REPORTING & RETORTING

TAKING STOCK

According to a new survey by online photographic library Shutterstock, 51% of marketers interviewed claim to have reviewed policies because of the Advertising Standards Authority’s clampdown on gender stereotyping in advertising, due to take effect in February.

YUMMY FOR SOME

Pizza Hut, owned by Yum Brands, has been struggling against main competitor Domino’s, plus new entrants such as Just Eat and Deliveroo. One result is a review of its £10 million UK advertising account, just announced. The incumbent agency is Ogilvy & Mather, appointed in 2014.

OLDER YOUNGER

Research undertaken by recruitment company CV Library has found that 76% of respondents, all marketers, state that age discrimination is widespread in their own workplaces. The prejudice, it seems, is at both ends of the age spectrum: too old and too young.

DIGITAL THREE-IN-ONE

ITV News is about to launch three online-only programme formats, hosted by Julie Etchingham, Rageh Omaar and Robert Peston. ‘Ask a Woman’ will be a series of Julie Etchingham pre-recorded interviews with influential women; ‘Young British and Muslim’ will be a series of discussions about news topics, led by Rageh Omaar; and Robert Peston’s new show, called ‘Now What?’, will be a half-hour format set of interviews exploring issues of the day. Starting dates have not been released.

END OF ROAD

Press reports have suggested that Spanish banking group Santander will not be renewing its Formula One main sponsorship of Ferrari next season, a deal that has been worth €280 million to the Italian racing team.

PITCHING IN

Topical tip: When pitching for new business, don’t leave costs until last. Refer to them much earlier on, using them to demonstrate value. You need to make reasonable charge for your services and there is nothing to gain from hiding financial aspects.

FAILURE TO CONNECT

UK financial institutions could be worse off by £130 billion because of failure to connect with female customers, according to a new study compiled by WPP data and research subsidiary Kantar. Conclusions were reached after employing facial recognition technology to view men and women when presented with finance-related adverts. Among findings, 65% of women appear to have low confidence in financial services, 10% more than men. Kantar has called for increased promotional campaigns dedicated to women.

STILL NO ADVERTS

Netflix, 20 years old and now available in 190 countries, has been under growing pressure to allow advertising on its platform, but the media company has repeated that it will protect customers’ experiences by remaining ad-free. A spokesman said Netflix’s focus is on being a personalised streaming service that gives back control to its users.

THINKING IT THROUGH

Topical tip: Failure to give attention to detailed public relations planning can prove costly in the long run. Right from the start, you need to devote time to thinking it through, with clarity and purpose. It is easy to feel that things are happening for you, but be sure that you’re restricting activities to what is necessary and will prove to be productive.

RUSSIAN ADS SWITCH

Vladimir Putin’s banning of online anonymisers and virtual private networks has not stopped the value of Russia's internet advertising overtaking television for the first time. According to business newspaper ‘Kommersant’, Russian ad spending in the third quarter of this year was R41 billion on the internet, R36.5 billion on TV.

E-CIGS SCRUTINY

The cross-party science and technology committee of the House of Commons is setting up an enquiry into e-cigarettes, thought to be used by nearly three million people in the UK. The inquiry will look at the impact of the devices on health, their effectiveness in helping people to stop taking tobacco, the suitability of guidance regulations and the financial implications for the NHS.

TWITTER SLOWING

Twitter UK’s revenue growth slowed down in its last accounting year, with turnover up by 4% compared with 31% for the previous 12 months. Pre-tax profits fell to £2.7 million from £3.4 million as Google and Facebook took bigger shares of digital advertising. Twitter is reputed to have 22 million active users in the UK.

HASHTAGS BONUS

Topical tip: Hashtags are hyperlinked, taking users to public posts that include the same hashtag. This can be invaluable in pushing your content to a wider audience and helping to identify those most likely to actively engage with your business. As a bonus, hashtags are free to use.

CONDOLENCES

The Chartered Institute of Journalists has expressed horror and deep condolences over the murder of anti-corruption journalist and Institute member Daphne Caruana Galizia, who has been car-bombed in Malta.

KICKING A HABIT

The gambling industry now accounts for almost half of shirt sponsorships in the English Premier League and 42% of perimeter advertising sales income in the Football League. More than 70% of bets placed with UK bookmakers involve football.

AT A LOSS

Digital media publisher BuzzFeed UK doubled turnover in its last financial year, reaching £20.5 million, but made a pre-tax loss of £3.3 million. A spokesman said the results were in line with expectations, considering BuzzFeed UK’s early growth phase and continuing investments in overseas subsidiaries.

BUILD TRUST

Topical tip: Albert Einstein was quoted as saying: “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” Make your messages clear, concise, straightforward and direct, so that your target audience will understand the benefits as quickly as possible. Engage, build trust and encourage take-up. If in doubt, turn to a professional.

OUT OF PRINT

‘The Wall Street Journal’ has ceased publication of its European and Asian print editions, as it attempts to rebalance business towards digital output and subscriptions. The decision comes in the wake of reported losses of $643 million (£479 million) at parent company News Corp.

GROCERY BATTLES

Online retailer Ocado has appointed OMD UK as its first media agency for its estimated £10 million account. Aiming to strengthen the brand, Ocado’s expansion into television advertising heralds new battles with its supermarket and digital rivals.

ENGINEERING GIRLS

Vehicles manufacturer General Motors (GM) has teamed up with Girls Who Code, a non-profit group that organises close-of-day programmes in US schools, universities and community centres. With a target of reaching 100,000 girls, GM’s stated purpose is to foster a new generation of female engineering talent.

CHEERS

C&C Group, owner of a range of ciders, including Bulmers, Blackthorn and Magnum, plus Tennants lager, is to increase brand visibity in public houses through the acquisition of Admiral Taverns. Admiral operates 845 pubs across England and Wales, mainly in urban and suburban areas.

CAPITAL IDEA

Topical tip: If your domain name consists of two or more words strung together, try capitalising each of them in your contact and promotional material. This should help people to remember the site’s address.

LESS ADVERTS

The world’s largest advertising group, London-based WPP, has seen its shares fall by over 10% after cutting its revenue forecast and warning that growth is slowing. Advert bookings dropped 4.7% and net sales fell 0.5% in the first half of this year, compared to 2016. Two of WPP’s rivals, Interpublic and Dentsu Aegis Network, warned recently that their growth figures would be disappointing.

BETS OFF

The Advertising Standards Authority seems likely to take action against betting companies 888, Casumo, Ladbrokes and Sky Vegas after it upheld recent complaints over adverts disguised as news articles that it said targeted vulnerable people.

LOCAL NEWS CRISIS

In the light of the recent demise of the ‘Oldham Evening News’ with the loss of 40 jobs and further newspaper closures in Cambridgeshire and Kent, the Chartered Institute of Journalists has called it a crisis and wants the setting up of a research and development project to find new ways of sustaining regional and local editorial media.

STAYING INTERESTED

Topical tip: Getting everyone involved is key to a successful face-to-face business workshop. If you do all the talking you’re merely lecturing. By encouraging people to interact, they will start to look at their roles in the organisation from different perspectives, sympathise more with colleagues, and stay interested.

MOBILE MAIL

A new report by email delivery specialist Return Path, after analysing 27 billion business emails opened in the year to April 2017, asserts that 55% were opened on mobile devices, compared with 29% during the previous 12 months. Almost 80% were via Apple iOS.

JUST DUNKIN'

Dunkin’ Donuts is consumer testing an abbreviated brand name in the US. The Dunkin’ only branding is part of a marketing strategy aimed at repositioning it as a beverage-led product. It seems that if the trial performs well there could be a worldwide rebranding next year.

COST CUTTERS

Newspaper publisher Trinity Mirror expects to cut costs by up to £20 million before the end of 2017, it said, after revealing that print advertising revenue fell by 27% in the first half of this year. Profit before tax was down 12.7% to £61.3 million and total revenue declined by 14.2%.

GETTING PERSONAL

Topical tip: Personalisation enhances the inclination of prospects to read your through-the-letterbox mailers by creating a sense of familiarity. It also lets them know that they are important to your business.

ROBOT RELIANCE

Over one-third of 2,000 UK consumers interviewed in a recent study by Mediavest Spark said they are convinced robots will be running our lives by 2030. There is pessimism about such a robot-intensive future, with 55% thinking we will be too reliant on robots and 40% believing the rise in robot numbers will mean a drop in human interaction.

TREADING

Tyre giant Michelin has awarded its global media account to Havas, headquartered in Paris. Havas will handle all of Michelin’s media planning and buying activities worldwide, operating from its Chicago and Paris offices.

POSTER PERMISSION

The Advertising Standards Authority has cleared a controversial outdoor campaign in Northern Ireland which supports the province’s stance on abortion. Pro-life lobbyists Both Lives Matter produced the posters to mark 50 years since the passing of the Abortion Act in the UK, not adopted in Northern Ireland. It claims that: “100,000 people are alive today because of our laws on abortion."

INVOLVING STAFF

Topical tip: Involving your existing staff when seeking new employees could mean that they will recommend candidates, help you with assessments and advise on how well prospects might fit into your organisation. More than likely, personnel who participate in the recruitment process will want newcomers to succeed.

NO END IN SIGHT

Broadcaster Channel 4 has had to dip into its financial reserves and warns that there is no end in sight to the current TV advertising recession. It has announced a pre-tax loss of £15 million for the last trading year, in spite of a marginal rise in revenue. This follows a £26 million profit in the previous 12 months.

LOOK AT NETFLIX

Online streaming leader Netflix has surprised analysts with a greater than expected increase in subscriber numbers, now 104 million globally. This leap has helped propel Netflix to a 32% rise in revenues for the last quarter. Shares have responded in kind, showing a double digit lift.

REMOVING HURDLES

With the aim of making racehorse ownership simpler and more affordable, the BHA, racing’s governing body in the UK, has introduced a new digital system for the registration and administration of owners’ investments. The types of ownership have been reduced from eight to five, the fees structure has been simplified and there is a new help desk.

COMMERCIAL BENEFITS

Topical tip: When seeking sponsorship, be aware that in order to succeed in your quest it will be as much about your potential supporters’ needs as your own. The commercial benefits must be clear and sustainable.

NOT BITING

Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, has told an audience in Montreal that he “tries to avoid Google and Facebook” in his life because of their massive data collection operations, used for advertising purposes. He said: “They know everything about us. They own everything, they can sell it for anything, and we don’t get any of it”.

BIG BOARDS

Primesight has retained Britain’s biggest contract for roadside advertising panels, Network Rail’s 2,000 billboards, worth £125 million. The new deal, won in competitive tender, will last for seven years. It is claimed that the adverts reach 78% of the UK population.

BBC NOT OUT

Live cricket will return to BBC screens in 2020 after a 21-year absence. Men’s and women’s matches are to be included in the new deal with the England & Wales Cricket Board. However, Sky TV will retain the bulk of coverage, moving it to a dedicated cricket channel.

ENSURE SATISFACTION

Topical tip: When preparing your Adwords or other online campaigns, make sure that your adverts will attract attention, raise immediate interest, convince people of the desirability of your product or service, lead them to take action and ensure satisfaction once they choose to visit your site.

UNDERSTANDING 'NO'

An investigation by the Information Commissioner’s Office into UK supermarket chain Morrisons has found that over a period of two months last year 130,000 emails were sent to people who had opted out of receiving them. Morrisons has been fined £10,500.

INTERNET JOB CUTS

The new owner of Internet businesses Yahoo and AOL, telecoms giant Verizon, is expected to cut the inherited workforce by over 2,000 – around 15%. Verizon was founded 17 years ago as a $70 billion joint venture between communications companies Bell Atlantic of the US and Britain’s Vodafone. The Vodafone share was bought out in 2014.

LESS BOUNCE

Topical tip: Are you about to choose a website designer? Leave alone those who concentrate all efforts on look and feel. Important, yes, but the site has to perform for you. Success will be measured by increased traffic, reduced bounce rates and improved sales conversions.

SMALLER GUARDIAN

Reportedly, ‘The Guardian’ daily newspaper is about to abandon its 12-year-old Berliner page size in favour of the smaller tabloid dimensions of its red top rivals. Needing to cut costs in the light of falling readership, print operations seem likely to be moved to the Trinity Mirror presses, which are geared up to tabloid production.

DELOITTE DEVOURS

UK-incorporated professional services multinational Deloitte has bought design consultancy Market Gravity, which has offices in London, Edinburgh, New York and Toronto. Deloitte employs a quarter of a million people and is ranked as one of the ‘big four’ international accountants. Market Gravity, by contrast, has an establishment of around 60.

AD BLOCKERS

Starting early 2018, web browser Chrome, part of Google, will block all adverts that are not compliant with new online standards issued by the Coalition for Better Ads. Coalition members include advertising and marketing trade bodies from around Europe and the USA, plus companies such as Google, News Corp, Procter & Gamble and Thomson Reuters.

LUMPY

Topical tip: The fundamental challenge of most direct mail campaigns is to succeed in getting your envelopes opened. Mailers containing a lumpy item are far more likely to achieve this goal, for people become curious to know what is inside.

LOANS LISTED

New regulations on UK payday loan providers have taken effect. All lenders are now required to advertise on at least one price comparison website and include links to their own sites. The changes are aimed at giving borrowers a clearer understanding of the charges involved and to make it easier for new entrants to compete with established brands.

ONE OF THE BEST

Multi award-winning television commercials writer and director Graham Rose has died aged 68, six months after a cancer diagnosis. In a 40-year career he brought many famous campaigns to the screen, including Allied Dunbar’s “There may be trouble ahead” and the Heineken “Pride & Prejudice” spoof. But it was the Hamlet Cigars photo booth sequence with which he will always be associated, featuring a complete hash of trying to take the perfect self-portrait. It was named ‘Ad of the Century’ at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival.

LESS THAN SNAPPY

Snap, owner of mobile messaging app Snapchat, has reported a $2.21 billion (£1.71 billion) loss in its first set of earnings since becoming a public company. Shares fell, wiping almost 25% off Snap’s value. In the UK, Snapchat user figures have slipped, except in the buoyant 18-24 age group, which now accounts for nearly half the audience.

MAKING AN EXHIBITION

Topical tip: Once you’ve attracted visitors to your exhibition stand, it is vital to engage with them positively. People don’t attend exhibitions to interact with social media walls, enter competitions or receive free giveaways – although these can help drive footfall. Visitors search for the latest solutions that will help overcome their business problems and make their working lives easier. And so there needs to be real substance behind your show stand.

MORE TALK

Following a 26% rise in annual profits to £165 million, UK telecoms brand TalkTalk has said it will increase its marketing spend over the next 12 months in order to consolidate growth.

FACEBOOK SOARS

Facebook’s advertising sales in first quarter 2017 shot up by more than half to $7.86 billion, equivalent to around £6.11 billion. Mobile advertising contributed 85% to sales and Facebook now has 1.94 billion regularly active users.

SKY BUYS

Sky has acquired social content producer Diagonal View – whose online channels include ‘The Football Daily’ – for an undisclosed sum. Aims are to broaden engagement with a younger, digitally focused audience and offer greater opportunities to online advertisers. Diagonal View has 15 million subscribers.

FAKING IT

Topical tip: Don’t be misled by online fake news. If in doubt, first check out the web URL to authenticate the source – it is common practice for fakers to hijack a well-recognised media site using a .co or .info address. Often, it won’t take more than a click-through to verify that it is a legitimate news organisation. Look for additional trusted sites that corroborate the information. If the story can’t be independently substantiated, it might well be irresponsible garbage.

SUBARU REVIEW

Specialist four-wheel drive car maker Subaru is said to be talking to several advertising agencies about its UK requirements, ahead of a review. The niche brand spent over £2 million on UK media last year.

BRAND BORROWERS

US magazine ‘License Global’ has reported that there were $272 million sales of retail merchandise around the world last year. The Walt Disney Company accounted for $56.6 million of that figure.

HUMAN JUDGEMENT

An alliance of regional publishers, including Archant, DC Thompson, Johnston Press and Newsquest, has published an open letter claiming advantages of switching promotional budgets from digital to local. This is in the wake of the confidence crisis surrounding possible damage to brands when using digital platforms such as YouTube. Newsquest’s chief executive Henry Faure Walker said: “Our content is produced by highly skilled journalists, it is regulated, it relies on human judgement and discretion as opposed to blind algorithms, and it reaches millions of people in communities throughout the UK. As a result, our advertising is trusted, safe and highly responsive."

BLUEPRINT

Topical tip: A detailed design brief is the project’s blueprint, setting out the budget, challenges, scope, expectations and goals. Providing more information to the designer is far better than not giving him or her enough.

PRESSURE ON MARKETING

Multinational Unilever said it will put pressure on its marketing teams to improve their return on investment. This is part of a drive to win back support from shareholders, critical of the recent collapse of a takeover bid from Kraft Heinz. Other measures are likely to include the sale of Unilever’s spreads business, with long-established brands such as Bertolli, Flora and Stork set to fetch around £4.6 billion.

HALF-PRICE TV

Priced at $35 per month, YouTube TV, ready to be launched in the United States, will cost half the amount of most cable packages, yet it will contain premium programmes from the likes of ABC, CBS, Disney, ESPN, FOX and NBC. YouTube has partnered with local television stations to enable viewing of regional news and sport. Customers will be able to pay for additional specialist programmes.

CLICK ON AMAZON

Amazon in the UK generated nearly 35 million desktop clicks on paid-for Google listings last year, about 8.5 million more than the next advertiser, booking.com, according to Kantar Media.

BROADBAND PAYBACK

Britain’s telecoms watchdog Ofcom has issued a new proposal concerning poor service by landline and broadband companies. Slow repairs and missed appointments could lead to automatic compensation for customers, costing the industry an estimated £200 million per year. Ofcom director Lindsey Fussell said: “When the service goes down, that is frustrating enough without having to fight tooth and nail to get fair compensation from the provider."

LOCAL OR MASS MARKET

Topical tip: When outdoor advertising is under consideration, a starting point should be clarity over whether local impact or mass awareness is the priority. There are benefits to be gained from both strategies, influenced strongly by target markets and the budget. Whichever, make sure that your messages are short, snappy and memorable.

MISPLACED ADVERTS

Google will do more to protect advertisers from appearing adjacent to contentious output, its UK managing director Ronan Harris has stated. Using a blog, he said: “We’ve heard from our advertisers and agencies loud and clear that we could provide simpler, more robust ways to stop their ads from showing against controversial content.” Google and other platforms have been under pressure since it was revealed that top brands such as Marks & Spencer, Mercedes Benz and Waitrose had been unwittingly funding political extremists and pornography merchants via misplaced adverts online.

MILKING IT

Britain’s dairy industry has invited agencies to pitch for creative work that should lead to a new advertising campaign in support of what is described as “the underlying integrity of dairy foods”. Dairy UK, which is the supply chain’s trade body, and AHDB Dairy, representing farmers, are leading the agency search.

SPLITTING THE COST

Topical tip: Consider splitting advertising costs with those who sell to you. Your suppliers could welcome the opportunity of additional exposure at a reduced outlay. This should also cement business relationships.

RECORD PROFITS

WPP, the British-based multinational advertising and PR group, which is the world’s largest by revenue, has posted record net profits, up by more than 20% to £1.5 billion. Founder and chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell was quoted as saying that the strong performance has been due to “an ability to take advantage of consolidation trends in the industry”, leading to substantial new-business wins.

UNSKIPPABLE

YouTube has announced that it will stop showing 30-second unskippable adverts and focus on shorter formats, with effect from 2018. This follows widespread criticism from consumers.

SUN SHINING

‘The Sun’ has overtaken the ‘Daily Mirror’ in the digital newspaper readership stakes to be placed second behind the UK’s most popular online paper, the ‘Daily Mail’. According to the latest monthly figures from measurement and analytics company ComScore, the top three reached 29.3 million, 25.4 million and 23.8 million respectively. In terms of overall UK news website traffic the BBC attracted almost 40 million unique readers.

TAKE THE TROUBLE

Topical tip: The most successful companies at exhibitions and trade shows, in terms of business generated, are those that take the trouble to contact their customers and prospects before the event and have an efficient system for logging and following up leads.

BAD FIT FOR JOBS

Retailer John Lewis is to shed nearly 400 jobs and has announced that staff bonuses will be significantly lower than last year. The job cuts will affect 773 in household fitting services and store restaurants, but many will be able to apply for new posts within the organisation.

SERVICE OVER PRICE

A new survey of around 1,100 adults in the UK by Shoppercentric has concluded that just over 50% regard service as more important than price when shopping. One year ago, the figure was 39%. Further findings were that there has been a shift away from single weekly shopping and the use of local specialist shops is on the increase.

GLOBAL COSTA

Costa Coffee is looking for a single agency to create six global campaigns a year, as well as brand development across the UK and other markets, including Poland, the UAE, China and SE Asia. Caroline Harris, global brand director at owners Whitbread, said: “As we move from being a UK company with presence in a number of overseas markets to a truly global brand, we need to take a step back and ensure that we have the right agency structure in place to take advantage of this new focus."

UK CONFIDENCE

Facebook has announced plans to bolster its UK workforce by hiring an additional 500 people, including marketers, sales staff, project managers and engineers. Meanwhile, Google has reaffirmed commitment to the UK with its new £1 billion London headquarters, opening later this year.

WORTH THE EXTRA

Topical tip: It is worth spending extra to make sure that your advertising tells people graphically and memorably about why and how they can benefit from your products or service.

MANAGEMENT CHANGES

Crystal Amber, new majority shareholder in newspaper publisher Johnston Press, is expected to demand an overhaul of the company’s senior management. Johnston Press shares have tumbled by nearly 80% in the last 12 months. Leading titles include ‘The Scotsman’, ‘Yorkshire Post’ and ‘Lancashire Evening Post.'

TOO OLD

In a new membership survey by the UK’s Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, 25% of respondents said they have been given the reason “too old” when being turned down for a job. Almost 80% agreed with the statement: “I think the industry comes across as ageist”. Separate consumer research indicates that 31% of the public would like to see more older people in advertising.

UNSPORTING

‘Sport’ magazine, launched more than 10 years ago, has closed. The 300,000 copies per week freebie was published by the Wireless Group, owners of Virgin Radio and TalkSPORT. Rupert Murdoch’s News UK paid £220 million for the Wireless Group in 2016.

PUTTING IT SIMPLY

Topical tip: President Trump’s inaugural speech showed the effectiveness of using simple language. When people understand what someone is saying without having to think about it, they have more confidence in what is being said. You should be making your points simply: again and again if necessary.

BULLY'S CHARTER

The Chartered Institute of Journalists has condemned the UK government’s proposed Section 40 of the Crime & Courts Act as a “bully’s charter”. If implemented, Section 40 would extend state regulation of the press, in particular with regard to the exposure of alleged wrongdoing.

CREATIVE WORK

Bauer Media has won a £1.8 million government grant to support up to 1,200 people with London-based courses aimed at helping them to gain work in the creative industries. Training programmes will last for between two weeks and six months, scheduled to consist of a mixture of vocational training, one-to-one coaching, taster sessions, work placement and mentoring.

ASK AND RECEIVE

Topical tip: Switch your marketing focus away from formulating answers to be more on asking sincere questions, thereby opening dialogue with your customer base.

SMOKELESS

Public Health England has launched a new PR campaign, featuring children’s television personality Dr Ranj Singh, to encourage adults to stop smoking. Using Facebook and other online media, the campaign shows Dr Singh working with primary school children to create images about the damage that smoking causes to health.

HACKATHON

Premier League football club Manchester City is to partner with Google to host a February ‘hackathon’. Invitees are likely to be programmers, designers, researchers, strategists, marketers and social media specialists. They will focus on innovative ways to engage with global fans.

NEW AND VINTAGE

BBC Worldwide and ITV will share an equal majority stake in a new joint venture called Britbox. The scheme is aimed at boosting international revenues by providing an advert-free streaming subscription service which will give viewers in the US access to a digital catalogue of new and vintage British TV content. The US market for streaming is estimated to be worth $8 billion annually.