UK ad spend forecast to recover quicker than expected
The UK ad market is forecast to grow by 15.2% this year, reflecting a “stronger and quicker recovery” than expected, according to the latest Advertising Association/WARC Expenditure Report.
The figure is 0.8 percentage points higher than the forecast in October, with preliminary estimates for growth in 2020 down 7.9% on ad spend of £23.2bn. This reflect an improvement of 6.6 percentage points.
The actual fall in ad spend during Q3 2020 was 3.3% to £5.9bn, far better than the 17.9% drop forecast in October, thanks to better than expected online spend.
Internet spend grew by 10.1% to £4.2bn during the quarter, triggered by a 14.5% rise in search spend, which in turn was driven by ecommerce advertising.
Overall, UK ad spend was down 11.1% over the first nine months of 2020 at £16.2bn.
The new forecast for the UK’s ad market in 2021 will make up for the decline seen in 2020, with accelerated growth putting total ad spend at £26.7bn for the year, above the previous high of £25.4bn recorded in 2019.
The UK’s projected ad market growth in 2021 is also expected to be ahead of other key international markets, with the China expecting to grow 10.3%, Germany 9.3%, the US 3.8% and Europe as a whole (excluding the UK) predicted to grow 8.8%.
The UK’s decline in 2020 is also expected to be less pronounced than other markets, with the global ad spend figure expected to fall by 10.2% and the rest of Europe expected to see a drop of 13.7%.
The Advertising Association’s chief executive, Stephen Woodford, says: “Not only does the data show the overall decline expected in 2020 may be less than feared, but the recovery in 2021 will be stronger than we would have dared hope even a few months ago.
“With the vaccine rollout accelerating and a Brexit trade deal in place, the 2021 business outlook is brightening, reflected by these new forecasts showing a stronger and quicker recovery in ad spend, with a stronger rebound than in other large economies. With every £1 of advertising spend generating £6 of GDP, this is good news for jobs and growth in the wider economy.”
Ikea to sell spare parts in sustainability drive
Ikea plans to start selling spare parts for furniture as it looks to scale up its sustainability credentials and banish the misconception its products are throw-away.
The retailer is considering offering items such as sofa legs and arm rests so consumers can repair furniture and prolong the life of its products. It already offers replacement nuts and bolts for free.
Ikea’s chief sustainability officer, Lena Pripp-Kovac, told the Financial Times the brand is “testing a lot” as it looks to improve sustainability and change consumers’ perception that Ikea furniture is disposable given its affordable price tag.
The Swedish retailer aims to become a climate-positive company by the end of the decade, meaning it cuts more emissions than it produces.
Ikea is already trialling selling second-hand furniture as well as buying back old items and leasing office equipment.
Facebook News launches in the UK
Facebook is rolling out Facebook News in the UK, a dedicated news feed featuring leading national, local and lifestyle publishers.
Publishers including Channel 4 News, Daily Mail Group, the Financial Times and Sky News join already confirmed names such as The Guardian, The Economist, local news sites from Archant and lifestyle brands Vogue, GQ and Cosmopolitan for the UK launch – the first outside the US.
The product is designed to put original journalism in from of new audiences while also providing publishers with millions in additional revenue from advertising and subscription opportunities.
Facebook says the investment is intended to “support the industry in building sustainable business models”. But the Guardian suggests it could be seen as a strategic play designed to discourage wider international regulation of news media.
The UK roll our comes ahead of other European markets including France and Germany.
People will see the top headlines of the day alongside personally curated stories based on their interests.
Tony’s Chocolonely mimics rivals’ old packaging in fight against child labour
Tony’s Chocolonely has launched four limited edition chocolate bars mimicking 20-year-old packaging of other brands to raise awareness of the fact the industry is still using child labour despite promising to eradicate it two decades ago.
Through the ethical brand’s ‘Sweet Solution’ campaign it is urging consumers to sign a petition to support the need for human rights legislation that holds companies to account for modern slavery and illegal child labour in their supply chains.
In 2001 chocolate companies committed to eliminating illegal child labour and modern day slavery by supporting the Harkin-Engel Protocol. But more than 1.6 million children and 30,000 victims of modern slavery are still forced to work on cocoa plantations today according to the US-government sponsored NORC report, published in October.
Tony’s Chocolonely’s head of impact, Paul Schoenmakers, says: “Fifteen years after we launched our first chocolate bar to call on the industry, not enough has changed. With these bars, we aren’t pointing a finger, we’re calling on the whole chocolate industry, all brands, to take responsibility and to collaborate to make 100% slave free the norm in chocolate.”
The limited edition bars are only available online after Tony’s Chocolonely claims other chocolate companies put pressure on UK supermarkets to remove them from their shelves as they didn’t want to be associated with the claims of illegal labour in the chocolate industry.
Schwarzkopf Live highlights diversity in latest campaign
Home hair colour brand Schwarzkopf Live has extended its diversity campaign following a 31.5% rise in sales last year.
The Henkel-owned brand has signed up nine female influencers with varying ages and backgrounds for the #GenerationColour campaign to celebrate their diversity and strength.
Schwarzkopf saw a sharp increase in sales last year as a result of salons closing during the pandemic, forcing women to colour their hair at home.
Schwarzkopf Live brand manager, Ana Faria, says: “Celebrating your identity with fun colours can help lift the spirits and the huge increase in sales last year bears this out.
“Live colour celebrates everyone living their life in their own way, without constraints. That’s why we work with influencers who embody a wide range of ages, backgrounds and lifestyles – each woman brings to the table a unique experience, creating an inclusive campaign.”
Boohoo buys Debenhams for £55m
Boohoo has acquired the Debenhams brand and website for £55m, in a deal that excludes the department store’s remaining 118 high street shops and cuts thousands of jobs.
The fast fashion retailer, which is also buying the Maine, Manataray, Principles and Faith brands, says the remaining stores will be wound down when they are in a position to reopen.
Boohoo executive chairman, Mahmud Kamani, says the acquisition is a “transformational deal for the group”, which helps fuel the company’s ambition to create the UK’s biggest marketplace.
“Our acquisition of the Debenhams brand is strategically significant as it represents a huge step which accelerates our ambition to be a leader, not just in fashion ecommerce, but in new categories including beauty, sport and homeware,” Kamani adds.
The struggling 242-year-old department store chain first fell into administration in April 2019, before entering liquidation in December after talks failed to find a buyer.
A reported £125m bid from Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group was rejected for being too low. Then JD Sports pulled out of a potential deal last month after the collapse of Arcadia. The Arcadia Group operated more concessions in Debenhams than any other retailer, selling £100m worth of clothing through the department store annually.
A closing down sale began across Debenhams’s 124 UK stores in December and within the past couple of weeks the retailer confirmed six stores would not reopen after lockdown, including its flagship on London’s Oxford Street.
Boohoo has a habit of acquiring failing high street brands. Over the past two years the company has bought the Oasis, Warehouse, Coast and Karen Millen brands – but not their stores. The Boohoo Group also includes BoohooMan, Nasty Gal, Pretty Little Thing and Miss Pap.
Asos emerges as frontrunner to buy Topshop
Asos has emerged as the frontrunner to buy the Topshop, Topman and Miss Selfridge brands out of administration following the collapse of the Arcadia Group in November.
It is thought any deal would include the brands but not their store portfolios, putting jobs at risk. Some 13,000 jobs are already on the line across Arcadia, which also owns Burton and Dorothy Perkins. Asos is currently a major wholesaler of the Topshop, Topman and Miss Selfridge brands.
The likes of JD Sports, Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group and Boohoo are also thought to be interested in parts of the Arcadia Group. The BBC reports that the Issa brothers, who bought the Asda supermarket chain for £6.8bn in October, have tabled a bid for Topshop, while Chinese fashion brand Shein is also thought to be in the running.
On Thursday, Next withdrew its interest in Arcadia after being “unable to meet the price expectations of the vendor”. The retail chain did, however, wish any future owners well in their endeavours to “preserve an important part of the UK retail sector”. Next has already made moves in the acquisition space, buying a majority stake in the UK arm of failing US lingerie brand Victoria’s Secret in September.
WhatsApp ‘loses millions of users’ as privacy concerns spread
WhatsApp is reportedly losing millions of users amid concerns an update to its terms of service could compromise privacy.
The Facebook-owned messaging service has been forced to delay the implementation of the new terms, set to be introduced on 8 February, as users flock to rival services such as Signal and Telegram.
Home affairs committee statistics, reported by the Guardian, show during the first three weeks of January Signal gained 7.5 million users globally, while Telegram added 25 million. Signal is now the most downloaded app in the country, according to analytics firm App Annie, while by 12 January WhatsApp had fallen to the position of 23rd most downloaded app.
WhatsApp is fighting to allay users’ fears that data will be shared with its parent company Facebook through the update. The brand says the update only refers to a new set of features enabling users to message businesses via WhatsApp and provides further transparency about how the app collects data.
Two weeks ago WhatsApp issued a statement aimed at addressing the “confusion” and “misinformation” surrounding the update. The messaging app believes that while shopping with businesses via WhatsApp is still relatively new, more people will choose to do so in the future and that is why the update is important.
The company says it will allow people to “gradually review the policy at their own pace” before new business options are introduced on 15 May. WhatsApp has also thanked those users who have “helped spread facts and stop rumours”.
Sky ramps up UK content to add value to subscriptions
Sky is planning to double its amount of original British content and release a new, exclusive film every fortnight from 2022.
This investment in film is in addition to the £1bn Sky has already budgeted to spend on original shows by 2024. The main aim of the content push is to add value to Sky Cinema subscriptions, the Guardian reports.
The broadcaster has increased its number of original films from two in 2020 to 30 this year and the focus will be on exclusivity, with original films being available only to Sky customers unless a limited cinema release is required to qualify for an award.
Sky claims audiences went “through the roof” in 2020 as lockdowns were imposed across the UK, while the number of subscribers cancelling their subscriptions was at an “all-time record low”.
The commitment from Sky comes as rival Netflix said last week it plans to release at least one new original film every week in 2021. The streaming giant has now crossed the 200 million subscriber mark after adding 8.5 million new paid subscribers during the fourth quarter alone.
In December, Disney+ announced it had signed up 86.8 million subscribers, exceeding its “wildest expectations” according to CEO Bob Chapek. The entertainment giant also outlined plans to launch new films directly onto Disney+, skipping a traditional cinema release.
Heycar secures sponsorship of BT Sport FA Cup coverage
Heycar has been named broadcast sponsor of FA Cup coverage across BT Sport, marking the online car marketplace’s debut TV sponsorship deal.
Looking to drive awareness among a “core target segment”, the partnership sees Heycar sponsor all BT Sport FA Cup broadcast coverage, as well as live streams across the app and online.
The broadcast creative, designed by Atomic, consists of three separate Heycar FA Cup executions and will be complemented by a digital campaign inviting fans to vote for their ultimate football chant. A wider integrated campaign aims to bring the romance of the FA Cup to life, despite the fact fans cannot attend the games in person.
Tonight, Heycar will also unveil a large banner outside Championship side Wycombe Wanderers’ Adams Park home ground for the club’s FA Cup fourth round clash with Tottenham Hotspur. The company’s branding will feature on perimeter boards and broadcast idents.
“There is something uniquely special about the FA Cup,” says Heycar CMO, Tracy Woods. “The passion, the drama, the upsets, the plucky underdogs going for glory against the giants of the game all combine to make it unmissable viewing for every fan. While the nation remains in lockdown, it offers some much-needed real feelgood moments – which fit perfectly with the Heycar brand.”