional media planning and buying for Lloyds Bank, Halifax, Bank of Scotland and Scottish Widows.
Exclusive jeweller Cartier has won a High Court injunction requiring internet service providers to block websites using its trademark. A spokesperson described it as a “positive step” in the fight to protect brands from the sale of counterfeit goods online.
BBC News is running second to CNN as the leading news brand across Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America. That’s the finding of a study from global market researcher Ipsos. CNN is ahead by every yardstick used, with its digital audience estimated at 99 million visitors, four times that of the BBC.
In a survey of 1,000 UK shoppers by e-commerce service provider Digital River, 78% said that they would buy from Amazon if their preferred brand’s website didn’t offer what they wanted or was difficult to use. Only 22% would go to a retail outlet. Yet Amazon has shocked the marketplace with an announcement that it is going to open its first bricks and mortar store, in New York.
Billy Butlin proclaimed: “A week’s holiday for a week’s wages” when he opened his first seaside camp in Skegness. Billy, knighted in 1964, died aged 80. His former leisure empire now nears 80 as well and is seeking a new agency to carry out a complete rebranding.
Globally operating marketing superstar partners eBay and PayPal will be split into separate publicly traded entities in 2015, it has been revealed. Meanwhile, Hewlett-Packard plans to restructure, with its profitable computers and printers activity detached from struggling corporate hardware and services.
Over 60% of people act on advertisements they read in their local press, according to the Newspaper Society.
Kent-based accountancy practice Creaseys has warned that Euro-wide VAT changes for e-traders who provide web hosting, online auctions and downloadables to the public will include a requirement to VAT register in every country in which they sell, unless they complete new online forms quickly.Alan Page manages PR for Creaseys.
Apple has retained its title of UK CoolBrand for the third consecutive year. The result followed an independent poll of 2,000 consumers and the views of a panel of influential observers. Runners-up were Aston Martin and Nike.
ITV Commercial has launched Ad Show, a new advertising format aimed at regional and small businesses. Advertisers can choose from templates and adapt existing print and radio assets. One of the first to sign up is Macclesfield-based furniture retailer Arighi Bianchi.
The National Union of Journalists has called off planned strikes over BBC News job cuts. In return, there will be no compulsory job losses before April 2015 and voluntary redundancies will be deferred.
Rivals Google and Yahoo are co-operating to create a secure e-mail system that they claim will make it virtually impossible for hackers, snoopers or the service providers themselves to read users’ messages. It will be ready sometime next year.
What is the most irritating waffle at management meetings? Try these: dive deeper, think outside the box, it’s on my radar, no brainer, move the needle, back to the drawing board and at the end of the day. Uttered drivel.
Government will miss its target of superfast broadband access in 95% of the UK by 2017, warns thinkbroadband.com after recent research. It adds that rural districts will continue to lag behind the larger conurbations, in spite of further investment totalling £250 million.
The McDonald’s Corporation is celebrating 40 years of making UK kids self-indulgent and obese. There’s a new set of TV adverts and a supportive outdoor posters campaign to mark the occasion.
In recent years Schneider Electric has brought over 100 brands into its portfolio and the latest to have its name changed to that of the parent is cable management specialist Mita.Alan Page managed PR for one of Schneider Electric’s largest acquisitions, industrial control business Telemecanique.
Google has been told to add a steering wheel and pedals to its driverless cars so that a human could take over in case of a software glitch. The ruling is from California State, where the autonomous cars are being road tested.
The 60,000 residents of Cupertino in California – home of technology giant Apple – are about to get what is believed to be the fastest internet service in the world, 100 times quicker than in the average US dwelling. A high-definition movie will take around 30 seconds to download. AT&T is to provide the service.
The Oxford Dictionary has announced the latest set of words to be added to its website database, including ‘adorbs’, ‘bro hug’, ‘clickbait’, ‘geocache’, ‘mansplain’, ‘sentiment-analysis’ and ‘subtweet’. This newest intake is more digitally related than ever.
BBC world affairs editor John Simpson is reportedly the latest senior employee of the corporation to lambast its direction, labelling it as ‘grotesquely managed by a cabal of tough women’.
City TV in Birmingham has gone into liquidation without screening a single show. The would-be broadcaster was the first of the local networks to be authorised by former UK media minister Jeremy Hunt, receiving its licence in November 2012 as one of 30 new limited-range stations.
Mercury Marine, the world’s largest manufacturer of recreational boat engines, is nearing completion of a $20 million project to expand its main manufacturing space in Wisconsin, USA. Nearly 3,000 are employed at the facility.Alan Page established and led Mercury Marine’s pan-European marcoms agency team.
A new study by UK media watchdog Ofcom has revealed that more people are browsing websites than reading newspapers to catch up with the news.
Google has bought three year old music streaming service Songza for a reported $39 million.
British horse racing’s main funding body the Levy Board has reported increased income to £70.1 million for its last financial year, more than £56 million of which was contributed to racecourse prize money.Alan Page’s involvement with racing began in the 1970s.
The National Association of Local Councils has told members to stop parish councillors from talking to the media without written consent. This amounts to a gagging order and an affront to democracy, the Chartered Institute of Journalists has stated.Alan Page is a CIoJ member.
International digital agency Razorfish says that its recent survey sample of 1,500 smartphone users in the UK, USA, China and Brazil shows that 77% regard mobile adverts as an unwelcome invasion of privacy.
Heavily in debt publisher Johnson Press is turning five of its daily newspapers into weeklies. The titles affected are in Halifax, Scarborough, Peterborough and two in Northampton, with a further 18 expected to follow by the end of this year.
Publicly traded but family co-owned medical technology business Dräger is 125 years old in 2014. Represented in 190 countries, it employs over 13,000 people.Alan Page handled Dräger Medical’s PR in the UK for many years.
Apple’s much awaited iWatches will go on sale this autumn, industry observers report, with up to 15 million devices shipped by the end of the year.
The UK’s advertising and media industry is the worst for giving females the chance to progress, according to 1,000 working women surveyed by careers company Talking Talent. The sector also scored badly for workplace prejudice, flexibility and work/life balance. In general, accountancy rated highest.
The Advertising Standards Authority has commissioned an animated video to explain how it is working alongside panels of independent people from a cross-section of society to judge if an advert breaks its rules.
Matthew Clark is one of the largest drinks wholesalers in the UK, supplying about 1,000 lines to 16,000 pubs, clubs, hotels and restaurants. The company has always given high priority to marketing. Now it has bought its own agency: a majority stake in London-based Elastic.
Around $5.75 billion is being spent on advertising and sponsorship relating to this month’s football World Cup.
Mercury Marine’s ECO propeller has been named US boating industry’s product of the year for innovation and consumer impact. Designed to fit high performance outboard engines, the prop is said to improve fuel economy by 10%.Alan Page directed Mercury’s advertising and PR agency presence across Europe for 15 years.
When copywriter extraordinaire David Abbott and friends set up agency Abbott Mead Vickers they declared never to work on a cigarette account, although agencies were raking it in from tobacco promotion. Payback came years later when they won the Health Education Authority’s anti-smoking business, holding it for over a decade.
Newly-released figures show that the Advertising Standards Authority received over 31,000 complaints about UK adverts last year. Generating the most objections was the VIP electronic cigarette. Its television and YouTube output was accused of glamourising smoking and being sexist and degrading.
Research from UK-based mobile provider O2 suggests that 80% of people investigate small businesses online before making contact with them, underlining the importance of a strong internet presence.
It is reported that ITV will charge up to £300,000 for a 30-seconds advertising spot during matches featuring England at football’s World Cup in Brazil.
One of advertising’s biggest names, David Abbott, has died suddenly, aged 75. David was a brilliant copywriter and co-founded agency Abbott Mead Vickers in 1977, helping position it as an industry trend-setter before selling to international Omnicom.
Barclays Bank chief executive Antony Jenkins blames the mobile revolution for the impending closure of branches and thousands of job cuts. He told the BBC: “We all carry a mobile now and do things on line, in our own time and at our own convenience. What this means is that the nature of retail banking is changing fundamentally.”
UK broadcaster Channel 4 recorded a loss of £15 million in 2013, halving the shortfall for the previous period. Its chief executive has said break-even should be reached by the end of this year and the company is looking ahead with confidence.
Annual fees income at outer London marketing services agency GT Communicate topped £1 million for the first time in its sixth trading year, ended recently. Figures were boosted by new commissions in brewing, furnishings manufacture, hotels and retailing.Alan Page writes advertisements for the agency’s clients.
Sir Martin Sorrell, chief executive at worldwide advertising conglomerate WPP, was awarded a performance-related pay package of £30 million in the last financial year, as newly-released figures show.
New York mass media business Viacom has bought Britain’s Channel Five for £450 million, adding the station to its MTV, Nickleodeon and Comedy Central portfolio.
GlobalWebIndex in London has published survey results pointing to a trend among teenagers of turning away from traditional social media to embrace more private and instant communications sites. Apparently, use of Facebook dropped by nearly 10% while Snapchat soared 60% in the final quarter of 2013.
The Advertising Association expects UK advertising to grow by around 5.5% this year. Total spending in 2015 is forecast to exceed £20 billion for the first time and fast-expanding mobile ads should contribute £2.5 billion towards the total.
Among wearable technology owners, fitness bands at 61% of users are the most popular devices, followed by smart watches (45%), says research group Nielsen. More than half of wearables are donned by under-35s, divided more or less equally between the sexes.
Power transmission equipment manufacturer Twin Disc has announced a new boat directional system, Express Positioning, that allows precise finger-tip control of a vessel’s location and course.US-based Twin Disc’s corporate PR presence in Europe was established by Alan Page.
Yahoo is said to be ready to persuade Apple to drop Google as its default search device. Separately, leaked documents show that mobile phone manufacturer Nokia will rebrand soon as Microsoft Mobile.
Using its Liverpool-based procurement service, the UK Government has issued a new tender for public sector media buying, which could be worth £600 million over the next four years.
Google has bought drones business Titan Aerospace, starting a dog fight with Facebook to be the first to deliver internet services by aircraft and saying this will “improve the world” by extending connections to remote areas.
New UK Secretary of State in charge of media, Sajid Javid, takes responsibility for £1.2 billion of government largesse. Tory MP for Bromsgrove, he is the son of a bus driver, went to comprehensive school, onwards to become the youngest ever vice-president of Chase Manhattan Bank, then managing director of Deutsche Bank.
With Twitter’s growth slowing, it is beta-testing a click-to-call button which would allow mobile Twitter users to engage with advertisers directly. This is an attempt to cash in on the local advertising market: restaurants offering meal deals within a fixed radius, for instance.
Britain’s race horse breeding industry, said to be worth £280 million per year and supporting 86,000 jobs, is in a critical state, according to its trade association. It is claimed that a majority of breeders cannot make profits because too many foals are imported from Ireland and France. Government support is being sought.Alan Page has consultancy links with horse racing.
Johnston Press has sold its 14 Irish Republic news titles to Iconic Newspapers for £7.2 million, having paid £115 million to acquire them in 2005. The company is recorded as making losses of £287 million last year.
Advertising changes behaviour by persuading you to buy something you didn’t know you needed, swap from one brand to another, stop doing something, or head off in a new direction. It is formulated to appeal to the heart more often than to the head. But the strong growth of comparison sites is bringing about a rebalance. For instance, research shows that 77% of consumers use such sites to switch car insurance.
Top-selling UK national newspaperThe Sun will include Twitter hashtags against selected stories each day, encouraging readers to offer opinions and continue exchanges online.
Free-to-join online business network LinkedIn has passed the 15 million membership mark in the UK. Launched in May 2003 and headquartered in California, LinkedIn claims around 260 million members in total.
US-originated digital magazineBusiness Insider is to create a UK edition, run from London and taking on The Financial Times, The Economist and Europe’s version of the Wall Street Journal.
Worldwide, 105 journalists and media staff are known to have been killed in the line of duty during 2013. The International Federation of Journalists says that they lost their lives through incidents such as targeted attacks, bombings and crossfire. Asia Pacific was the deadliest region, accounting for 29% of deaths.
Mercury outboard engines, revered by generations of boaters the world over, are jet black in appearance and always have been. But Mercury has surprised the industry with an announcement that its 300 horsepower Verado model will be made available in white: said to complement virtually any boat design or style.Alan Page led Mercury’s PR and advertising agency team in Europe for 15 years.
UK television revenues rose 3.5% in 2013 to a record high of £4.63 billion. This was in spite of advertising rates falling by an average 38.5%.
A new study by YouGov shows that 59% of Twitter regulars in the UK use the platform to keep abreast of news summaries. A Twitter spokesman said that because it is live, public and conversational, people log on to follow breaking stories, then connect directly with news organisations and journalists.
Captain Birdseye has been demoted in a £16 million revamp of the famous fish fingers brand. The Captain, at the forefront of promotional activities for nearly 50 years, is being replaced by a TV family in an effort to appeal to a younger generation, although he won’t be disappearing altogether.
Facebook is shutting down its e-mail service, admitting that relatively few people have been using the product since its introduction in 2010.
International boat systems specialist Vetus is celebrating half a century in business. The company was founded in 1964 by the late Willem den Ouden, working from home in Rotterdam. Now with subsidiaries in 12 countries and distribution centres in The Netherlands, Australia and the USA, Vetus became part of Japan’s Yanmar Group last year.Yanmar is an Alan Page client.
Does the traditional press launch to announce something new have a future? Will journalists continue to turn up and report back from these meetings? For business purposes, almost certainly not. Nowadays, there are more effective and less expensive means of distributing messages: importantly, more direct ways of connecting brands to customers and prospects.
Optimism among UK businesses is at its highest in the 22 years that BDO, the country’s sixth-largest accountancy group, has been carrying out its surveys.
A new law to restrict local authority newspapers has cleared its final Parliamentary hurdle. Councils will be permitted a maximum of four news sheet editions per year and face a clampdown on politically biased content. This follows campaigning by the Chartered Institute of Journalists, citing circulation and advertising revenue damage to regional newspapers.Alan Page is a member of the CIoJ.
Innovative website development agency Steve Perry Creative has revamped its own site, www.steveperrycreative.com, to emphasise the breadth of service on offer from its Staffordshire studios.Steve Perry and Alan Page work together regularly.
BBC iPlayer has topped the 2013 YouGov Brandindex list for making buzz, the second year running it’s been number one. Brands were rated from public feedback to the question: “If you’ve heard anything about the brand … was it positive or negative?” John Lewis and Samsung shared second place, with Aldi and Dyson close behind.
Facebook has reported a 63% rise in revenue to $2.59 billion for the fourth quarter of 2013, with profits at $523 million. Advertising income leapt by 76% and an average 22% more users per day were recorded. The company will have been around for 10 years in early February.
Famous entrepreneur David Packard went on record as saying: “Marketing is far too important to be left to the marketing department.”
It’s the 30th anniversary of the first broadcast of Apple’s advertisement for the new Macintosh computer. The advert was shown at the football Super Bowl in Tampa Bay, January 1984.Alan Page bought his first Mac in 1989 and his current Apple armoury comprises iMac, Macbook Pro, iPad, iPhone and iPod Nano devices.
Last official ABC figures for UK newspapers in 2013 show that onlyThe Guardian saw growth in December and industry sales fell by 2.4% from November’s totals. Longer term decline is more marked. December circulations were 7.9% lower than in the same month of 2012. The Sun remains top of the heap, averaging a daily circulation of 2,043,810 – while The Independent props up the pile at just 67,266.
Tourism is leading the drive out of recession, now generating an annual $6.6 trillion worldwide and outstripping the financial, retail and manufacturing sectors. That’s according to a recent advertising industry newsletter published by London media independent Bygraves Bushell Valladares & Sheldon.BBV&S and Alan Page have shared many clients in a relationship lasting nearly three decades.
This year’s European Social & Digital Marketing Conference will take place at The Brewery, City of London, on March 31 and April 1. The first-day keynote session is going to deal with better understanding of the motivations and psychology behind buyers’ online behaviour.
According toThe Wall Street Journal, advertising spending by US businesses in 2013 was around $167 billion, three times more than the second biggest spenders, Japan. Ranked next highest were China and Germany, followed by the UK at $20 billion, which converts to well over £12 billion. A leading analyst says UK advertisers’ online investment for 2014 could leap by 20%, with advertising overall gaining by about 7%.
Boatbuilder Quicksilver is introducing its largest-ever day cruiser, the Activ 855, designed to carry 10 people in comfort for offshore and inshore voyages. It goes on display at this month’s Düsseldorf Boat Show.Alan Page helped launch the Quicksilver brand in Europe.
Surprisingly, IBM’s Global Survey for 2013 reports that less than one-third of marketers have integrated social media and mobile marketing with their other campaigns.
Yanmar’s latest water cooled, low emissions diesel engine for agricultural and construction use is to be manufactured in China and sold throughout Asia. It is planned that production should reach 60,000 units per annum.Yanmar is an Alan Page client for press relations and copywriting.