Unilever and Tesco’s price row
A price row between Tesco and Unilever resulted in online panic this week, as thousands took to social media to express their dismay at the lack of Marmite on their supermarket shelves.
The vote to leave the European Union is what created the unexpected impact on supplies of brand favourites such as Marmite, PG Tips and Hellman’s, with Unilever blaming Brexit and the falling value of the pound for a need to increase the price it charges retailers by 10%.
Speaking on an investor call on Thursday (13 October), Unilever’s CFO Graeme Pitkethly said: “It’s important to point out that we don’t set prices for consumers at the end of the day. We are in a devaluation-led cycle. We care deeply about customer affordability of our brands.
“As a consequence, price increases have landed with most of our customers. So much of the press covered it this morning, but we’re confident it will be resolved pretty quickly.”
However, the argument between Tesco was resolved in less than 24 hours. Today (14 October), a Unilever statement read: “We have been working closely together to reach this resolution and ensure our much-loved brands are once again fully available. For all those that missed us, thanks for all the love.”
Not bad publicity for a 24 hour spat, eh?
P&G boss wants to improve the ‘quality’ of its advertising
Speaking at Procter & Gamble’s annual shareholder meeting Tuesday (11 October), Taylor said that even though organic sales are up 1%, the FMCG giant “still has to do better”.
He said P&G is looking to invest more heavily in marketing to increase the reach, consistency and effectiveness of its campaigns.
“In the fourth quarter of last year our media investment increased by $200m, and there are plans to further increase this in 2017. We want to improve the quality of our advertising, and make our brands more relevant to consumers,” he said.
During the meeting he also shared two examples of marketing campaigns, including Pantene’s ‘Strong Is Beautiful’ and Always’ ‘Like A Girl’ campaign, that proved to be profitable while promoting a social purpose. According to Taylor, the Like A Girl campaign has resulted in 1.5 billion global impressions so far.
Brexit set to be a rollercoaster for marketing budgets and jobs
On the surface it looked like good news for marketers with ad budgets hitting their highest level for more than two years in the third quarter.
More than a quarter (26.2%) of senior marketers increased their ad spend during the third quarter, compared to 12.9% who registered a fall, according to the IPA’s quarterly Bellwether Report. This means the balance of marketers saying they would increase their spend stands at +13.4%, a rise of nearly three percentage points compared to the second quarter the highest level since Q2 2014.
However, the figures, which were released earlier this week, could be deceiving. Theresa May’s pledge to evoke Article 50 by March 2017 has not exactly instilled enthusiasm among the business community, while the pound has also hit a 31-year-low.
Paul Troy, CMO of Confused.com, is particularly concerned. He summarised: “You will get a true sense of what is happening in March next year. I reckon the first quarter will be positive but come the second quarter marketing budgets will drop drastically and it will be very much a year of two halves.
“Nobody will want to throw millions at TV in the second quarter or maybe even the third, as they will be hesitant when planning as that’s when we will know if Britain will retain access to things such as the single market.”
Premier Foods avoids gender stereotypes with new Oxo family
Iconic gravy brand Oxo has launched a new marketing campaign that aims to move away from gender stereotypes such as the woman always taking responsibility for the family meal.
As part of the campaign, created by J. Walter Thompson, Oxo has introduced a new fictional family consisting of a mum, dad, three children and a pet rabbit. And while the first ad features the mum at the stove cooking a meal to impress her daughter’s school friend, the second shows the dad sorting out a meal for last-minute dinner guests.
“Those advertising scripts where the mum is literally tied to an oven just don’t work anymore,” explained Helen Warren Piper, marketing director for grocery at Premier Foods, which owns the Oxo brand.
“It’s clear advertisers need to think beyond mum and to do a better job at representing the whole of the modern family or consumers will reject them.”
She is also hoping the new Oxo family will have legs, adding: “If you look at Lynda Bellingham as the Oxo mum, she did 42 ads with us. We have so many scripts up our sleeve with this new Oxo family and we want to make them equally as famous [as Lynda]. Our hope is that this will run for many years.”
Fitbit aims for the mass market with The X Factor sponsorship
Fitbit is continuing to achieve mainstream exposure after it inked a partnership with The X Factor UK.
Contestants will be provided with Fitbit activity trackers to help them manage their overall health and wellness, with a weekly personal trainer able to answer any of their questions. Each contestant’s Fitbit experience will be detailed in a series of exclusive weekly videos that will be released through digital channels.
“We are very excited to be an official X Factor partner this year, this is a first for us as a brand. Much like Fitbit, The X Factor celebrates feel-good moments that bring people together,” says Lucy Sheehan, Fitbit’s UK marketing director.
The partnership with The X Factor will provide a greater platform for Fitbit to talk up its brand connotations with health. Its CEO James Park recently revealed it was trialling products that were more tailored to combatting diseases.