REPORTING & RETORTING

ONLINE CAR AUCTIONS

The UK Competition & Markets Authority has approved a car auctioning joint venture between Auto Trader and Cox Automotive. This new online service is intended to provide car manufacturers, fleet operators and retailers with an efficient and convenient way to move stock.

DUTCH TO ENGLISH

Dutch business news website De Correspondent plans to launch a version in English after crowdfunding $2.5 million in less than a month. Much of the new capital will be used to set up an editorial centre in the US, expected by mid-2019.

WHEN THE FUN STOPS

The UK's betting industry group for responsible gambling has confirmed that there won't be betting advertisements on television during pre-9pm live sport, starting next year. There will also be a five minute window before and after live events which will be free from such adverts. Exceptions will be horse and greyhound racing because of the importance of betting for the existence of these sports.

FLEET FIRST

The birth of the daily newspaper as we know it can be traced back to a rambling house on the east bank of the River Fleet in London more than three centuries ago. There, in March 1702, the Daily Courant became the UK’s first daily. A single sheet of two columns, with adverts on the back, it lasted for 33 years.

DISMOUNTING

Broadcaster Sky is pulling out of cycling. It has announced that its backing for Britain's highly successful professional cyclists at Team Sky will be withdrawn at the end of 2019. Sky claims to have inspired nearly two million people to cycle regularly since it became involved 10 years ago.

CULTURAL FIT

Topical tip: When evaluating an advertising or design agency, in addition to the must-have high standard of work, look for a capacity for broad understanding and a proven record of delivering results, on time and to budget. Also, your new agency will need to be a cultural fit for your business.

GOOD NEWS

Facebook is to donate £4.5 million to fund 80 jobs for trainees with local newspapers. The scheme, over the next two years, will take the form of a cash injection to be administered by the National Council for the Training of Journalists.

SHANGHAI SHUTTLE

The Advertising Association and Institute of Practitioners in Advertising have signed an agreement with the Shanghai International Advertising Festival to enhance the UK's ad industry presence at this major trade event next year. China will soon become the world's largest consumer market.

NEWSPAPERS BUYOUT

National and regional newspaper publisher Johnston Press has been the subject of a buyout by a group dominated by its major bond holders. New JPI Media stepped in before Johnston Press called in administrators in the light of £220 million of debts. As part of the deal, debts have been reduced and £35 million of working capital has been invested.

STILL BITING

Apple remains the world’s most valuable brand, according to the latest annual report from Interbrand. Google was second, followed by Amazon, Microsoft and Coca-Cola. The report is in its nineteenth year.

INSURANCE CLAIMS

Britain's first reverse-auction marketplace for car insurance will have a nationwide launch early in 2019. Honcho, based in Durham, expects turnover to reach £600,000 in its first year and £12 million within three years.

BOOK AHEAD

Topical tip: At many trade exhibitions you can pre-book appointments at the stands of businesses and other organisations with which you want to enter into discussions. This enables you to avoid queues and frustrations connected with the right people being unavailable. It’s all part of making the most of the event.

CREATIVELY ALONE

According to the Creative Industries Federation, almost half of people in the UK's creative sector are freelancers, compared with 15% across the workforce as a whole.

FACEBOOK FIGHT

Legal action against Facebook has been brought in the US, accusing the social network of fraudulently inflating its advertising viewing figures by as much as 900%. Facebook is denying the claim and has filed its own court motion to dismiss the allegations.

YES WE ARE

The NHS plans to build on the success of its 'We are the NHS' campaign with a second phase aimed at encouraging students to consider careers in mental health, learning disability and community nursing.

CUSTOMERS' NEEDS

Topical tip: Many owners of small businesses talk with members of the family, friends and close colleagues when reviewing what they are offering and how they are performing. But family and friends are not necessarily the best contributors. To obtain more useful information it is necessary to talk to customers about their needs, plans and expectations.

APPLE FITNESS

In support of its latest version of Apple Watch, redesigned and with new levels of engineering, Apple has launched a promotional film, entitled 'Better You'. It depicts a man who is challenged to up his game by fitter, healthier versions of himself – making full use of the contraption on his wrist, of course.

MORE IN CHINA

China has overtaken the UK to become the world’s second-largest spender in television programming, behind the United States. According to research company HIS Markit, expenditures in 2017 were: $58.3 billion in the US, $10.9 billion China and $10 billion UK.

GOING OUT

Radio business Global has acquired Primesight and Outdoor Plus in a double deal that makes it a major player in the out-of-home (OHH) advertising sector. The Capital Radio and LBC owner is bringing its purchases together in a new division called Global Outdoor. The deal has been reported as being worth over £200 million.

AMAZON UNIFIES

Amazon is going to scrap its trading names Amazon Advertising Platform, Amazon Marketing Services and Amazon Media Group to bring all advertising products together under a single identity, Amazon Advertising. This unification process is expected to take several months.

PAST THE POST

ICS Media Group in Leeds has been acquired by the ‘Racing Post’ horse racing daily newspaper. The purpose is to broaden the publication’s business-to-business operations and extend its content offering into new areas.

LONDON FOCUS

Media agency UM has reported that more than half of UK consumers living away from London feel that adverts are too focused on the capital. Moreover, the sector doesn’t understand them. UM interviewed 2,000 people, mainly in the regions. A spokesperson said: “Brands would do well to remember that alienating vast swathes of the country is simply bad business".

OVER THE TOP

Over 10% of the world’s entire population use a subscription over-the-top (OTT) video service at least once per month, according to eMarketer. Nearly 765 million people are tuning in to watch content on the likes of Amazon Prime and Netflix. That figure is likely to increase by a quarter in 2018. Zenith Online revealed recently that global consumers are spending an average 67 minutes per day watching videos on their devices.

THERE TO BUY

Topical tip: Trade shows can be a most profitable opportunity to network and showcase your business. Research results indicate that an average of three-quarters of exhibition visitors are there to buy, or plan future buying. Speak to as many prospects as possible, be sure to note all contact details, then follow up those leads, staying focused on your original sales objectives.

IN THE PINK

Manchester United is about to introduce its first-ever pink shirts, a new away strip in tribute to the former 'Football Pink', which was published by the Manchester Evening News every Saturday afternoon. Closed in 2007 and much missed by local football fans, it hit the streets within minutes of Saturday matches finishing, carrying results, reports and league tables.

FOX HUNT

Mozilla is going to rebrand its Firefox open-source web browser, now 16 years old, and is asking users for feedback to help choose the new look. It says the current fast fox with flaming tail imagery is not representing the product range effectively.

PRIME TARGET

The Advertising Standards Authority has ruled that Amazon’s one-day delivery claim for its Prime subscription service is misleading and can no longer be used. Not all Prime items are available for delivery on the next day, but that has not been made clear. The watchdog found that Amazon’s claim breached the CAP Code rules, the UK standard for non-broadcast advertisements, sales promotions and direct marketing communications.

SKY HIGH

Sky has announced a 29% year-on-year revenue rise for its targeted advertising platform, AdSmart. More than 3.2 billion impressions were recorded over the period and 74% of advertisers using AdSmart had either not used television or not worked with Sky before. Sky’s overall revenues increased by 5% to £13.6 billion in its recently completed financial year.

EFFECTIVE ADVERTISING

Topical tip: Generally, television is still the best medium for image advertising. It is not a cost-effective vehicle for small businesses seeking to persuade people to buy goods or services, however. Expect online and mobile communications, radio and printed publications to be much more relevant.

APPLE TRILLION

Apple has become the first publicly traded company to be valued at $1 trillion. Founded in the 1970s by the late Steve Jobs, Apple started with Macintosh desktop computers. It was the launch of personal technology, however, including the iPod in 2001 and iPhone six years later, that propelled the phenomenal growth. Since the company first listed in 1980 its share price has risen by more than 50,000%.

INTERNET SAFETY

UK communications regulator Ofcom is backing calls for Facebook and Google to be subject to the same rules as broadcasters and publishers regarding fake news and other harmful content. The government is expected to recommend new restrictions in a white paper on internet safety later this year.

IN THE MONEY

The US adtech business AppNexus has claimed that advertising spending on its connected TV marketplace grew 748% year-over-year in the second quarter of this year. Telecoms giant AT&T is preparing a takeover bid.

BURY LEGAL STUFF

Topical tip: The last few seconds of any radio advertisement are extremely valuable, as listeners remember more of what they hear last of all. Don’t waste the opportunity by dumping legal stuff or disclaimers at the end. Keep these as short as possible and try to include them earlier in the slot, closing with a call to action.

CHEERS

Britain’s Beer Alliance has launched a ‘Long Live The Local’ campaign to call on the government to improve the financial feasibility of pubs by lowering the beer tax. This tax is 12 times higher than in Germany, for instance.

POLITICAL PRESSURE

The Information Commissioner’s Office, which reports directly to the UK Parliament, is to crack down on the use of online political advertising. It has issued a promise to “change the behaviour and compliance of actors in the political campaigning space”. This follows a year-long inquiry into the co-opting of personal data for use in political promotion which unearthed evidence of widespread abuses.

FAKE NEWS FIGHT

Facebook has introduced a series of updates to fight fake news. Changes include the removal of false accounts, partnerships with fact-checkers, promotion of news literacy, improved monitoring of photos and videos, action against repeat offenders and expansion of quality checks into additional countries.

IS IT RELEVANT?

Topical tip: If you are a business owner or manager who wants to send information to journalists – without professional help – you must make sure that your ‘news’ is relevant to the prospective audience. Don’t be self-serving and avoid sales messages. Try to provide as many facts as possible and include usable, plain-speaking quotes. Attach high-resolution imagery that’s free from restrictions and give your contact details. Adding a short, descriptive company boilerplate can help.

MY WAY

Online business network Linkedin has launched an advertising campaign featuring members talking about their own successes. Using video clips and stills, the adverts have been prompted by research showing that many career achievements are defined by traditional, outdated notions. Members’ stories will aim to show that there are many and new ways of achieving success.

REACHING OUT

Newspaper group Trinity Mirror is changing its name to Reach, coinciding with an acquisition of Express Newspapers from Northern Shell. A spokesperson claimed that the new name can inspire forward thinking for two large media groups that are coming together.

FLEXIBLE CHOICE

Marketing recruitment company EMR has published its 2018 salary and conditions report. Among its key findings are that 66% of marketers would turn down any role that did not include flexible working; men outnumber women by two to one among chief marketing officers; and more than half of those interviewed expect to move jobs within the next year.

GAMBLING GOALS

Sky Bet has invested £1 million to help English Football League (EFL) clubs to promote responsible gambling among players, including the introduction of awareness programmes. Training on gambling related dangers, with follow-up counselling, will be offered to footballers throughout the EFL. Responsible gambling logos will appear on match-day shirts from the start of next season.

PROMINENT PRESENCE

Topical tip: If any of your rival brands have a noticeably prominent editorial presence, it is worth looking at the types of publication in which their names keep appearing. Then, consider adding them to your own media distribution list. Wherever relevant, build up that media list on social media platforms as well.

TV FIGHTBACK

The BBC, Channel 4 and ITV are co-operating in order to fight the growing threat posed by Amazon and Netflix. They have committed to a joint £125 million investment in Freeview over the next five years. Meanwhile, In the light of a drop in linear television viewing, a TV consortium comprising Adobe, Alphonso, MTM, Sky and TVbeat has called for new, comprehensive audience data and metrics to help them in the main European markets.

TOWARDS CENSORSHIP

Anti-regulation group Consumer Choice Center has claimed that plans to ban adverts for foods high in fat, salt and sugar from Transport For London sites are “heavy-handed, paternalistic and a significant step towards censorship”. The move to outlaw these adverts is being led by the Mayor of London, aiming to reverse high obesity rates among children.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Topical tip: Asking members of staff to think about the opportunities and problems inside your business and getting them more involved can be a valuable step in sparking debate, en route to making the internal culture more embracing.

MOBILE CHINESE

Chinese consumers will spend more time on their mobile devices than watching television this year, according to the latest research from eMarketer. So far, mobile usage in China is up 11.1%, with TV viewing down by 2%. Online videos, apparently, are driving the mobile time increase.

GLOBAL CUSTOMERS

Jaguar Land Rover has announced a wholesale reworking of its marketing, PR, sales and service functions “to meet the changing needs of global customers”. Key management appointments are being made to lead the new structure, reporting to the chief commercial officer. Last year, the company set about recruiting around 5,000 extra staff following a record year of sales.

DOWN THE TUBE

Network hardware multinational Cisco has decided to remove all advertising from YouTube to avoid being accidentally featured in proximity to harmful or sensitive content. A spokesperson said: “At Cisco, we would rather not wait for something bad to happen. We are working closely with all of our media partners to ensure that Cisco’s online advertising meets stringent standards. We only advertise where we can ensure inappropriate content is not shared."

PERSPECTIVE

Topical tip: Make sure that your advertising, marketing and public relations specialists are helped to gain a fuller perspective of the business you are in by giving them regular opportunities to talk with your product development, sales and customer services people.

OUT OF STOCK

Apps that offer location data to third parties without having obtained consent from the users are being removed from the Apple App Store. The decision is in line with the EU’s new General Data Protection Regulation.

FAKE SUSPENSIONS

The Indian government is set to cancel the accreditation of journalists found guilty of writing fake news. Complaints of print media fake news will be referred to the Press Council of India and electronic media transgressions to the News Broadcasters Association. Confirmation of fake news will mean journalistic suspension for six months, with further violations meaning longer or permanent bans.

OBSOLETE DATA

Direct mail specialist W8Data has claimed that on May 25, when the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into effect, an estimated 75% of all UK marketing data could be rendered obsolete.

ABSOLUTELY CLEAR

Topical tip: Make sure that you are getting the best from your agency. A close, frank relationship is likely to improve your bottom line, by attracting new or better business and saving money along the way. Right from the start, be absolutely clear about what you need and expect. Then let your agency put experience and expertise to work for you. If you have chosen well you will be rewarded with cost-effective returns.

IS IT AN ADVERT?

The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has announced an examination into whether or not online browsers are recognising adverts for what they are. Claiming that many consumers are confused, the ASA is seeking evidence about the type of labelling that best helps people to understand when online content is advertising material, as opposed to editorial.

PUBLICIS SATISFIED

French advertising giant Publicis Groupe has posted what it describes as a “satisfying” set of results for the first quarter of 2018. Net revenue grew organically by 1.6% and global account wins included Campbell’s, Carrefour, Marriott and Mercedes Benz. The best performance was in North America, where business grew by 2.8%.

ONE BILLION MORE

Drinks brand Heineken plans to expand its bars and restaurants supply division by £1 billion over the next three years, helped by the launch of the Heineken Greenpaper. Drawing from over 100 pieces of research, this is claimed to be the largest study of its kind ever undertaken. It seeks to drive footfall with special events, by improving the atmosphere in premises, bolstering food offers, offering healthier low-alcohol drinks, and promoting premium beverages to the 18-24s.

GOOGLED

A new claim from the Google Consumer Barometer is that 83% of people in the UK use search engines when looking for local products and services. The statistic is being used to promote Google AdWords, the online advertising medium.

EVERY LITTLE HELPS

Newly released data from marketing analytics specialist Ebiquity shows that supermarket group Tesco increased its traditional-media advertising spend by 68.2% last year, a period in which it added 260,000 more shoppers. TV, radio, cinema, press and outdoor advertising added up to almost £74 million. Tesco has reported pre-tax profits of £1.3 billion for the year to February.

SOCIAL WARNING

BBC director general Tony Hall, addressing employees, has called for united action against the growing dominance of US technology giants. He warned of social unease and division if the likes of Amazon, Facebook, Google and Netflix continue unchecked. He described the BBC as a bulwark against rapid consolidation, pledging to invest in homegrown talent, content and creativity.

HEADLINE FIRST

Topical tip: Without having created a headline before you start writing a business blog, there is nothing to hold together the intended content – and if you keep swerving away from the point, your readers will become confused and move elsewhere. Spend time crafting a clear, concise headline first, even if you modify it later. It will be your map, right from the first step: helping you towards the intended destination.

BETTING ON ADVERTS

Betting businesses Paddy Power and Betfair completed a £5 billion merger in 2016 and the new company has conceded that it is losing market share to its main rivals. Part of its fightback answer is going to be a 7% increase in its annual advertising budget, to £320 million.

WOMEN ONLY

What is thought to be the first women-only members’ club in London has opened its doors at Rathbone Place, Bloomsbury. For an annual charge of £750, following a £300 joining fee, the Allbright Club will be “a place for women to thrive”, according to its website. On offer are access to work spaces, meetings facilities, treatment rooms, events and opportunities for networking.

WITHOUT FLARE

UK-based international marketing services group St Ives has sold its Flare, SP Group, Service Graphics and Tactical Solutions UK divisions to SelmerBridge, in a £6 million deal. The slimmed-down operation now centres on the core print management business, St Ives Management Services. Purchaser SelmerBridge is a holding company incorporated in France.

MEDIA DOMINATION

The chief executive of Bloomberg Media Group, the world’s largest business and financial media organisation, has said that the pendulum is starting to swing away from Facebook and Google, with their domination of global advertising not guaranteed. Factors, it is claimed, include significant civil and political questions about these Silicon Valley companies, together with increased consumer scrutiny of their methods.

BEING FOUND

Topical tip: Being found online can be vital for offline revenue. For many, the answer is to reach out first to their local communities. How? Consider making full use of regional business directories, not only to boost awareness, but to impact positively on your search engine rankings.

PROBLEM PUNTERS

The UK’s Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) has announced tougher standards for gambling brands to meet on television and radio. The new rules tackle the appeal of adverts to problem gamblers, restricting calls on players to place immediate bets during live events, banning encouragement of repetitive play and preventing messages that offer so-called risk-free bonuses. CAP is also looking at better protection for youngsters.

ABOUT TIME

Time Inc has agreed to sell its UK publishing arm, which includes Country Life, Marie Claire and NME among nearly 60 titles, to private equity fund Epiris. The deal has been said to be worth around £130 million.

WELCOME NEWS

The Chartered Institute of Journalists has welcomed the UK government’s announcement that it is scrapping Section 40 of the Crime & Courts Act, which threatened to punish news publishers if they refused to sign up to a state-approved regulator.

HONG KONG CHOICE

The Washington Post is set to open its first news bureau in Asia Pacific as part of a drive to strengthen its international coverage. Hong Kong has been chosen for the new base, joining the likes of the New York Times, Bloomberg and CNN.

TO THE POINT

Topical tip: The best radio advertising copy gets straight to the point and hammers out the benefits, ideally with a simple but compelling call to action. Avoid complicated words and sentence structures. And keep the “subject to” or similar disclaiming sign-off to an absolute minimum.

STREAMING FOR MORE

United States music streaming providers such as Apple, Amazon and Spotify are facing the imposition of higher royalty charges over the next five years after the body responsible for setting copyright fees decreed that they must pay more for the use of artists’ work. Details are not clear yet, but expectations are that streaming businesses will have to hand over at least 15% of revenues, up from today’s 10.5%.

CHAIN CHANGES

Store chain Debenhams has restructured into three business units: beauty & beauty services, fashion & home and food & events, each with its own managing director. After a decade of profit erosion, the aim is to “encourage more visibility and accountability for delivering the customer experience."

BETS ARE OFF

A Sunday Times investigation has found that Premier League football clubs, including Stoke City, Swansea City and West Ham United, have used junior players to help advertise betting industry sponsors. The Advertising Standards Authority and the Gambling Commission have urged sites to remove any such adverts that are likely to appeal to children. Bet365 and Betway are among those implicated.

FACING FACTS

Although Facebook has reported a 20% increase in net income for 2017, reaching $15.9 billion (£10.5 billion), it has suffered a decline in user numbers and usage time. In North America alone, active users fell by around 700,000 in the last quarter. Time spent on the platform was down 5%.

POSITIVE ACTION

Topical tip: Shoppers expect to see something new whenever they return to a store. Creative, innovative ways of displaying products will grab attention and create a memorable impression. So, freshen up visitors’ experiences as frequently as possible.

WINNERS

With 81% of the vote, BBC Sport is the preferred channel for UK sports fans to find out what events are scheduled, according to sports insight company Goodform. Sky Sports and Google were second and third choices. A database of over 30,000 enthusiasts was surveyed by Goodform.

CRYPTO NUGGETS

In a new publicity stunt, the Canadian arm of fast-food operator KFC has said it will accept cryptocurrency Bitcoin for certain of its tubs of chicken and fries. They have called the deal a ‘Bitcoin Bucket’. On social media, KFC says that Bitcoin has had ups and downs, but its chicken is always good, with a picture of the constantly fluctuating value of Bitcoin flashing across a chicken meal.

CLICKETY CLICK

Amazon UK had the largest click share in search advertising over the recent festive season, according to a study by Kantar Media. The investigation covered desktop and mobile performance relating to 990 of the top retail keywords on Google. Others performing well were Argos, Currys, John Lewis and AO.com.

NOT SO SQUARE

Topical tip: Initially, social platform Instagram required your uploaded photographs to be square in format. These days, you can upload to Instagram in landscape and portrait shapes as well. The reasoning is that many photos require more space, side to side or top and bottom, to be seen to best advantage. To select a format, tap the icon bottom-left and switch between square or rectangular.

BAD MORNING

ITV’s breakfast show ‘Good Morning Britain’ was 2017’s most complained-about show, watchdog Ofcom has revealed. Eight of the leading 10 programmes investigated by Ofcom were shown by ITV, plus one each on the BBC and Sky TV.

HAPPY RETURNS

Twelve months of research led by i2C and involving the Internet Advertising Bureau, Nectar, Nestlé, Nielsen and Unilever, has shown that for every £1 spent on online display advertising average sales of £1.94 were achieved. One supermarket group recorded a return of £3.38. Adverts for nine leading brands were tested across mainstream desktop and mobile sites such as eBay, Gumtree and Yahoo.

POSITIVE ACTION

Topical tip: Data in itself is of limited value. Rather, you benefit from all that can be extracted, by understanding the implications of this evidence, and by building bridges between insights and positive action.