Good morning and welcome to Marketing Week’s round-up of the news that matters in the marketing world today.

McDonald’s, Yahoo, Klarna: Everything that matters this morning

Yahoo sold on after four years with Verizon

US telecoms business Verizon is selling media group Verizon Media to a private equity firm, including both Yahoo and AOL.

The deal with Apollo Global Management is worth $5bn (£3.6bn). Verizon will retain a 10% stake in the media division, which will be rebranded to Yahoo. CEO Guru Gowrappan will continue to lead the group.

Yahoo and AOL were two of the earliest pioneers of the internet age, providing free web mail, chat messenger services, news and online advertising from the 1990s.

However, both were later overshadowed by the likes of Google and Facebook, alongside rivals such as Bing, Twitter, and Weather.com.

Nevertheless, private equity partner Reed Rayman says Apollo sees “tremendous potential” in Yahoo. According to web analytics platform SimilarWeb, the brand remains the 11th most visited website in the world.

David Sambur, senior partner and co-head of private equity, adds: “We are big believers in the growth prospects of Yahoo and the macro tailwinds driving growth in digital media, advertising technology and consumer internet platforms.”

Verizon bought Yahoo in 2017 and AOL in 2015 for a combined $9bn (£6.5bn). Their sale follows the business’s disposal of news publisher HuffPost last year and blogging platform Tumblr in 2019.

Sports Direct comes in last in customer satisfaction survey

Sports Direct has been deemed the worst place to buy outdoor and sporting equipment by a Which? survey of 10,000 shoppers.

Consumer group Which? asked shoppers to rate their experiences with the UK’s most well-known retailers on a number of factors. Sports Direct came under fire for its Covid-19 response, after-sales service and product guarantees.

The retailer, owned by Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group, reached an overall dissatisfaction score of 65%. Also at the bottom were Costco and Littlewoods, with scores of 67% each.

Sports Direct told the BBC it was investing “significant sums into improving the customer journey”, pointing to its current rating of 3.8 out of five on consumer review website Trustpilot.

Retailers Rohan, Sweaty Betty and Cotswold Outdoors topped the customer satisfaction rankings, with Rohan attaining an 87% positive score for its quality, staff helpfulness and its guarantee.

Ele Clark, Which? money and shopping editor, says: “Sports and outdoor equipment doesn’t always come cheap, so shoppers need to be able to trust that the retailer they choose will offer both great customer service and competitive value for money.”

McDonald’s latest ad highlights coffee credentials

McDonald’s has launched a television campaign in the UK to push its McCafé coffee.

The “light-hearted” campaign aims to establish McCafé’s 99p cup of coffee as the ideal balance of quality and price as customers emerge from lockdown.

Created by creative agency Leo Burnett, the 30-second spot shows a series of people drinking (and dropping) expensive coffees, backed throughout by the ‘ker-ching’ sound of a cash till.

McDonald’s head of marketing for food and beverages, Thomas O’Neill, says: “This is a huge campaign for us and finally unleashes the true power of our 99p coffee offering, in a fun, light-hearted way.”

Klarna to increase office space to support growing workforce

Klarna plans to take on more office space as it doubles its British workforce and launches further banking products, amid soaring demand for its ‘buy now, pay later’ service.

While many companies are looking to downsize office space as employees continue to work from home, staff at Klarna have been told they must come into the office at least two days a week.

Alex Marsh, head of Klarna UK, told the Times that while productivity at the financial technology business has been high throughout the pandemic, it has struggled with the challenge of virtual collaboration.

“There is only so long you can sit in groups for hours on Google Meets. It’s much better to have ideas scrawled up on whiteboards and Post-it notes all over the place. Our teams have already said they like flexibility,” he said.

The Swedish payment firm is to move its headquarters into an 11,000 sq ft WeWork office in Holborn, London. The business is also expanding its existing space in Manchester and is looking at additional office locations in Birmingham.

Klarna’s buy now, pay later model is used by online retailers including Asos, Urban Outfitters and Missguided. The payment scheme allows customers to try products at home before committing to payment, as well as enabling customers to spread the cost of purchases out over a period of interest-free instalments.

A recent private fundraising round saw Klarna nearly triple its valuation to $31bn following a surge in online shopping during the pandemic, ranking the business as the highest-valued European private fintech.

Global TV Group arms advertisers with latest TV effectiveness evidence

In the first of three updates to its ‘Global TV Deck’ this year, the Global TV Group has collated major research from around the world to showcase how television advertising drives business outcomes.

Within the collection, marketers can read research from UK television body Thinkbox proving that within the first fortnight of a campaign, TV delivers on average 23% of media-driven sales.

Meanwhile, US-based research by VAB and Effectv shows that younger brands (three years or less) see the most significant impact from TV as they establish their identity within the market.

Thinkbox CEO Lindsey Clay says the compendium of research shows “repeatedly, forensically, and comprehensively” how TV solves business problems and why TV is a “low-risk investment” for advertisers.

“There’s an increasing culture of effectiveness in marketing. Outcomes are in. So, this new deck is timely,” she adds.

The Global TV Group is an informal grouping of TV companies and trade bodies across Europe, the US, Canada, Australia and Latin America. The updated Global TV Deck can be downloaded from the group’s website.

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