Marketing Week

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Charlotte Rogers: BrewDog is a lesson in how to scale up without losing your ‘craft’

BrewDog is officially a big deal. Over the past two days the self-styled Scottish punk brewer has raised more than £1m as part of its latest investment round, which sees it poised to become the biggest equity crowdfunded business of all time.

More than 1,000 new investors came on board in just 48 hours, helping take BrewDog towards its short-term target of £10m and further stretch goal of £50m. Describing this latest funding round as the beginning of a “new era of business”, BrewDog will use the money to fund the construction of new breweries in Australia and Asia, as well as increasing the capacity of its brewery in Ellon, Aberdeenshire.

The investment will also fund the opening of 15 new craft beer bars in the UK and the development of its first sour beer facility – The Overworks – which is scheduled to launch later this year.

To date the wider BrewDog empire spans 47 bars worldwide, a second brewery in Columbus, Ohio and its Lone Wolf Distillery for gin and vodka, all supported by £41m of crowdfunding generated since 2009.

Such is the brewer’s success that in April BrewDog sold a 22% stake in the company to private equity firm TSG Consumer Partners, valuing the business at £1bn.

How then can a company valued at £1bn, which has been the UK’s fastest growing food and drinks company for the past five years and whose flagship Punk IPA is the number one selling beer in UK supermarkets, still call itself an independent craft brewer?

READ MORE: BrewDog wants to ‘reclaim craft’ with LoneWolf spirits launch

How to stay “craft”

The tug of war over the term “craft” rages on. In September Ab InBev-owned Camden Town Brewery said it wanted to transcend its “craft beer tag” as it went live with its first above the line …read more

Why has Volvo pulled out after winning Channel 4’s £1m diversity competition?


Volvo has decided to pull out of Channel 4’s Diversity in Marketing Award and pass up on £1m in free airtime, claiming Grey’s entry for the competition had not been “approved”.

The car marque was crowned the winner in July for its pitch around non-visible disability. The idea had been submitted by its creative agency Grey London.

However, Volvo now says the agency “submitted an entry to the Channel 4 competition that had not previously been shared with us, nor approved for production”. It claims to have only realised this recently, despite winning four months ago and with the ad due to be aired imminently.

Marketing Week approached a Volvo spokesman for clarification, who said: “To cut a long story short, it’s a Grey issue and not a Volvo issue.”

When questioned why the brand would not want £1m of free airtime for a campaign promoting diversity, Volvo said it did, but that it depended on the campaign being “eligible” – which in this case it wasn’t as it hadn’t been reviewed or signed off.

And when pressed further on how the decision to pull out will look, given the content of the campaign, he added: “It’s quite a fair point – it’s disappointing but at the end of the day that’s the situation.”

In its statement, the car brand claims diversity will remain a “key pillar”. It highlights the work done through its ‘Human Made’ campaign, which celebrates human innovation.

The move leaves Channel 4 facing a quandary. A Channel 4 spokesman says it is “disappointed” that Grey London and Volvo decided not to take their campaign forward.

Marketing Week understands the broadcaster is keen to honour the £1m award, and is likely to look to other shortlisted campaigns for a winner. The broadcaster is speaking to the competition’s judges about what to do next.

The move …read more

Bodyform, TUI, Bud Light: 5 things that mattered this week and why

TUI’s major campaign to promote Thomson rebrand

This week marked the end of the Thomson brand as it finally converted over to TUI – the name of its German owners – in the UK after a two-year changeover.

According to TUI’s UK marketing director Jeremy Ellis, the rebrand will give the travel business a broader appeal and allow it to be more digitally focused with 60% of its sales now coming from online.

He also spoke about the rise of Airbnb and his faith that people were starting to tire of do-it-yourself holidays. Ellis believes package holidays, which are TUI’s bread and butter, are enjoying an uplift in demand.

“People are starting to realise doing it yourself [like Airbnb] isn’t all it is cracked up to be. When you go down that route there’s too much choice and too many complications. If things go wrong there’s a lot more risks attached than if you were to book traditionally,” he explained.

While these comments are probably what you’d expect to hear from a package holiday operator, they are intriguing because they hint at a wider trend of people tiring of the complexities of ordering through Airbnb and the issues when things go wrong. Recent flight cancellations from Ryanair have revealed how little protection consumers have if one aspect of their holiday goes wrong. But TUI will need to work hard to make sure it’s the brand of choice for those looking for more reassurance.

READ MORE: TUI talks Thomson rebrand and a backlash against the Airbnb model

Bodyform runs first ad to show ‘realistic’ period blood

Sanitary brands have been widely criticised for using clear blue liquid to demonstrate the durability of their products. Now Bodyform is trying to normalise periods with its #bloodnormal campaign.

It portrays a …read more

The low-alcohol drinks company selling ‘a set of USPs and not a brand’

SkinnyBrands low calorie

Imagine the following scenario: you’re on a diet, or at least looking to choose a healthier option when it comes to your drinking repertoire. Would you buy a drink that is purely marketed on its brand benefits, like being lower in calories and gluten free? SkinnyBrands seems to think so.

For those unaware of SkinnyBrands, the brand offers low-calorie alcoholic drinks. At the moment, it is focused around beer and canned cocktails, but there are plans in the works for wine too.

While there are other brewers out there focusing on low or no-alcohol options, the company’s new marketing director Allan Moffat claims SkinnyBrands is unique as it “doesn’t compromise” on taste or alcohol volume.

For example, its SkinnyBrands lager advertised on its website contains 89 calories per 330ml bottle. In comparison, a similar-sized Carlsberg can contains 149 calories, while Bud Light has 118 calories in a standard 440ml can. The ABV of its lager is 4%, while Bud Light stands at 3.5%. Meanwhile, SkinnyBrands’ Cosmo, Mojito and Margarita cocktails are 5% ABV and contain 90 calories per can.

The website even includes information on how many WeightWatchers points are accrued per bottle of beer (three points – one whole point lower than Coors Light). The beer also claims to be vegan friendly and gluten free.

We know the challenges that the bigger, more established beer and lager brands will face. They’re not purpose built. By nature, [low-calorie versions] are a compromise of an existing product.

Allan Moffat, SkinnyBrands

“I know some other brands have got some of our functional benefits, but none of them have all of them. The vast majority are lower in alcohol to deliver lower calorie, and weaker in taste to deliver lower carbs. We feel like we’re leading the way in terms of that area of the market,” he says.

“We know …read more

Colin Lewis: Machiavelli was right – it is better to be virtuous than fortunate

Earlier this year, Marketing Week featured some superb insights on marketing leadership. However, something struck me while researching my own article on leadership: the biggest challenge for the marketing leaders of the future is making sense of the plethora of literature on leadership.

There is so much out there, and most teaching on leadership is filled with recommendations about being authentic, honest, modest, truthful and never, ever being a bully, or god forbid, being shouty or abusive.

I hate to be a buzzkill but this does not sound like any place I have worked – and that includes three continents, three industries and a career spanning over 20 years.

In short, a lot of CEO and leadership writing is about ideals, about how people wish the world is – rather than it actually is. Why is this? Because leaders touting their own careers as models to be emulated frequently gloss over the reality of what they did and the games they played to get to the top.

READ MORE: Do you have the Anatomy of a Leader?

As a guide for obtaining leadership and positions of power, recommendations about being authentic, honest, modest and truthful are flawed.

Most CEOs are not ‘level 5 leaders’, a concept outlined by Jim Collins in his book ‘Good to Great’. He describes these leaders as individuals who are “self-effacing, quiet, reserved, even shy”, who get the best out of employees by not soaking up all the limelight and making all the decisions. Maybe the rarity of such leaders may be why so few organisations go from good to great.

Unfortunately for you and me, the path to leadership often bears little resemblance to the advice being dished out.

People prefer to believe that the workplace is a just and fair place and that everyone gets what they deserve if they work …read more

Polaroid on why the ‘Stranger Things effect’ is good news for retro brands

You would be forgiven for thinking Polaroid was dead, with the age of digital photography resulting in the majority of instant camera brands going the way of the dodo. Yet, against all odds, Polaroid is about to launch its first new analogue camera since 2003.

During its 1970s heyday, Polaroid was selling up to 13 million cameras a year and generating $2bn in annual sales. Back then, it is no stretch to say the masses were astonished by the idea of taking and then instantly printing a photograph.

In many ways, Polaroid remains a brand synonymous with 1970s and 1980s pop culture having been referenced in pretty much every golden Hollywood movie from that era. However, by 2008 this retro image meant very little with the business in decay and preparing to close down its last remaining factory. Put simply, this was because the masses favoured the simplicity of digital cameras and the lenses on their phones over taking an outdated Polaroid.

Step forward the aptly-titled company the Impossible Project. It acquired the last remaining Polaroid factory and film stock for just shy of £2m back in 2008 after seeing the potential for a retro resurgence. And although this initially raised eyebrows, it’s increasingly looking like a smart move.

Appealing to modern audiences

Now rebranded as Polaroid Originals, the retro brand’s head of global marketing Martin Franklin says it is currently scaling up production having “steadily grown” its sales since Impossible Project took over nearly 10 years ago.

In fact, the brand is about to launch Polaroid OneStep 2, a successor to the original Polaroid OneStep, in Europe (where the largely digital marketing campaign will be handled by UK agency Margaret) having already “sold out across the board” in North America, where it’s stocked in shops such as Urban Outfitters and Best Buy. It also …read more

International round-up: Nivea accused of racism and Burger King’s anti-bullying campaign

This is why black businesses need to rise up and cater for our needs. Nivea can’t get away with pushing this skin lightening agenda across Africa. Appalling.

— William Adoasi (@WilliamAdoasi) October 18, 2017

Nivea criticised over skin-lightening ads

Nivea is facing a barrage of criticism over “racist” ads for a body lotion that lightens the ski of black women. The ads, which have appeared on billboards and in TV spots across West Africa, promise women “visibly fairer skin”.

According to a report by the University of Cap Town, about 75% of Nigeria women use skin-lightening products and they are also popular in countries including Ghana, Senegal and Kenya. But consumers in Europe and America have criticised the ads, accusing them of being racist.

READ MORE: Nivea accused of racism over skin-lightening ads

Nielsen to share Netflix ratings for the first time

Nielsen is set to start measuring and publicly sharing the audience for Netflix shows in the US, marking the first time that TV networks and studios will be able to judge how popular shows such as Stranger Things, Orange is the New Black and House of Cards are.

The measurement company’s new offering, SVOD Content Ratings, will provide the same ratings and demographic data as it currently offers for TV programmes. However, it will initially only offer ratings for Netflix and be restricted to shows viewed on connected devices and smart TVs, which account for around 75% of SVoD viewing.

The service has been in testing with select clients since August. It relies on data from Nielsen’s national panel, which includes 44,000 households and more than 100,000 people. Companies including A&E, Disney-ABC, NBCUniversal and Lionsgate are already signed up.

READ MORE: At Long Last, Nielsen Will Publicly Share Ratings for Netflix Shows

Burger King shines the spotlight on bullying

<iframe width="780" height="439" …read more

Ben Davis: Lush’s approach to ecommerce should be a lesson for all retail marketers

The Lush website has a homepage that breaks many of the rules of conversion rate optimisation. But far from misunderstanding the online customer journey, the cosmetics company is one of the few retail brands that excites with its website and demonstrates an understanding of brand strategy alongside functionality.

Let’s discuss some homepage conventions in ecommerce. A homepage is supposed to maintain the buying momentum of the shopper through a main menu, a search box and content tiles that represent the main product categories.

Conventional wisdom dictates that products should not be placed on the homepage as they may cause shoppers to underestimate the breadth of a retailer’s product mix, and because each shopper may have different intents at different moments.

There’s a similar school of thought suggesting that although editorial-style content may be good for SEO and brand awareness, it’s not something that should take precedence on an ecommerce homepage, lest it distract the shopper from spending their money.

But let me describe the Lush homepage at time of writing. The vast majority of the desktop homepage above the fold is taken up by a large banner rather cryptically asking “Are you on the list?” with a call to action to “Take the quiz”.

Click through and you are presented with a petition calling on Theresa May to disclose what data the UK Government passes to the US to aid its drone strike programme. There’s a quiz that enables you to find out if you might be on the US kill list (hint: there are plenty of innocent ways to raise a red flag against your name).

READ MORE: Tom Goodwin – Ecommerce has been democratised – now anyone can sell anything

Hang on, we’re a long way from bath bombs and face masks here.

Scroll down the homepage and you’re …read more

TUI: People are realising the Airbnb model isn’t all it’s cracked up to be

Although the disruption of Airbnb has undoubtedly impacted the travel sector, TUI’s UK marketing director Jeremy Ellis believes a backlash is starting to form against do-it-yourself holidays.

“People are starting to realise doing it yourself isn’t all it is cracked up to be,” he tells Marketing Week. “When you go down that route there’s too much choice and too many complications. If things go wrong there’s a lot more risks attached than if you were to book traditionally.

“We curate unique holiday experiences and check for health and safety because people don’t have the time to trawl through page after page. A lot of time-poor people are realising a package holiday is the most convenient way to start a holiday,” he adds.

Indeed, Ellis says the traditional package holiday market is actually in growth again.

The business has just completed its rebrand from Thomson to TUI in the UK, which has been part of a two-year process.

Today (18 October) TUI launched a marketing campaign to reinforce the new branding, which is centred around the slogan ‘We cross the Ts, dot the Is and put U in the middle’. It follows a 20-second TV ad in September, which showed a man diving into a pool while a strapline flashed up saying: “Thomson is changing to TUI”.

If things go wrong [with a do-it-yourself holiday] there’s a lot more risks attached than if you were to book traditionally.

According to YouGov BrandIndex, TUI’s ad awareness score has risen from two to 25 since the TV advert’s release on the 20 September. Its buzz score, which measures the positive things people have heard about a brand, has also risen – up from one to seven points over the same period.

Ellis insists this data proves the switch has been a smooth one. “The TUI brand gives …read more

Google and Facebook commit to ‘gold standard’ to clean up digital advertising

Google and Facebook have committed themselves to a new initiative by the IAB to address common digital advertising woes such as ad fraud and brand safety.

The ‘Gold Standard’ programme, which launches today (18 October), sees 23 IAB UK board members, including Facebook, Google and Twitter, promise to take three key actions to improve digital advertising:

  1. Reduce ad fraud by implementing the ‘ads.txt’ initiative on all sites carrying ads. This means publishers and distributors are forced to declare who is authorised to sell their inventory, thereby improving transparency for programmatic buyers.
  2. Improve the digital advertising experience for consumers by adhering to the LEAN principles, the Coalition for Better Advertising standards and never using the 12 “bad” ads. In short, ads have to be light, encrypted and non-invasive.
  3. Increase brand safety by working with UK body JICWEBS, which benchmarks best practice for online trading, with a view to become certified or maintain certification.

Initially, the Gold Standard has these three fundamental aims, but could be expanded in future and the IAB will look to encourage its members to tackle other issues such as audience measurement and viewability.

The deadline for implementing the three initiatives will be confirmed in the coming weeks.

Brand safety has been high on advertisers’ list of priorities this year since P&G’s chief brand officer Marc Pritchard issued a rallying cry to the industry to clean up the “murky” media supply system. Meanwhile, YouTube’s brand safety scandal, which saw advertising placed next to extremist or pornographic content, also led advertisers to pull back – with some brands still refusing to advertise on the platform.

“Everyone agrees that digital advertising standards need to improve to keep this industry sustainable and thriving. The IAB Gold Standard is a practical measure that demonstrates media owner commitment to making this happen,” said the IAB’s chief digital officer Tim …read more

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