REPORTING & RETORTING

BETTING ON BRANDING

International bookmaker William Hill is about to make its biggest brand investment to date with a new advertising campaign, updated master brand and revised corporate identity.The mission is to become a global household name.

MARKETERS HIRING

UK marketers are confident about employment prospects, according to a new survey conducted for Marketing Week magazine. This follows a year of budget cuts, cancelled pay rises and redundancies. Overall, around 43% expect hiring levels to increase.

CONTINUING TO SERVE

In a new agreement between the BBC and the All England Club, the broadcaster will retain domestic coverage rights for Wimbledon up to and including 2027. It is the longest partnership in sports broadcasting history.

CUSTOMERS FED UP

Poor service blamed on Covid-19 is leaving customers fed up, according to new research. People have been tolerant of delays as businesses coped with restrictions, but patience is running out and complaints are at their highest level for 12 years, the UK Institute of Customer Service has found. Sectors with the biggest issues are public transport and local government.

DIXONS CARPHONE PROFITS

Electricals and telecoms retailer Dixons Carphone has announced profits of £33 million for the last financial year, having tripled its number of contactable customers to 9.6 million. The company has attributed the success to advances in customer relationship management. Group revenues have risen to £10.3 billion.

AMAZON STAYS TOP

Multinational Amazon has topped the Kantar Brandz list of the world's 100 most valuable brands for the third year in a row. Amazon's brand value has increased by 64% compared to 2020. Second in the list was Apple, then Google, Microsoft and Tencent.

CHANNEL 4 SURPLUS

In the face of parliamentary calls for government-owned Channel 4 to be privatised, the broadcaster has announced a record surplus of £74 million in its last financial year. Annual revenue is expected to exceed £1 billion for the first time in 2021. It has also confirmed that its new national headquarters in central Leeds will open on September 6th, ahead of its target to create 300 roles in the regions by the end of this year.

ANNIVERSARY PLAQUE

National newspaper The Guardian has marked 200 years of publishing by unveiling an anniversary plaque at the site of its first offices, 3 Cross Street, Manchester. It launched there in May 1821 as the Manchester Guardian and remained in Manchester until 1970. The Guardian is now based at Kings Place in London.

FALSE PARAMETERS

The majority of marketing campaigns are evaluated separately by brand and performance, but they have been described as false parameters by a planner at a major agency. "Ignore these false boundaries and bring brand and performance together as one," Tom Roach of Jellyfish told the Marketing Society at its recent forum. "To the consumer it is all one campaign."

MARKETERS HIRING

According to a new survey by the Chartered Institute of Marketing and recruitment consultants Hays, marketing career prospects are on the up. The survey of over 700 professionals found that 67% of the sector's employers plan to hire new staff this year. At the same time, 60% of marketers are planning to change jobs. Of those, almost one-quarter will seek roles that allow full-time working for home.

AMAZONIAN

Amazon has announced that it will invest at least £10 million in the UK over the next three years. A parcels depot in Doncaster and fulfilment centre in Gateshead will be opened, creating 1,300 jobs. As many as 5,000 new trainees could be taken on.

SHOPPING TRENDS

A new report by YouGov states that although 81% of UK shoppers still go to supermarkets, more than half have said the recent online trend will continue. Nearly 40% said they intend to make more use of home deliveries and click and pick-up options, minimising the time spent in stores.

MOMENTUM BUILDING

Outdoor advertising sales house Ocean Outdoor has announced a 17.7% drop in sales and 50% reduction in gross profit for 2020. However, it maintains that momentum is building up again and it expects to see payback from a £6.4 million investment into new areas. The out-of-home advertising market fell by 61% last year.

CAUTIOUS CONFIDENCE

Public confidence is on the increase, but new coronavirus variants and inflation are giving some cause for concern. These are among the findings in the latest GfK Consumer Confidence Index. The report states that: "On balance we are moving in the right direction and people have shown they will respond very positively to any good news by opening their wallets."

LESS ORGANIC GROWTH

Consumer products multinational Proctor & Gamble has reported a 4% increase in organic sales for its latest financial quarter. However, this is the lowest organic growth for six quarters. Costs increased in the period, slowing earnings. Proctor & Gamble brands include Head & Shoulders, Pantene, Gillette, Old Spice, Pampers, Tampax, Daz and Fairy Liquid.

COCA-COLA STRATEGY

Coca-Cola has revamped its main brand packaging to bring everything in line with the refreshed Coca-Cola Zero Sugar design, all part of what it describes as an integrated "one brand" strategy. It is the first packaging update for five years and will be consistent in all markets.

B&Q BRAND BUILDING

Launching a new advertising campaign, multiple retailer B&Q is looking to increase its brand equity and shed its "big orange box" image. The "We Will Grow" television campaign is aimed at creating an emotional connection with customers, capitalising on the popularity of gardening.

STRENGTHENING SALFORD

The BBC has announced a clutch of new appointments and commissions at its Salford centre in Greater Manchester. The "writer's room hub" is to have a new head of writing, there will be a commissioning editor for northern England and BBC Drama has plans for extended output from the Salford base, with a series of original programmes.

60-YEAR-OLD DOG

Dulux is planning to capitalise on the lockdown-enabled home decorating boom with a new campaign promoting the company’s Simply Refresh range of paints. It also celebrates Dulux’s 60 years with its Old English Sheepdog mascot. The famous dog has been a centrepiece of Dulux adverts since 1961.

PROMOTING NEWS LITERACY

The Wall Street Journal, leading a group of top newspapers and magazines as part of National News Literacy Week, is developing a news knowledge campaign to explain and articulate the difference between opinion and news. A spokesperson said: "The labelling of opinion or news content is not as pronounced in a digital experience, compared to print, so we decided it's important that we help our readers and future readers to better discern the difference between these two content types."

EATING BETTER

Sainsbury's is dropping its "Live Well For Less" slogan in favour of "Helping Everyone Eat Better" as the supermarket switches emphasis from price to value. It considers the new phrase to better represent a policy of offering healthy, sustainable and affordable food. There is also a desire to be seen as reducing any negative impact of its business on the environment.

WHEN COOKIES GO

Google Chrome will remove support for third-party cookies during next year and has announced it will stop tracking people who browse across multiple websites once these cookies are phased out. It has said it will neither build other identifiers to track individuals nor use them in products.

ROADMAP GUARANTEE

ITV and Sky have reacted to advertisers' demands for added flexibility in booking space this year. They are guaranteeing free deferments for campaigns that might have to be shelved if the Covid-19 lockdown is not lifted in accordance with the government's recently-announced roadmap to recovery.

SIR ALEX'S STORY

Amazon and Universal have secured the UK rights to a new documentary about former Manchester United football manager Sir Alex Ferguson. "Never Give In" will launch in cinemas on May 27th and through Amazon Prime on May 29th. It will start with Ferguson's childhood in Glasgow, go through his playing and managerial career, then deal with the time since he retired from management, including his brain haemorrhage in 2018. Son Jacob directed the documentary.

BIG CHUNK FOR DISNEY+

The latest quarterly financial report for streaming service Disney+ shows that it signed up nearly 95 million subscribers in its first year, three years ahead of target. Disney's streaming success offsets a difficult period for its theme parks and film studios, forced into inactivity by the pandemic.

NOT FLUFFY

Responding to a National Union of Journalists' press release claiming that the restructuring of BBC local radio would lead to "fluffy stories and more music", BBC England's director Helen Thomas said the commitment to news is staying as strong as it has always been. She commented: "Providing local news and information is at the heart of what our local radio stations do and always will be. Any suggestion otherwise is completely untrue and misleading."

MAKING ANALYTICS WORK

Guinness and Smirnoff owner Diageo has credited the use of marketing analytics for its recent 1% overall sales increase. The growth was triggered by investment and performance in the US market, compensating for a weak showing in Europe.

MORE EXPANSION AT JD

Sports and leisurewear retailer JD Sports is considering an equity placing of up to £400 million to help fund further acquisitions, after completing a deal to take over Shoe Palace in the US. Expectations are that its latest pre-tax profits will be at least £400 million.

LOCAL MORRISONS

Supermarket Morrisons is to strengthen its policy of focusing on a British supply base. Chief executive David Potts is also calling for major suppliers to produce and package more food in the UK, less in mainland Europe.

REDUCED DRASTICALLY

UK advertising spending in the last quarter of 2020 was reduced drastically. There were sharp declines across all sectors and the net balance was minus 62.9%, according to the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising's newly-commissioned Bellwether report.

SKY HIGH ALIGNMENT

International Airways Group, owner of British Airways, is reviewing its global advertising and marketing agency relationships to being about what it has described as "further alignment". The British Airways advertising account is one of the most prestigious in the UK.

MOBILE GAMING

New research by Facebook has shown that the UK mobile gaming market has grown by 50%, or 8.6 million new players, since the onset of the pandemic. Facebook's online gaming arm surpassed one billion hours of participation for the first time in the third quarter of 2020. Puzzle games are the most popular.

VIOLENCE CONDEMNED

Britain's Chartered Institute of Journalists has condemned the violence by Donald Trump supporters at the US Congress in Washington. Rioters chased working journalists and trashed their media equipment, in what the Institute described as "a stain on democracy".

COCA-COLA JOBS TO GO

Coca-Cola GB has started a consultation process as a precursor to shedding around 100 jobs. The losses are expected to be in marketing, communications and public affairs, although there will be some relocation of people. In 2019 Coca-Cola announced that it would be restructuring its global business into five categories, halving its business units and cutting around 400 brands.