Coca-Cola brings in a new UK marketing director
Coca-Cola Great Britain has appointed European marketer Kris Robbens as its new marketing director. Robbens, who has spent 15 years with Coke, is no stranger to how the brand works but he comes at a period of change for the company – especially in the UK.
Coke GB has been speeding up its innovation, launching water brand Aquarius in the UK and introducing its first range of mixers and Coke-branded energy drink all within the last three months.
In the case of its signature mixers, the pipeline from concept to launch was just 18 months, but Robbens will have to decide whether this current rate should continue.
Some will call for him to continue this current speed in order to keep up with changing consumer trends, but there is a strong argument for letting the dust settle. A total beverage company doesn’t mean pushing out products a mile a minute. Instead Robbens would do well to incorporate a mix of long-term campaigns and new releases.
That’s not to say that the current strategy isn’t serving Coke well but Robbens should use his new job as an opportunity to take stock and assess what the future strategy should look like. MF
Tango returns to TV with bizarre ads
When you think of Tango, you probably think of those classic ‘You know when you’ve been Tangoed’ ads from the 1990s, which is what brought the fizzy drinks brand its widespread fame.
Its latest campaign, however, sees a dad find his daughter’s vibrator and the daughter accidentally send a ‘sext’ meant for her boyfriend to her dad, saved only by a wise advice-giving ‘Tanguru’ and, of course, a can of Tango.
Tango says it wants to become part of the national conversation again through “bold and irreverent humour” and that it has “a right” to push boundaries.
But these ads feel like they have been written by an adult trying (and failing) to ‘get down with the kids’.
Yes, they’re meant to be awkward but these spots border on the wrong side of uncomfortable.
Tango is going after 16- to 24-year-olds – a demographic research suggests is having less sex – with ads about sex. In 2019, do young people really want to be advertised to with this kind of ‘sexually awkward’ humour?
More problematic: the juxtaposition of the typically stiff white middle class family with a laid-back and hippyish woman of colour feels like lazy stereotyping – whether unconscious or not.
Tango claims the ads scored “exceptionally well” for branding, engagement and humour when it did some pre-launch research.
But the carbonated drinks category is competitive and growing. And, even though it is promoting its sugar-free flavours, Tango still has a reputation for being full of sugar compared to its rivals.
It is going to take a lot more than vibrators, awkward texts and Tanguru to put some fizz back into the brand. EH
The first anniversary of GDPR should be a wake-up call for brands
Tomorrow marks one year since the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force, and despite much furore at the time it seems most consumers haven’t seen any improvement in the way brands communicate with them. Very disappointing given the endless discussions, first about the challenges of data management and then the supposed opportunities it would create.
In actual fact, just 31% of consumers believe their overall experience with brands has improved, according to an exclusive survey by Ipsos Mori on behalf of Marketing Week. More worrying is the fact 46% have seen no change, while 17% think things have actually got worse.
A look at specific forms of communication reveals an equally bleak picture. Tidying up customer data should have enabled brands to send consumers fewer, more personalised emails, yet 34% think emails have become less relevant. Conversely, just a quarter of people have seen an improvement.
Likewise, when it comes to frequency, 39% think the situation has got worse, compared to 29% who believe things have got better.
The threat of GDPR did give many brands the kick up the backside they needed to get their data in order, and it has certainly moved data up the agenda for marketers. But 25 May 2018 was not the finish line, it was just the start. In order to improve communication and better engage consumers brands need to think more about how their actions will impact customers rather than doing the bare minimum to comply. LT
NatWest tackles stereotyping in banking but campaign proves polarising
NatWest is aiming to tackle a noble cause in its new marketing campaign – the stereotyping and gender bias apparent in banking and investment.
The campaign, called The Banker, kicked off with a PR stunt that saw men dressed like traditional images of a bank manager in pinstripe suits and bowler hats handing out letters of apology to commuters. This accompanied with a feature in magazine Stylist highlighting the issues and what NatWest would be doing to address them.
That there is a gender imbalance in banking and investment is well known. While women are more usually in charge of household finances, they are much less likely to invest.
YouGov figures cited by NatWest show that 83% of women don’t feel banks make products easy to understand. Separate data from Kantar finds just 24% of women would describe their engagement around financial investments as ‘high’, compared to 43% of men. Closing that gap by improving women’s engagement by just one confidence decile represents a market worth £12.4bn for millennial women and £24.4bn for Gen X women.
The campaign has proved polarising, with some criticising NatWest for a campaign that aimed to tackle how women patronise by speaking to them in a patronising manner. Yet there’s no doubt it has got people talking, key when so often campaigns on gender issues are ignored.
NatWest is also following up its words with actions. It has launched a collective, called ‘A Woman’s Worth’, that will enable women to discuss their thoughts when it comes to finance and make suggestions on what banks can do better.
Alongside this, NatWest has pledged to “smash the stereotypes” that exist in the financial industry, be more representative in-branch and across its comms and help to close the investment gap.
This is an area all banks need to address. Kudos to NatWest for coming out and saying it like it is. SV
Pret gobbles up Eat brand
Ever feel like everywhere you look there is a Pret? On every corner of most major cities it seems that there is an option to buy a classic Pret sandwich.
This is now only set to increase as the brand has bought rival sandwich chain Eat. Pret has promised to turn “as many as possible” of Eat’s 94 locations into vegetarian-only stores as it wants to “turbo charge” Veggie Pret.
It’s a smart move from the brand that started the vegan and vegetarian-only shops two years ago after its CEO Clive Schlee was inspired by his daughter’s plant-based diet.
Schlee wrote in a blog that the Veggie Pret had been opened as an “experiment, never imagining it would be around for more than a month” but what the brand did was tap into a key consumer trend.
According to Nielsen, spending on plant-based food in the UK was up a fifth to £315.2m in the year to April, while overall spending on meat fell 2% to £8bn. As concerns about keeping fit and climate change mount, this is only set to increase and Pret’s latest acquisition means it can quickly keep up with demand.
Buying Eat stores take out much of the hassle of opening new locations but it will not be free of problems. Unlike Pret, Eat uses centralised kitchens that deliver sandwiches to stores so Pret will need to assess how many of the new stores are able to have kitchens added.
In a testing time for the high-street food and dining sector, this Veggie Pret is an experiment for both the brand and wider market. If a success more chains might start considering their own veggie branches to combat the decline of the high street. MF