REPORTING & RETORTING

AMAZON RACKS UP

Amazon has announced that it will create around 1,000 jobs in Darlington. A new fulfilment centre in the County Durham town will help meet increased consumer demand and enable small-business suppliers to scale up their businesses. The site will be fitted with the latest robotics technology.

GOOD OPENER

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.

TAKEOVER TALKS

Former Mirror Group chief executive David Montgomery is in talks to buy JPI Media's 150-plus regional newspapers. The purchase vehicle would be stock exchange listed company National World, 75% owned by Montgomery.

GOLD STANDARD

Tesco and McDonald's are the first major UK advertisers to adopt the new gold standard introduced by the digital advertising trade body, IAB. Aimed at improving quality and combating fraud, a key commitment is to work solely with certified digital ads suppliers.

GIVING STORE

Supermarket chain Sainsbury's has opened a London store where people shop for others rather than themselves. In Covent Garden, the 'Giving Store' is stocking items that can be donated to people in need. Advice on produce was given by food banks.

COFFEE TABLE ISSUE

Big Issue North has launched a new glossy quarterly called The New Issue, describing it as a 'coffee table' magazine. It contains no advertising, relying instead on copy sales to businesses and individuals, with all profits going to support people who sell Big Issue North on the streets.

SO MANY OPTIONS

Topical tip: Facebook video adverts range from short bursts on mobiles to lengthy, promoted videos designed to be viewed on desktop computers. There are so many options. To pick the most advantageous route, it is essential to have clearly stated objectives, coupled with detailed knowledge of who makes up that target market. It makes every sense to use a creative agency.

EVERY BOTTLE BACK

Three of the USA's biggest beverage suppliers, Coca-Cola, Dr Pepper and PepsiCo, have joined forces to help minimise the volume of discarded plastic caused by their production processes. The 'Every Bottle Back' scheme will see them accept the return of used plastic bottles for recycling. The majority of plastic drinks bottles and caps from the big three are made from polyethylene terephthalate, which is 100% recyclable.

TELEGRAPH FOR SALE

The Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph have been put up for sale by the Barclay family, owners for the last 15 years. Profits for 2018 were £8.1 million, down from £21 million in the previous year.

DIGITAL SALES

Channel 4 has announced a restructuring of its advertising sales teams in London, Manchester and Dublin, aimed at growing the organisation's digital revenue. Several new posts and a series of promotions have been introduced.

COUNCIL COMMS CUTS

A Freedom of Information request by trade magazine PR Week has revealed that communications professionals at county, borough and district councils have had their budgets cut consistently over the last five years. There has been an overall drop in spending of about 10%. The number of people working in council comms roles has fallen by more than a fifth in the same five-year period.

MOVING OUT

BBC director general Tony Hall has said that he wants to move more staff and services out of London. Speaking at a television conference, he stated: "I want the BBC to be the organisation that is most fully embedded and distributed around the UK and that best reflects the different communities of the UK in all their richness and diversity. We're going to create new models for local."

SHUTTERED

A net 1,236 stores closed down on Britain's top 500 high streets in the first half of 2019, the worst six months on record.

STAR WALL

Sheffield's The Star daily newspaper is implementing a metered paywall on its website. The subscription system will allow readers access to five news articles per week before being asked to pay. An annual subscription has been set at £78.

PRODUCTS NOT ADS

Marks & Spencer wants its customers to remember products over and above adverts. It says there will be renewed focus on design and value.

WITH ACCENTS

The BBC is planning to launch a digital voice assistant in 2020 to rival Amazon's Alexa. A notable difference is likely to be that the new product, code name 'Beeb', will recognise regional accents – trials are underway.

NHS ADVERTISING

The NHS is creating a new contractual framework for its dealings with advertising and marketing services companies. Revised contracts are expected to start in July of next year and run until 2023.

ANT WORKERS

Sheffield telemarketer Ant Marketing has acquired a third site in the city and plans to add up to 80 extra staff. The latest location on Bramall Lane is a 9,000 square feet building, adding to the St Mary's Gate and Victoria Quays bases. Ant Marketing is 30 years old.

LEFT BEHIND?

The Royal Mail has issued a cautionary message to people moving home, reminding them to redirect their mail. Otherwise, they might be leaving behind parts of their identity, prone to theft.

LEASING FOOTBALL

Online car marketplace Leasing.com has agreed a three-year deal to sponsor football's EFL Trophy, to be renamed the Leasing.com Trophy. The knock-out competition involves 127 matches across six rounds, with the final at Wembley.

MAIL IN FRONT

The latest quarterly audience figures show that the 'Daily Mail', 'Mail on Sunday' and 'MailOnline' combine to be the UK's most-read brand, with more than 30 million monthly followers. 'The Guardian' is the leader among the quality-sector publications, with 25 million readers, edging out 'The Daily Telegraph'.

SINGLE PURPOSE

Topical tip: An effective business email will have a single purpose. You email should cover a specific item, request or call to action. By limited the email to one subject it will be easier for the recipient to understand and take appropriate action, notably, to respond precisely, thereby increasing productivity.

LISTENING IN

The BBC continues to command a greater share of radio listening hours than its commercial counterparts, 49.3% against 48%, but its lead is slipping. Previous figures put the BBC's share at 51.7%.

BOXING TO BRITBOX

The BBC and ITV have put away the boxing gloves to set aside long-held differences and agree to launch their joint streaming service, BritBox, later this year. The monthly subscription will be £5.99 as BritBox co-exists with BBC iPlayer and ITV Hub. There has been success in the USA already, with 650,000 paying viewers, mainly British ex-pats.

BENTLEY VISION

Car maker Bentley is celebrating its 100th birthday by giving a view of its "vision of the future". The multisensory experience at its Crewe HQ will let people interact with future car designs.

NEWS AGENCY CHANGE

The Press Association of the UK and Ireland has been rebranded as PA Media as it plans to target a wider audience. It is seeking to appeal to digital and non-media customers, as well as growing through business acquisitions. The organisation was founded in 1868 by a group of provincial newspaper proprietors.

MORE INTERNET ADS

Zenith Media's latest advertising spend forecast asserts that the Internet's share is about to become more than 50% globally. The 2018 slice was 44%.

NORTH WEST GROWTH

The world's largest advertising agency group, WPP, has announced plans for a new 82,000 square feet facility in Manchester, with space for up to 800 staff. A 15-year lease has been agreed at Enterprise City, on the site of the former Granada TV studios.

LOSING MILLIONS

The Evening Standard tabloid newspaper, edited by former Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, has reported £11.5 million of pre-tax losses in its last financial year. One bit of good news: revenues were up by 2%. A daily print run of 860,000 goes out across London.

SPEEDBIRD

Brew Dog has created a custom beer for British Airways to help mark the airline's 100th anniversary, which will be celebrated in August. Craft beer Speedbird 100 is being made available for in-flight consumption by passengers.

POWER UP NORTH

Thirty-three northern newspapers from three rival publishers have united to call for action over the perceived north-south divide. The 'Power Up North' collaboration has demanded wholesale changes in the way the north of England is treated by the government. Papers run by JPI Media, Newsquest and Reach are involved in the campaign.

TRANSPARENT BBC

In a new report, the BBC has claimed to be totally transparent about its programme commissioning. According to its figures, the BBC works with more broadcast suppliers than any other UK network and has exceeded its independent production quota. It has co-operated with more than 300 producers in the last year, of which 72 were new, and more than a third were independents with turnovers of under £10 million.

ONLINE COMPLAINTS

The Advertising Standards Authority has reported that complaints about online advertising outstripped those about television adverts by almost three to one last year, up 41% on 2017 figures. There were more than 16,000 complaints in the 12 months to December.

DEMOCRACY THREATS

A combination of public sector cuts and fewer regional journalists means that local democracy is being threatened, according to a new book. "Local Democracy, Journalism and Public Relations" by Sheffield Hallam University lecturers Carmel O'Toole and Adrian Roxe. It examines what is seen as increased difficulties in holding politicians to account, with less information output and reduced consultation with electors.

SUPER FAST

Vodafone is set to launch a super-fast 5G mobile internet in July. Both business and personal users will be able to sign up for the service. However, only seven cities will be part of the initial roll-out: Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Liverpool, London and Manchester.

BANKING ON IT

The Co-operative Bank has announced the recruitment of an additional 100 digital and IT specialists, to be based in Manchester. It is part of a five-year investment plan.

AMAZON SLOWING

Growth in Amazon's advertising business is slowing down but still grew by 34% in the first quarter of 2019. Revenue across other activities slowed as well, up around 17%, the weakest return since the same quarter of four years ago.

BOLD BBC

The BBC has published a new operating plan for the rest of this year and 2020. Central to the report is a stated commitment to "bold and creative programme making, innovation in how we deliver services, impartial journalism in a rapidly changing world and how we make the BBC an even greater place to work".

NEWSPAPER CUTS

JPI Media plans to cut 60 full-time editorial roles in its English regional newspapers and a further 10 in Scotland, to add to the 22 community reporting job losses announced in February. Eight more newspaper offices will be closed, eight having shut recently.

MARKING THE MONEY

The National Lottery has launched a campaign to mark its first quarter century, highlighting some of the projects that it has funded. Targeted mainly at 18-34 year olds, the campaign consists of three video documentaries and a series of online articles.

INSTAGRAM POISED

Last year, social site Instagram reached one million active users. With engagement rates increasing on all major social networks, Instagram looks poised for strong, continued growth in 2019.

TALKING THE TALK

Topical tip: Looking to appoint a new advertising or PR agency? Be well aware that agency new-business types will talk the talk. They might not be part of the outfit you are considering, but hired in for their presentation skills, never to be seen again. Take care to satisfy yourself that there is substance behind the pontification. Your new agency must be properly resourced, financially secure, experienced in what you are seeking to achieve and with a skilled team in place, all ready to look after you in a manner that will make you feel comfortable.

GOING OFF GOOGLE

The BBC has started blocking all access to its podcasts on the Google search engine and Google Assistant, claiming that its distribution terms and policies are being violated.

GOOD SAMARITANS

Suicide prevention charity The Samaritans has rebranded in an attempt to extend its reach and relevance. Founded in 1953, it now handles troubled callers every six seconds on average, but has recognised that it is seen as just another helpline.

ADS BOOST

The UK advertising industry saw exports of services rise by 18% to £6.9 billion last year, according to a report from the Advertising Association. This outstripped the rest of the UK's exports by 7%.

TOYOTA REALITY

Toyota GB has launched an augmented reality iPad application, allowing prospective customers to explore the inside of its C-HR hybrid model. The app will also be used in showrooms, shopping centres and trade shows. It will show how the car's energy is used and how the drivetrain works in different configurations.

CAIRNCROSS SUPPORT

The Chartered Institute of Jounalists has welcomed the main conclusions of the Cairncross review. Dame Francis Cairncross highlighed the need to underpin local and quality journalism and deal with the news industry's advertising losses because of the internet.

MANCHESTER ON SUNDAY

The Manchester Evening News, 150 years old in 2018, has launched a Sunday edition with a 37,000 print run and online version. The editor-in-chief has been quoted as saying the new Sunday presence "represents an opportunity to drive the Northern political agenda".

SHADOW ECONOMY

Apple chief executive Tim Cook has called on US lawmakers to give citizens the right to delete their data from online platforms. He is reported to have said: "Consumers should not have to tolerate another year of companies irresponsibly amassing huge user profiles, data breaches that seem out of control and the vanishing ability to control our own digital lives."

IN VOGUE

Publisher Conde Naste has ended its recent period of contraction with the launch of an online business-to-business site for fashion and beauty professionals. Initially free, Vogue Business will switch to paid-for later this year.

LOCAL LOSS

The BBC is going to axe its 'Local Live' initiative set up in 2014 to help share news stories with regional stations and publishers. It will be phased out during the course of this year.

CUSTOMERS NOT DATA

Topical tip: Making decisions about marketing, sales and promotions should be based on customers rather than data. Yes, it is beneficial to analyse such aspects as email open tallies, calls to action and bounce rates, but using this information as if it represents actual customers can mean the making of bad decisions. Speak to people, not bounce rates.

GOING DUTCH

The UK's Public Relations & Communications Association has forged links with its Dutch counterpart, Logeion. The two organisations will exchange knowledge, share ethical codes and promote events together.

SOCKING IT

Football, or "soccer" as it is referred to in the United States, would seem to be performing well for lager brand Heineken. Already a partner of Major League Soccer, Heineken is seeking to go further with a broad trademark application to become the official beer of the game throughout the US. It will take around six months to process the application.

PR WASTE

George Bleakley, planning director at Channel 5 News, told a recent audience in Manchester that on the morning before he arrived at the meeting he had deleted 465 press releases, all of them irrelevant to his news outlet.

ANONYMITY

Mastercard is dropping its name from the logo as part of what it has described as a digital age reinvention, under the presumption that everyone recognises the red and yellow circles as belonging to the brand. The current redesign was adopted in 2016, the eighth since it first appeared 55 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.

ASKING THE KIDS

A global survey by Hotwire has reported that 28% of parents believe that their children value mobile devices more than any other possession. Another finding was that 38% of British parents ask their kids' opinions before buying technology such as phones, tablets or laptops.