On the final day of what has been a pretty awful year for Tesco, perhaps a small victory over Aldi might go some way towards a better 2015. Tesco have successfully appealed to the ASA that Aldi’s “Swap and Save” adverts, showing how much consumers can save by switching to Aldi were actually misleading. However, the ASA still reckons that Aldi is cheaper overall…
This is actually the second time Aldi has run the campaign, and the second time they have got in trouble over it. Now, after an investigation, the ASA agreed Aldi offered savings, but it banned the adverts on the grounds that they exaggerated how many people had taken part in the challenge, and questions over the shopping basket data used.
Tesco complained that the comparison was misleading because it believed the eight-week comparison period was out of date and invalid for a price sensitive market. They also complained that weekly shops were not compared on a like-for-like basis- with some ‘high ticket’ or non-weekly items excluded on a sometimes arbitrary basis, and that explanatory information in the adverts was not prominent enough.
However, Tesco’s main gripe was that the adverts stated 84 out of 98 people saved, and that the challenge upon which the advert was based involved an eight week challenge-four weeks’ shopping at a competitor and then four weeks shopping at Aldi. However, when looking into the background data published by Aldi, Tesco discovered that only four of the 98 individuals had undertaken the eight-week challenge and the remaining 94 had undertaken the challenge over two weeks.
Aldi had tried to address some of the concerns raised by Tesco, and had tested to see whether prices had materially moved since the challenge was undertaken (December 2013) and the advert showing in April 2014. They hadn’t. The inconsistency with the number of people taking the trial had come about after Clearcast, the advertising clearance agency, had advised Aldi they needed more data to substantiate their claims. Consequently, Aldi had rerun the trial with more people over two weeks to add to the original eight-week trial data.
To resolve the issue, the ASA did its own calculations, taking into account items it believed should have been included and excluded, and allowing for inconsistencies and inaccuracies in Aldi’s interpretation of the data. The ASA figures still showed that savings in the original shops ranged from 22% to 33%. The savings for a shorter ‘revalidation’ trial were even better, ranging from 25% to 38%.
The ASA concluded that “we considered those amounts represented significant savings at the time of both the original shops and the revalidation shop, and therefore that the overall message of the Swap & Save campaign, that consumers could save money by shopping at Aldi, was not misleading to consumers.”
However, “ because we considered the way in which the comparison was presented in the ads implied more people had participated in the eight-week challenge than was the case, we concluded the ads were in breach of the Codes.”
So it’s a bit of a hollow victory for Tesco. Yes the ads were misleading, but not on the actual main thrust of the ad. That it is actually cheaper to shop at Aldi. Happy New Year Tesco.
The Weetabuddies campaign will run across multimedia in the next six weeks with a spend of £5.5 million.
They hope that the Weetabuddies characters will engage with the nippers and get them eating Weetabix. Or, if you prefer, eatabixing.
Anyway, the plan is to create a series of individual personalities using bits of fruit that will reflect kids’ personalities. They include Tropicolin, Senor Sultana and Blue Barry. No, really. The latter sounds like some bloke who sells dirty DVDs down the pub.
Children will also be encouraged to create their own Weetabuddy characters and share them online.
All those that are shared to the Weetabuddies website throughout the campaign will be displayed and entered into a competition to win Weetabuddy creator kits. There will be one kit won a day for the duration of the campaign.
In addition, supermarkets such as Asda will sticker the fruits which have been used with special Weetabuddy stickers, to encourage kids to choose more fruit as they try and recreate their favourites. According to Weetabix, on average, children aged 4-10 years are currently only eating half of their recommended ‘five a day’ target (excluding fruit juice).
Weetabix senior brand manager Claire Canty reckons: “We know from our research that as kids get older and experience new tastes and flavours they’re increasingly looking for more exciting, varied breakfasts. However, we know mums still want to be reassured that their families are making healthy choices in the morning which is why we have launched the Weetabuddies campaign.”
“By helping families to get creative and encouraging them to make their own Weetabuddies, we hope that kids will be reminded that a bowl of Weetabix is a lot of fun, while mum can be reassured that they are still getting a delicious and nutritious breakfast, helping us to encourage a whole new generation to fall in love with Weetabix as a result.”
They sound somewhat lighter than the bruisers they used back in the eighties anyway.
Not only do you have a meerkat being axed, if you’re unlucky enough to find yourself in front of Downton Abbey’s Christmas special, you’ll be faced with a series of three ads for Confused.com “starring” their mascot Brian the Robot.
The hapless droid will find itself in danger, as he becomes attracted to a super-powered magnet.
Yes, people have been paid to put thought into this.
It will also be introducing new brand characters, the Herberts, who save Brian from a sticky end in a junkyard. Come back Argos aliens, all is forgiven.
The whole affair is part of a fully integrated campaign to engage with social media. People who give a shit, will be able to interact with the hashtag #HelpBRIAN, which will lead them to a microsite wherein they can tell the imaginary construct jokes and be thanked with a personalised message.
Fiona Creedon, head of advertising at Confused.com, said: “This is an exciting new chapter in the Brian the Robot story. We are delighted to introduce the Herberts, Brian’s team of sidekicks, to the British public. We are looking forward to an eventful year ahead as the Herberts and Brian’s story unfolds.”
Well, ‘sad’ is one definition that could apply, depending on where you stand on Comparethemarket.com’s irritating meerkats (we’d go for the throat ourselves).
Set your videos, dear reader, as one of the comparison site’s most popular meerkats will be axed on Christmas Day, during Coronation Street’s jolly festive episode.
The deeply unfunny one-joke meerkat adverts have been going since 2009, even if it feels like at least three generations more.
Possibly wondering what had he’d done wrong in a previous life to end up commenting on such rubbish, Coronation Street executive producer Kieran Roberts said: “Christmas is often a time when big story-lines climax and characters can face a dramatic exit. On Coronation Street we’ve said farewell to iconic characters such as Hilda Ogden and Karen McDonald in our Christmas episodes and we’re planning another heartbreaking farewell this year.”
“Meanwhile the departure of an unlikely character this Christmas – one of the meerkats – is also likely to grip the nation. With such affection for the meerkats, this story has all the makings of a classic Christmas Day exit.”
And there was us hoping a fire would sweep through meerkat manor.
Just when we thought we’d finally seen the back of Christmas adverts for the year, along comes a late entry from Apple.
The advert – ‘The Song’ – sees a young lady – via a variety of Apple products, naturally – create a nice duet based on her Gran’s recording of Love Is Here To Stay.
The sell Apple is giving it is: “With a Mac, iPhone or iPad you have the power to create thoughtful, emotional gifts and memories that transcend time. It could be a movie, a homemade card or a song that brings two generations closer together.”
Have a gander at it now. Here.
It’s genuinely quite lovely, and seeing gran tear up as she flicks through photos of yore will have you… no, it’s okay… just something in our eye.
Perhaps it is good that it’s come out a bit later than all the others, otherwise December’s commercial breaks would soon become an intolerable minefield of feelings and heart-string-pulling emotions., and we can’t be having that.
The UK spends around £2,000 online per head each year on average – it’s 50% more than the nearest rival Australia manages, and is down to broadband and our inability to get off our arses.
A higher use of debit and credit cards has also been cited as quite a key thing, according to a new report from Ofcom.
As a bonus, Ofcom also discovered two-fifths of advertising spending was now happening online – way more than in any other country.
Ofcom said the popularity of online commerce was boosted by widespread superfast broadband access in the UK, which is ahead of France, Germany, Italy and Spain. Nearly eight in 10 UK homes have access to broadband services that provide connection speeds of at least 30 megabytes per second.
Said Ed Richards. Ofcom’s chief executive: “The internet has never been more important to the lives of people in this country, and the demand for better connections keeps rising,”
“We are making significant progress in this area. However, we all acknowledge that there is more to do, and this will be the challenge for the coming years.”
Sony’s PlayStation online store was hacked on Monday, and the company are still investigating the cause of the attack, after it knocked out the store for two hours. Handy, as they’re currently in the middle of a huge 20th anniversary sale.
Some visitors to the online store were greeted with the message: “Page not found. It’s not you. It’s the internet’s fault.”
Some tweet from a user calling themselves @LizurdPatrol tweeted “50 RTs and we will hit off PSN. 50 FAVs and we will hit off XBOX LIVE.” Whatever gets you hard, dear.
This follows Sony Pictures Entertainment, who were winded by a large attack knocking the studio’s network out for a week, and the added bonus of hackers leaking all manner of embarrassing details about Sony staff. The staff also got emails that they and their families were in danger.
Some sources reckon it has something to do with North Korea being a bit upset about a forthcoming film called The Interview, which stars Seth Rogen and multi-purpose irritant James Franco… but then that itself could be a load of cobblers and part of some plan to flog what sounds like quite a terrible film.
North Korea has denied responsibility for the cyber attack, but called the hack a “righteous deed”, state media reported. Because when you have something like state media, you have the optimum creepy factor.
And in addition to all that, the group has released the pseudonyms used by a host of celebrities. So, if you want to add some famous people and see if you can whoop them at FIFA, here are some names (which they’ll no doubt be changing today):
Tom Hanks goes by “Harry Lauder” and “Johnny Madrid”
Sarah Michelle Gellar goes by “Neely O’Hara”
Tobey Maguire goes by “Neil Deep”
Natalie Portman goes by “Lauren Brown”
Clive Owen goes by “Robert Fenton”
Rob Schneider goes by “Nazzo Good”
Jude Law goes by “Mr. Perry”
Daniel Craig goes by “Olwen Williams”
Jessica Alba goes by “Cash Money
Ice Cube goes by “Darius Stone” and “O’Shea Jackson”
Debra Messing goes by “Ava Harding”
Looks like some celebrities are going to need new fake-names for booking into hotels with.
Having spent much of his career apeing the likes of James Bond – 1998′s second album I’ve Been Expecting You and accompanying videos for the You Only Live Twice-sampling Millennium etc – the popular music recording star Robbie Williams is shivving off the need to rejoin Take That by advertising coffee.
Yes, the star whose last video of him pissing off his birthing wife showed a level of no shame whatsoever, has got his tuxedo on to flog Café Royal’s array of items.
As is the modern way, you can also do something in exchange for free content from the singer.
What with Williams joining George Clooney in the ‘advertising coffee’ we should brace ourselves for clown workshop Olly Murs muscling in soon.
What a time to be alive.
McVitie have launched their first Christmas advert in 30 years!
The biscuit people have released the fifth instalment in its ‘Sweeet’ campaign, wherein biscuits are actually puppies and kittens and people go all “Ooooh” at them.
This 60-second ad also features a duckling, husky pup, piglet, reindeer calf and narwhal, performing a version of Yazoo’s Only You – we’ve reached out to Alison Moyet for a comment on the matter, but have yet to get a response – in front of a family doing that biscuit assortment Russian Roulette where no one wants a coconut ring.
It also marks the first time that they’ve advertised their Victoria variety selection, which itself has had a bit of a makeover, with new foil trays and had the average pack increased to 700g.
Sarah Heynen, United Biscuits’ marketing director for sweet biscuits, said: “Bringing Victoria to TV screens this Christmas is the culmination of what has been an extremely successful year for McVitie’s, following the launch of our masterbrand strategy early in 2014,”
“The latest campaign aims to tap into consumers’ love for McVitie’s and the Victoria range, whilst supporting our continuing efforts to drive growth into the category.”
The move has paid off, with McVitie’s combined sales have risen 4.9% to £392.8m since the company have a reshuffle earlier this year, placing all the sweet biscuits under the McVities brand, and all the savoury items under the Jacobs banner.
We’re still creeped out by the notion of animals living inside biscuit packets. Ed. Mof saw it too literally and went dark on Photoshop
Christmas adverts – you thought you’d seen the back of them by now, but no.
Harvey Nichols have released their one for 2014, following in their now traditional slightly cheeky line of festive ads. The “Could I Be Any Clearer?” campaign encourages shoppers to send e-cards to their loved ones with messages telling the recipient exactly what they want for Christmas. Exactly. You know what with the internet and all that, a link is just fine, but anyway.
For instance, one reads: “Seasons Greetings… will be very awkward if you don’t get me a pair of Charlotte Olympia silver Octavia sandals. They’re the platform ones with the 6” heel. Size 4 ½, or a 5, if that’s all they’ve got.”
Let’s have a look then, eh?
Consumers are welcome to go and design their own cards via the Harvey Nicks websites or on the ‘Could I Be Any Clearer’ app. They’re also selling cards that you can send with your demanding demands in.
Harvey Nichols said that the campaign had been inspired by unwanted gifts which, according to research by the store, were worth up to £808 million nationally in 2013. According to research of over 2000 people, 52% of people were let down by their gifts last year.
Shadi Halliwell, Group Creative & Marketing Director of Harvey Nichols, said: “This year, we everyone to wake up on Christmas morning and love the presents they get from their nearest and dearest.”
“With our ‘Could I Be Any Clearer’ app, you can cheekily spell out that stylish gift you’ve always wanted, making sure you end up with that Lanvin silk dress rather than the iron to steam it with.”
Well if you’ve got ‘buy an iron for someone for Christmas’ in your head, you may as well book out a bed in A&E for the inevitable ‘thrown-iron-dent-in-skull’ injuries that will occur now.
It’s December, which means you are likely to see a number of 2014 top tens bouncing about on the interwebs. This one, however, is from the lovely folks at Marketing magazine and list the top 10 marketing fails of 2014.
Some we remember fondly, and others passed us sneakily by. Enjoy.
10. While skilfully drafted, Paddy Power’s Oscar Pistorious ad was not judged to be a winner by many, drawing a record 5525 complaints to the ASA. The ad, which offered a ‘money back if he walks’ guarantee for bets placed on the verdict of Oscar Pistorius’ murder trial, was a play on words, but the betting firm seriously misjudged how funny the nation would find murder of a young South African woman. Or was it culpable homicide? Even taking the piss out of someone with no legs kind of paled next to that.
9. Coca Cola has had a number of massive marketing blunders over the years (Dasani anyone?) and this isn’t even it’s only appearance in the top ten. This campaign, which appeared fleetingly in North America probably sounded like a good idea on paper. “You’re on”, like everyone who drinks Coke is a film star or something else glamorous and vital. Unfortunately, when displayed on billboards, it looked like they were encouraging people to go out and take Class A drugs instead. Which was presumably not the original plan.
8. Made.com were probably patting themselves on the back around the time of the Scottish referendum- they’d already planned an ad campaign to go live once the yes vote came in. Unfortunately for Made.com, the result didn’t go as planned, but that’s no reason to waste a good advert, and they sent it out anyway. The ad generated buzz for all the wrong reasons, causing Made.com to issue a Union flag themed apology, saying they had “accidentally hit send on an email we prepared in case of a ‘yes’ vote for Scottish independence”. They later tried to backtrack and claim it was all a deliberately provoking viral marketing ploy. Yeah right.
7. 2014 has been a bad year for Tesco. The once-unassailable supermarket giant has seen its fortunes turn dramatically, with the icing on the cake being the announcement that they had fiddled the figures, to the tune of over £250m.
Tesco blamed the humungous error to problems in the way in which it recognised income from suppliers. Eight senior managers, including UK managing director Chris Bush, were asked to BOGOF. Not even cheesy Shakespearean sonnets can save things now.
6. Tech companies and women. When will women learn their place? Microsoft Chief Exec Satya Nadella told women earlier this year that they have no need to ask for pay rises and should instead put their trust in the system. His brilliant career advice, given at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing claimed that not asking for a rise was “good karma” that would help a boss realise the employee could be trusted and should have more responsibility. Like maybe carrying his briefcase or something.
But Microsoft isn’t the only tech company rubbing women up the wrong way. Both Apple and Facebook proudly added egg-freezing to their employee benefits. After all, women can’t have a comparable career without freezing eggs can they? Far better to wait until you’ve actually dried up to have children…
5. Seedy clothing retailer American Apparel had its ads banned by the ASA, after their latest campaign was centred on up-skirt photos of schoolgirls. The campaign included pictures of a model bent over touching the ground, revealing her crotch and underwear, and another showing a woman bending over. The ASA concluded that “the ads had the effect of inappropriately sexualising school-age girls and were therefore offensive and irresponsible”, and that the ads “had not been prepared with a sense of responsibility to consumers or to society”.
American Apparel were entirely unrepentant, claiming that they were famed for their provocative ads, and people should have expected it from them. Oh, that’s OK then. To be fair, their ads have been banned before, and another 2014 campaign featured mannequins with merkins. Let’s all look forward to 2015 with trepidation.
4. Let’s face it, the 2014 World Cup was a fairly rubbish affair, and the insult of the national team’s performance was only matched by the money-grabbing antics of Nike, who were charging £90 for the replica kit, that lasted all of 3 games, and was the fourth kit produced in 12 months.
The Telegraph ‘Sport’ summed it up most succintly: “England may have a history of underachievement on the field, but the new shirt, made by Nike, shows they are world leaders in what they charge supporters.”
3. Coca Cola got in trouble again this year when they rejigged their ‘Reasons to believe’ advert, which was intended to show there is “more good than bad in the world”. The Irish version cut a gay-marriage scene, replacing it with a St Patrick’s Day shot instead.
Coca Cola claimed they cut the scene as gay marriage is still illegal in Ireland, but critics felt Coca Cola were compromising their principles by cutting the scene in this one specific market. Especially after this “you can’t write ‘gay’ on coke bottles” story.
2. Everyone loves Facebook. Except when they start messing with your head and trying to make you sad. Research undertaken in partnership with Cornell University and the University of California in 2012 saw users’ news feeds altered to control the proportion of negative or positive posts that appeared. The study concluded that Facebook could influence whether users felt more positive or negative by doing this.
When the details were announced in 2014, it was fairly clear that almost everyone felt angry and aggrieved at being fiddled with by Facebook.
1. You have to feel a bit sorry for Apple. Not for long and only a tiny bit, but they must have been most surprised to discover that not everyone wants something for free. Free is no good if you don’t actually want it.
This is, of course, the ‘coup’ Apple pulled off by having U2’s new album given free to every iTunes user. Except rather than jumping up and down with glee at a free album, many consumers were at best disgruntled and at worst rabidly annoyed that Apple felt it had the right (and the access) to poke around in people’s music libraries. U2 didn’t come out of it well either, and the whole shebang led to users frantically searching how to delete an unwanted U2 album from iTunes, before Apple itself was forced to create a tool to do the job for you. Fortunately, there was already a tool in U2…
But it will cost you.
Basically, Google have unveiled a new service called ‘Contributor by Google’ and the company say: “Today’s Internet is mostly funded by advertising. But what if there were a way to directly support the people who create the sites you visit each day?”
What this means is that you’ll be asked to ‘contribute’ between $1-$3 per month which will go to the website in question (and, you have to assume, Google will take a cut too). You can pay more than the minimum offered too, which basically means, if you really, really like a website, you can throw coins in their cup. Regardless of what you offer, you’ll get the same service.
The Onion, Mashable, Imgur, Urban Dictionary and WikiHow have already signed-up for this, and Google have also said that there’s more on board too, as these are just “a few” of the confirmed partners.
So what happens to the adverts? Well, they’ll be replaced by a thank-you message or a pixellated box, which doesn’t sound like a better option, but there you go.
Google say: “When you visit a participating website, part of your contribution goes to the creators of that site. As a reminder of your support, you’ll see a thank you message – often accompanied by a pixel pattern – where you might normally see an ad.”
If you’re interested, have a look at Google’s dedicated page here.
The restaurants will be serving up a meal planned by chef Jean-Christophe Novelli.
The events will happen in selected hotels such as Blythswood Square Hotel and Home House between November 21st and December 10th.
You can try your luck to win a reservation by tweeting @AldiUK using #AldiFestiveFeast as your hastag.
Naturally all the food served will be sourced from Aldi’s Specially Selected range, including such fare as caviar, crab, turkey wellingtons and Christmas pudding.
(Actually their Christmas pudding is well nice).
Joint managing director of corporate buying, Tony Baines said: “Jean-Christophe Novelli has put together a luxury menu that shows off our festive range to the full and offers better value than other supermarkets. We hope that our consumers will enjoy it.”