The UK's advertising industry plans to update its code of practice and improve training so that when businesses return to their offices after home-working they can do so in a fairer way. New research has concluded that sexual harassment problems will increase without action.
ITV has announced that Argos will be the new headline sponsor of Coronation Street, the soap's fourth. The deal is scheduled for a January 2021 start and includes broadcast, ITV Hub, product placement and off-air activities.
THE BBC is funding a further 15 local democracy reporters, bringing the total to 165. Matthew Barraclough, head of BBC Local News Partnerships, said: “We set out to work with partners to address the democracy deficit, getting reporters back into town halls." The new posts are in Derbyshire, Devon, Essex, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Lancashire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk, North Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, Staffordshire, Surrey and Sussex.
BETTER THAN EXPECTED
The UK advertisements market will have shrunk by 4.4% in 2020, according to the WPP agency group. That is significantly less than expected. WPP was forecasting a drop of 12.5% earlier this year. The percentage difference represents £2 billion of media spending.
The UK government intends to set up a regulator with powers to fine Facebook and Google for competition abuses and unacceptable consumer-related activity. This new body will write and enforce a code of practice for technology industry digital advertising campaigns. It is understood that Facebook and Google account for about 80% of that market. The government will consult with the sector early next year.
The Yorkshire Post, aided by special funding by Barclays Bank, has started a give-away programme. Copies of the newspaper are being distributed free of charge to lonely or vulnerable people who have been nominated by charities and community workers.
The outdoor, or out-of-home, advertising industry has claimed that the medium's effectiveness was not harmed by coronavirus lockdown. A joint study by six of the leading players into 65 campaigns found that between March and September 2020 there was a 51% increase in advert recall and a 16% hike in purchase intent. It is believed that less cluttered advertising space was a major contributor to the better-than-expected results.
Regional newspaper publisher Newsquest has reported a continuing decline in print revenue. Profits for its last accounting year were £9.7 million compared with £78.2 million in the previous 12 months. A warning has been issued about further cost cutting: around 300 jobs were lost last year.
Sainsbury's is to focus on its food business after difficult years following acquisitions of Asda and Argos. New chief executive Simon Roberts says the target is to become "Britain's favourite supermarket". In his latest press call Roberts admitted that the business needs to adapt faster to changing customer shopping habits and concentrate on quality and value. YouGov BrandIndex puts Sainsbury's in third place for satisfaction, quality and reputation among supermarkets, behind Marks & Spencer and Aldi.
The Christmas-period advertising spend could drop by more than 10% this year, according to new figures from the Advertising Association. A decline to £6.2 billion would be £724 million lower than Christmas 2019. Next year's recovery is expected to be slow.
Amazon advertising revenue went up by 51% in the third quarter compared with the same period last year. This is an increasingly lucrative revenue stream, although its e-commerce business remains substantially the bigger earner.
The Telegraph Media Group is to take the sub-editing function back in-house, a little over three years after it was contracted out to the Press Association. More than a quarter of a million stories were subbed under the arrangement, but Telegraph Media Group wants to control the process as part of investment in catering for online subscribers. Currently, it has around 522,000 subscribers and the target is to reach one million by 2023.
FASTEST PRINTER SOLD
Newspaper group JPI Media has sold its South Yorkshire printing works, along with those in Portsmouth and Northern Ireland, to the owners of the Daily Mail. The Yorkshire site includes one of the fastest printing presses in the world, capable of producing 120,000 full-colour newspapers per hour.
Media and entertainment group Sky is about to open its first retail store. The Liverpool facility will bring together Sky's TV, mobile and broadband products under one roof, with interactive experiences and a social hub. There will also be support for smart devices. Retail expansion into other cities is expected.
Topical tip: Marketing services agencies are at their most effective when they have a thorough understanding of your products or service, sectors served, business culture and long-term aims. You will need to provide a clear and purposeful brief before agreeing workflow and costs.
Reversing previous policies, Google has made a commitment to set up a product called Google News Showcase, from which it will pay publishers around $1 billion over the next three years for news content.
The Pantone Colour Institute has added number 2,626 to it spectrum of colours for the design and printing sectors. "Period" is red and described by Pantone as "an original shade of red that represents a steady flow." Apparently, it was created with the intention of helping destroy taboos about menstruation.
WHO ARE THE READERS?
Topical tip: About to spend on print advertising? Are you certain who reads the publication? Not just the circulation figures or mailing list, but what happens next? The best publishers will help you with a breakdown of distribution and readership. Take a careful look for yourself as well. Is this really appealing to the people you want as customers? It's so easy to waste advertising budgets.
John Lewis and Waitrose are about to unveil a modernised brand strategy to go beyond the out of favour "never knowingly undersold" price promise. It seems that the new messages will concentrate on inequality, wellbeing and sustainability. More than 60% of the group's sales are now online.
Regional newspapers publisher JPI Media, taken off the market in February after failing to secure new ownership, is up for sale again. It has also announced the expected loss of up to 30 editorial jobs. This is in addition to the 90-plus sales staff made redundant this summer.
LACK OF ENTERPRISE
Chinese telecoms giant Huawei is to close its UK enterprise division at the end of this year. The enterprise division handles networking, server and storage operations and the closure puts 20 jobs at risk. The European arm of the division is not affected.
Coca-Cola is going to restructure its marketing into five global categories, based on product groupings. The multinational said the shift is designed to generate more growth and move closer to consumers.
STUDENTS' DATA LOSS
Universities at Leeds, Manchester and York have reported that student and alumni data was stolen after a ransomware attack on US-based education administration and marketing software business Blackbaud. It is understood that financial information was not accessed. The Information Commissioner's Office is investigating.
Waitrose is launching a marketing campaign to emphasise the exclusivity of its product range and position as a high quality grocer, as it challenges Marks & Spencer in the race to win over Ocado shoppers. Two months of discounts will be included in a drive to increase Waitrose online sales. The supermarket's 18-year partnership with Ocado has ended.
HAVE A PINT
Carling is encouraging people to return to their local public houses in a new campaign championing the role that pubs play in British society. It will run on television, radio, social media and video-on-demand, depicting a landlord pulling a pint and stating that pubs serve more than just beer and are cornerstones of the community.
Mars, the global company behind that chocolate bar and brands such as M&Ms and Wrigley's gum, has been sharing items from its neuroscience studies. One conclusion is that marketers have just two seconds to capture consumers' attention online.
PR JOBS TO GO
The Public Relations & Communications Association (PRCA) is planning management redundancies as part of restructuring in the light of an expected 25% fall in revenue this financial year.
HELPING FANS BACK
A Manchester cyber technology company has provided the government with plans for getting fans back into sports venues through using Covid-19 rapid testing kits. VST Enterprises aims to make it possible for the return of football, rugby and other major sports fans in what it describes as a "safe and controlled way" using kits that show results within 10 minutes.
CHILDREN SWITCH TO BBC
Millions of children accessed BBC programmes during the pandemic lockdown. New figures show that BBC iPlayer usage for CBeebies and CBBC went up by 81%. Children's shows accounted for one quarter of all iPlayer requests.
Lancashire-based sportswear corporation JD Sports has announced its latest results, showing a 30% rise in sales to £6.11 billion, with pre-tax profits at £348.5 million. It said its ecommerce business was very resilient during the Covid-19 lockdown period, during which 98% of its retail outlets were closed. It described as "inevitable" that there will be a level of permanent transfer from physical retail to online.
Research has found that the UK's commercial radio stations have increased their output of news and information since the start of the coronavirus lockdown. A Radiocentre report states that they broadcast 25% more news bulletins, lasting for 28% longer.
AMAZON IS PRIME
According to a new global ranking by BrandZ, Amazon is the world's most valuable brand, with a 32% increase on last year's worth. The rest of BrandZ's top 10, in order, are Apple, Microsoft, Google, Visa, Alibaba, Tencent, Facebook, McDonald's and Mastercard.
Helen Normoyle, chief marketing officer for retailer Boots, has been reported as saying there will need to be promotional flexibility surrounding Christmas, because "we will be in or out of lockdown, what will that do to how people are shopping, and what will it mean for demand in-store and online?" Since, Boots has announced that it intends to cut 4,000 jobs.
A study carried out by Channel 4 has indicated that brands seen in television programmes hold more sway than traditional advertising. Channel 4 said that almost half of those surveyed felt more positive about a brand after it appeared in a programme and nearly two-thirds of viewers were positive about branded entertainment.
HEADING TO REGIONS
Hachette UK, one of Britain's largest publishing groups, plans to open regional offices in Bristol, Edinburgh, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield. Around 40 London staff are expected to move out during the next 12 months.
Marketing sector magazine PR Week has claimed there are positive signs that trading conditions are slowly recovering for the industry after months of record low levels of activity in recruitment and new business opportunities. This coupled with some agencies starting to return to office-based work indicates that at least parts of the industry have entered a recovery phase.
ON YER BIKE
Around 50 bicycle manufacturers, retailers and associated organisations have joined together to inspire a new generation of bike lovers through a promotional campaign called #BikeIsBest. It is built around the message that you don't have to be a cyclist to ride a bike.
NEWS OFFICES CLOSING
Newspaper publisher JPIMedia plans to close 11 regional offices, from Aylesbury to Berwick-upon-Tweed. Chief executive David King has been reported as saying: "Like many businesses, the changes enforced by the current crisis have caused us to carefully consider our approach to how we work and our future property requirements."
PR MOVING UP
WPP, the world's biggest communications group, although taking a hit in advertising revenues because of coronavirus, says that other parts of its business are seeing an upturn – PR in particular. It has reported that services such as PR are becoming more relevant to clients.
The BBC has launched a new digital assistant with what it describes as a warm and friendly northern accent. Called "Beeb", it will guide people towards BBC programmes and offer localised news and weather reports. Physical hardware such as Amazon's Echo speakers won't be produced. Instead, the "Beeb" app will be added to existing systems.
SPEEDY FOOD BILLS
Payper Technologies in Manchester is using graphene antennas to enable restaurant customers to pay bills by Apple Pay or Google Pay, tapping their smartphones on the receipt. The process is said to take two clicks and under five seconds, with no app required. Pilot trials are underway in north-west England.
Online news operation Buzzfeed is to pull out of the UK and Australia, concentrating investment in the US. The London office opened in 2013 and quickly built a reputation for quality journalism, particularly relating to politics. Problems are due to the fall in advertising income.
Liberty Global and Telefonica, owners of Virgin Media and O2 respectively, have confirmed a proposed 50-50 partnership deal worth £31 billion. The new company would challenge BT and Sky head on by offering bundles of television, mobile phone and broadband packages to its 46 million customers.
DEFYING THE CRUNCH
The advertising division at Amazon has shown sizeable growth so far this year, in spite of coronavirus effects on the global marketing sector. Revenues from advertising rose by 44% to $3.9 billion, outstripping the same quarter of 2019. All divisions returned strong results. Web services were up 33%, subscription services 28% and online sales 24%.
SUNAK APPOINTS JOURNALIST
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has appointed former ITV national editor and BBC Newsnight political editor Allegra Stratton as director of strategic communications. Stratton will be responsible for how the Chancellor explains and promotes Treasury policies. It is a political appointment as a special adviser, rather than a role within the civil service.
JOHN LEWIS HIT
Department stores operator John Lewis Partnership is preparing for a sales decline of around 35% this year, with its supermarket brand Waitrose likely to be down 5%. The gloomy forecast came as a 23% fall in profits was posted in its latest annual report.
Procter & Gamble has committed to continuing with its marketing spend in order to achieve what it describes as the "mental availability" of brands, even if they are not always physically available. P&G has announced a sales increase of 5% year-on-year, as the coronavirus pandemic boosts demand for its personal and home care products.
MOBILE APPS SURGE
Mobile apps are enjoying a surge in popularity during the coronavirus lockdown. Analysts AppFlyer said there has been a 10% increase in mobile apps' global revenue overall, with health and fitness leading the way at plus-24%. Others with booming sales are finance, gaining 18%, shopping up 15%, and food delivery, 10%. Business apps have fallen by 45%.
Newspaper publishing group JPI Media has placed 350 staff on furlough and cut the salaries of those who continue to work by up to 15%. The chief executive said that this will be for at least three weeks but could last for months. Advertising income has started to plummet and sales of newspapers are falling away.
This year's Cannes Lions global festival of creativity, already rescheduled to October from June, has been cancelled. Organisers say the creative community is not in a position to put forward work that would set the usual benchmark.
Newsworks, the organisation representing UK newspaper publishers, has launched a new initiative aimed at persuading advertisers to remove blocks from news brands, so they can continue to fund journalism. Brand safety measures around the word 'coronavirus' may cost the industry around £50 million in lost revenue over the next three months. The Newsworks message is to back, not block, British journalism.
Coca-Cola GB is the latest big brand to suspend all marketing activity because of the coronavirus pandemic, but says it will keep the matter under review. Coca-Cola is a headline sponsor of football's Premier League and Euro 2020, plus the Tokyo Olympics, all of which have been postponed.
British athletes will be allowed to thank personal sponsors on up to three occasions during the Tokyo Olympic Games, following a compromise agreement with the British Olympic Association. The decision brings to an end a dispute brought by athletes over what is called Rule 40, which had sought to limit athletes to a single thank-you message per sponsor.
ITV has released its annual results with a focus on digital technology, global production and social purpose. Revenues increased by around 3% to £3.3 billion, but advertising fell by 1.5%. Studio output revenue rose by 9% and online revenue by 21%. Online viewing was up 13%. ITV stated that its purpose is to be "more than TV".
WAITROSE TOPS SURVEY
John Lewis supermarket Waitrose has been rated best in the UK after a survey of 14,000 Which? members. Waitrose scored top marks in almost all categories, but not for value. Budget chains Aldi and Lidl were ranked best for value. Worst overall was Aldi, ninth of nine.
SELLING THE WRONG THING
The executive chair of the newspaper industry's marketing organisation has said that peddling advertising space instead of journalism has cost the industry £1 billion. Tracy de Groos told delegates to a Society of Editors conference that they have been selling the wrong thing. She said: "There is little attention to the quality of content or the attention of the audience. Content has been sold as an amorphous mass with little attention to journalistic quality."
The BBC's deputy political editor John Pienaar is to leave the Corporation after 28 years. Pienaar will be the drive-time host on Times Radio, to be launched shortly as a digital venture to rival BBC Radio Four and attract young, aspirational subscribers to The Times newspaper.
END OF NEWS ERA
The 160-year-old Cumberland & Westmorland Herald weekly newspaper has gone into administration. It had been fighting pressures of increased printing costs and a deficit in its pension fund. The Penrith-based paper has an establishment of 26 people, six of whom have been made redundant with immediate effect. The remainder will stay in post while administrators KPMG try to find a buyer.
LEG UP FOR DENIMS
Marks & Spencer has launched a first stand-alone television advert for the biggest product category in its clothing sections, denim jeans. M&S claims to serve 10% of the UK's denim shoppers, selling 15 pairs of jeans every minute. However, it ranked only fourth when customers were asked to name a brand for denim.
FOSSIL FUEL FALLOUT
Guardian Media Group has announced that it has banned advertising from fossil fuel extractive businesses. A spokesperson said that the move is "based on the decades-long efforts by many in that industry to prevent meaningful climate action by governments around the world".
CAMERAS IN COURT
The Chartered Institute of Journalists has welcomed the move to allow cameras into court proceedings as being in line with its campaigns for more open justice and improved media coverage of Britain's legal system.
ASTON MARTIN SLOWS
Car manufacturer Aston Martin has issued a profits warning, with dealer orders falling by 7% last year. Full financial results are due next month and expectations are that gross earnings will be between £130 million and £140 million, down from £243 million in 2018. The chief executive has promised a comprehensive cost-cutting programme, with the marketing budget looking like a prime casualty.
The Open University has launched its first television advert for almost four years: 30 seconds to introduce three people who have changed their lives since applying to go on Open University courses.