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Latest news from The Drum

Qatar World Cup sponsors Adidas, Budweiser and McDonald’s speak out after Fifa corruption raid
Posted on Wednesday May 27, 2015

The leading sponsors of the next two World Cup competitions have issued statements after a number of Fifa’s top executives were arrested for accepted bribes and kickbacks.

Following the creative community issuing ads mocking the brands’ compliance with alleged slavery practices in Qatar during the construction of the 2022 stadiums, Adidas, Budweiser and McDonald’s have issued statements indicating they are watching the situation closely.

Adidas told Business Insider: “The Adidas Group is fully committed to creating a culture that promotes the highest standards of ethics and compliance, and we expect the same from our partners.

"Following today’s news, we can therefore only encourage Fifa to continue to establish and follow transparent compliance standards in everything they do.

“Adidas is the world’s leading football brand and we will continue to support football on all levels.”

Meanwhile, Budweiser told Reuters: “We expect all of our partners to maintain strong ethical standards and operate with transparency."

And finally, McDonald’s also commented on the situation: “McDonald's takes matters of ethics and corruption very seriously and the news from the US Department of Justice is extremely concerning. We are in contact with FIFA on this matter. We will continue to monitor the situation very closely."

Fifa will likely be on thin ice, after brands Castrol, Johnson & Johnson and Continental all called time on their association with the organisation in January.

Hormel to acquire Applegate Farms
Posted on Wednesday May 27, 2015

Minnesota-based Hormel Foods Corporation has announced that it will acquire organic meat brand Applegate Farms for approximately $775m.

The move comes as Hormel, whose brands include Spam, Skippy, and Dinty Moore, tries to appeal to younger and more health-conscious consumers.

Jeffrey M. Ettinger, president and chief executive officer at Hormel Foods, said: “A growing number of consumers are choosing natural and organic products. This deal allows us to expand the breadth of our protein offerings to provide consumers more choice.”

Based in New Jersey, Applegate will operate autonomously. The deal is expected to close within 60 days.

Stephen McDonnell, Applegate founder and CEO, said: “Over the last 28 years Applegate has brought transparency and clean ingredients to American favorites and classics like hot dogs, bacon and deli meat. It was my mission from the start to change the way we think about meat – how it’s raised and produced – and this agreement is definitely a continuation of that mission.” 

Earlier this year, Hormel Natural Choice unveiled a brand re-launch campaign starring actress Judy Greer encouraging viewers to ‘make the natural choice’ to promote its preservative-free lunchmeat.

Telmar appoints Anna Fountas president of the Americas
Posted on Wednesday May 27, 2015

Media planning software brand, Telmar, has appointed Anna Fountas president of the Americas.

Telmar is used in more than 100 countries by more than 25,000 users who want to analyze consumer and media data in order to properly target markets.

In her new role, Fountas, formerly president of the Traffic Audit Bureau, will be responsible for leading sales and client services in the US, Canada, and South America.

“Media planning software is more important than ever,” she said. “Every day advertisers get more options, complexity, data and urgency to contend with. Advertising depends utterly on targeting, and targeting relies increasingly on data synthesis.”

Fountas will report directly to Telmar’s global president, Corey Panno.

Publishers lose Adblock Plus challenge as court (again) rules ad blocking is legal
Posted on Wednesday May 27, 2015

German publishers have failed to prevent their users blocking ads on their sites after court officials ruled that the software was not anti-competitive.

The failed lawsuit from German publishers RTL and ProSiebenSat1 was against Eyeo, the parent company of popular ad-blocker AdBlock Plus, which operates an “acceptable ads” whitelist that larger sites have to abide by strict standards and sometimes pay steep fees to appear on.  

A spokesperson for the court confirmed the ruling to the Guardian this afternoon and in a statement said that the AdBlock Plus software “was not anti-competitive” because users choose to install the software and that it is not yet big enough to have a neglible impact on the money they make from ads.

In an emailed statement Eyeo said: “We are elated at the decision reached today by the Munich court, which is another win for every Internet user. It confirms each individual’s right to block annoying ads, protect their privacy and, by extension, determine his or her own internet experience. This time it also confirms the legitimacy of our Acceptable Ads initiative as a compromise in the often contentious and rarely progressive world of online advertising.”

It is Eyeo’s second victory over media owners in as many months and the fourth time it has batted away legal challenges to its offering. Last month’s challenge, which was mounted by German publishers Zeit Online and Handelsblatt, appears to have set a precedent with the outcome bearing striking similarities to today’s ruling. Greater clarification will be provided once another lawsuit against Eyeo from Axel Springer, the owner of the country’s largest newspaper Bild, is resolved.

The spate of lawsuits reflect the potential threat ad blocking could pose to those media owners reliant on advertising to drive their revenues should it become more widespread. The number of people with ad blockers jumped 70 per cent year-on-year in 2014, according to PageFair and Adobe, while Adblock Plus claims to have 50 million active users. Both figures will likely rise further this year now that Adblock Plus is being tested on Android devices ahead of a full scale rollout.

The failed lawsuits and moves to boost the reach of ad blockers are a blow for media owners like Google. The online business along with peers Amazon and Microsoft have all paid Eyeo to stop blocking ads on their sites, while several European mobile operators are reportedly poised to block advertising on their networks.  

It all points to a key role for ad blocking services in the tussle for dominance of advertising revenues between publishers and technology companies. Online advertising was worth $141.2bn globally in 2014, so it’s clear why the prospect of more people blocking ads with services such as Eyeo and mobile blocker Shine has ruffled the industry.

Richard Eyre, Chairman of IAB UK, wrote in a blog post today that ad blocking, particularly on mobile, can only be managed through “effective partnerships” involving all parties. His cited research from the IAB and YouGov which reveals that the level people would pay if the ads went away could not possibly support the quality of services they have come to expect for ‘free’.

“Advertising is the currency of the web. People don't much like paying for anything, but advertising is very clearly preferred to any other form of transaction,” he continued. “Our research says people would pay on average 88p a month for social media and £1.33 per month for search.

“[Advertising] supports an ecosystem that works for creators of content and services and for users, hence the £7bn spent last year in the UK alone on internet platforms, £1.6bn of that on mobile devices.  Advertising is also the simple mechanic that encourages innovation, as new entrants can safely count on earning ad revenues for a product people like.” gets together with ITV2 in Love Island partnership
Posted on Wednesday May 27, 2015

ITV Commercial and have struck a partnership which will see the dating service sponsor Love Island on ITV2.

The deal, which will see the dating site’s idents feature on broadcast, online and mobile with the show backed with digital and social media activity.

The idents will show singles preparing to go on dates they’ve set up through Match’s mobile app.

Jeremy Corenbloom, marketing director at, said: “The show will be an interesting and highly entertaining snapshot of young UK singles’ attitudes and behaviour.

“We’re expecting that the excitement of the show will inspire viewers to date as they watch, and we predict many of our singles will be using their mobiles to find dates while double-screening to chat about what’s happening on the show.”

Gary Knight, ITV commercial content director, added: “Love Island and is the perfect marriage of brands and we look forward to bringing this partnership to life across multiple platforms.”

Caroline Flack has been confirmed to host the upcoming season of the show.

Meet Grizzler, the Nikon ‘Phodographer’ who takes a pic every time he’s excited
Posted on Wednesday May 27, 2015

Nikon has hooked up a heart rate sensor and camera to Grizzler the dog to capture the moments of the day that excite him.

Using a photography method called Heartography, Grizzler the Border Collie would capture an image from a chest mounted camera every time he gets excited or happy, granting viewers an insight into the dog’s daily ups and downs.

On Heartography, a Nikon statement read: “Photos can capture the world's beauty within a single frame, and photographers translate what they feel into what others can see.

"With a device that reacts to increased heart rates, we can literally connect emotions to every photo.”

Grizzle's raised heart rate would set off the chest mounted camera via a Bluetooth connection. Nikon admitted that "due to Grizzler's high energy and active movements, several shots were blurred, so we only picked the best shots to be featured in this video".

Check out Grizzler’s work in detail on the Nikon microsite here.

Magnum to light London Eye pink or black in grand finale to Regent Street summer party
Posted on Wednesday May 27, 2015

Magnum has announced plans to take over London’s Regent Street on Sunday 31 May to celebrate the launch of its limited edition flavours with a summer street party.

To bring both ice creams' – Magnum Pink Raspberry and Magnum Black Espresso – personalities to life Magnum has collaborated with Mollie King of The Saturdays to create ‘The Magnum Emporium’ which will include a floral garden and sultry jazz club.

In addition to The Magnum Emporium guests will be treated to dance performances, a catwalk show, themed cocktails at nearby restaurants, and complimentary freshly dipped Magnums.

Nicola Rolfe, brand manager for Magum at Unilever UK, said the day, which will end with visitors deciding whether to light the London Eye black or pink by tweeting #London and #MagnumPink or #MagnumBlack, will be a “fantastic celebration of our two newest variants”.

The Regent Street Takeover is part of a heavy weight 360 degree marketing campaign promoting the limited edition flavours which launched in February 2015.  

Domino’s promotes Joe Jordan to chief marketing officer
Posted on Wednesday May 27, 2015

Global chain Domino’s Pizza has named Joe Jordon as vice president-chief marketing officer (CMO) amid a reshuffling of its US senior marketing team.

Other promotions announced by the company include Dennis Maloney as vice president-chief digital officer, Julia Oswald as vice president-head of strategy and insights, Domino’s USA and Debbie Sweeney, vice president of national field and Team USA marketing.

Russell Weiner, president of Domino’s USA, said: "Domino's has always had an incredible team of operators, marketers, insights, development and training professionals, and now, we will be able to take advantage of these key leaders' strengths more than ever.”

Jordan most recently served as vice president of field marketing for the pizza chain. He joined Domino’s in 2011 as vice president of marketing innovation, where he led the development and launch of the ‘Handmade Pan Pizza.’

Previously, he has held marketing positions at companies including Unilever and PepsiCo.

Grant’s eyes international expansion launching campaign specifically for Africa
Posted on Wednesday May 27, 2015

Scotch whisky brand Grant’s has launched a TV campaign set to be shown exclusively on TV across Sub-Saharan Africa from May.

Shot in Johannesburg, South Africa, #IOUAfrica challenges the notion of individual success and reflects the reality that no one makes it very far in life without a little help but we can find it hard to express our gratitude.

“We know that guys find it easier to show gratitude through physical actions rather than vocalising it and wanted to bring that to life in our latest TV commercial. From a fist bump or a knowing nod to buying a good friend a Grant’s, the spot brings to life the notion that actions truly do speak louder than words,” commented Julie Pender, Grant’s global marketing manager.

Muiris Ó’Riada, head of marketing for IMEA, William Grant & Sons, added: “2015 has been a very exciting year for Grant’s in Africa with the launch of Grant’s Select Reserve, our new premium whisky developed specifically for African consumers, and now the launch of our new African TV ad. We are excited about the premium whisky opportunity in the region and look forward to continuing the roll out of our aggressive growth plans across the year.”

#IOUAfrica features a track from African rappers M.ANIFEST and HHP with digital activity and PR across 2015 supporting the TV push,.

Brewers step up efforts to reignite Britain’s love of beer
Posted on Wednesday May 27, 2015

The nation’s biggest brewers are redoubling efforts to woo non-beer lovers with the next phase of their joint-marketing push that will introduce a flurry of digital and shopper advertising initiatives into the mix.

Activity will continue to be branded under the Britain’s Beer Alliance banner and looks to build further awareness around the “Let there be Beer” strapline. Devised as more of an educational push rather than straight up sales drive, the latest wave of promotions come six months after the revamped alliance of AB InBev, SAB Miller, Heineken, Molson Coors and Carlsberg.

In that time, the venture has expanded its digital expertise and formed stronger ties with retailers, both of which will come to the fore this summer.

The digital aspect of the plan comes in the form of the Beer Explorer online tool for users to discover beers by style and tasting notes and work out which is best for them, away from the daunting alcohol aisles in supermarkets. New beer drinkers are the tool’s primarily focus with the design laid out in such a way that it could include other ways of discovery such as location, food matches and by stockist.

The tool is effectively an evolution of the #BeerMatch tool from last year, whereby users were given instant sommelier-recommended beer match to the UK’s top dishes via Twitter.

Alongside the online push, the campaign’s first digital outdoor ads will also be a crucial component. People will be targted ads later in the summer between 4-7pm as they think about what they are going to eat that evening. The creative chimes with the campaign’s revived TV advert, showcasing the versatility of beer through a range of meal occasions where it could a perfect accompaniment. A second ad displays the wide range of styles of beer in their specific glassware through a series of rotating visuals.  

The Beer Alliance has also strengthened its ties to Tesco after its first efforts with the retailer boosted dwell time in the beer aisle by 25 per cent as well as “positive shopper feedback and increased engagement”, the brewers claim. The successes have informed a nationwide push across all Tesco stores that will push different beers with BBQ foods. Other ads will support Tesco’s Spring Drinks promotion, playing up the taste of the featured beer styles.

The activity serves as the beer industry’s second stab at a collective attempt to kickstart slow sales. The first effort was banned six months after it launched in 2013 for implying alcohol improves popularity and had a limited effect on alcohol sales in the UK. It was slammed at the time by industry observers for failing to show the breadth and depth of the category.

A combination of healthier consumption habits among consumers and the popularity of spirits and craft beers as an alternative to mainstream brews has forced brewers to reassess their marketing tactics. From packaging to experiential events, sweeter beers to non-alcoholic ones, the likes of Heineken, SABMiller, Carlsberg and Molson Coors are developing more holistic strategies to reach new audiences, particularly women and younger drinkers.

Their efforts appear to be paying off with British beer sales in the UK up for the first time in ten years though part of this has likely come from the explosion of the craft beer segment. Total beer sales rose 1.3 per cent last year, according to the British Beer and Pub Association. Sales from shops overtook those from pubs and clubs in the period for the first time on record.

David Cunningham, programme director of There's A Beer For That, said the campaign has gone from “strength to strength” since it launched last October.

The industry as a whole is going through an exciting period of renaissance with the category in growth for first time in ten years,” he added. With 58 members of Britain's Beer Alliance, we're stronger and more widely supported than we have ever been before and look forward to gaining even more momentum over the next few months."