Innocent, John Lewis, Bud Light: 5 things that mattered this week and why

From Innocent’s new brand platform and visual identity to Budweiser’s push into the UK’s fast-growing hard seltzer category, catch up on this week’s biggest marketing news.

Innocent leads by example in sustainability

Sustainability has been a driving agenda for many brands as the climate crisis worsens, but Innocent Drinks is one brand looking to lead by example to encourage change.

Claiming to be one of the first brands to be purpose-driven, Innocent Drinks is diving even deeper with its new brand platform to stay in tune with sustainability-conscious consumers.

But before it began preaching sustainability to others, group marketing director Kirsty Hunter says it had to walk the walk, by ensuring its own practices were up to scratch.

Innocent Drinks has been a B Corp accredited company since 2018 which is widely considered to be the gold standard for sustainable business, and commits to being a net-zero company by 2030.

Hunter says it’s not only young people that are driving change for a more sustainable world but it’s people (and otters) from multiple spectrums, as is reflected in the brand’s latest TV campaign.

The campaign also features a series of out of home posters to promote sustainable practices among consumers, with no hard sell. MP

John Lewis’ first campaign for Anyday range highlights new pricing strategy

Over its 150-year history, John Lewis has built up a reputation as a mid- to premium-priced retailer beloved by the middle classes. But now, as the high street struggles to bring in footfall and drive sales, so does John Lewis. The retailer notched up a £517m pre-tax loss in 2020 and permanently shuttered eight of its stores this year.

As such, the business has realised that it needs to adapt to new consumer behaviour and needs, and is sinking £800m into a turnaround strategy this year as it looks to regain stability and adjust to the new retail environment.

That strategy includes a dramatic shift to its pricing architecture, which is reflected in the launch of its own-brand value range, Anyday. The range has 2,400 products spanning homeware, tech, baby care and baby clothing, with items priced on average 20% lower than the retailer’s other own label collections.

John Lewis launched its first campaign to raise awareness of the new range this week and, in a first for the brand, the TV advert directly calls out the price of products. The retailer hopes that both loyal and new customers will reconsider John Lewis as a place to go more frequently for everyday items, rather than just a place to go to shop for investment pieces and big life moments.

It’s very clear that John Lewis sees Anyday and its revamped pricing strategy as fundamentally important to its chances of future success. Speaking to Marketing Week, customer director Claire Pointon revealed that the campaign to push the range almost rivals John Lewis’ Christmas advertising in terms of scale and investment.

But there are a number of other challenges that John Lewis also needs to rise to, including the shift to ecommerce and managing its collaboration with the Waitrose brand. Given its central place on the British high street, it’s quite important for all bricks and mortar retailers that John Lewis gets its turnaround right. More on this next week. MJ

Bud Light tips UK hard seltzer market to be a £600m sector

It seems every month we’re seeing another huge brand enter the nascent hard seltzer sector and this time it’s Budweiser sub-brand Bud Light.

Who can blame them? The industry is already big bucks in the US having raked in $3.8bn (£2.67bn) in 2019, which is forecast to triple to $10.9bn by 2027, according to Allied Research.

Bud Light has done its own research for the UK and predicts thirsty punters here will gravitate the same way to “fruity fizzy water” in a can. Using a combination of Nielsen stats and proprietary data, the brand predicts the category to grow from £5.6m in 2020 to £600m by 2025.

Bud Light believes now is the time to enter the category due to the rapidly changing drinking culture in the UK, which mirrors the US. Insight from owner AB InBev shows young people are demanding more functional drinks to suit active lifestyles.

Bud Light is betting on its “fun brand personality” to engage with this new age of drinkers and compete in the incredibly interesting hard seltzer arena. MP

Starling achieves rapid growth after brand awareness push

Like most new digital businesses, fintech start-up Starling started out its advertising journey in 2018 with a focus on digital acquisition. By 2019, the bank had realised this wouldn’t be enough to drive growth on its own.

So in a bid to increase awareness of the brand, Starling launched its first TV-led campaign that year. According to YouGov and Kantar research, that campaign drove a notable increase in brand awareness, from 22% to 38%.

Starling continued to run TV advertising in 2020 as part of its ‘Helping Britain Fly’ campaign, and head of brand Rachel Kerrone claims awareness now sits at around 64% for the brand (although YouGov’s brand health tracker BrandIndex quotes an awareness score of 42.4).

Importantly, that strong brand awareness has set Starling up perfectly for growth, particularly during the pandemic. With consumers making rapid shifts towards ecommerce, video calling and online streaming platforms, they’ve also become more open to digital banking that they ever have been before, Kerrone says.

As such, Starling has doubled its accounts over the pandemic to 2 million. Marketers should take note.

Now, with its new campaign, Kerrone hopes to push potential customers further down the consideration funnel by homing in on the digital bank’s onboarding process, which it argues is easier and more flexible than traditional high street banks.

Starling has elected to skip TV with this campaign for the moment, instead focusing on reaching consumers out and about through radio and out of home. But Kerrone has plans to return to TV in the future.

“We have done a lot of TV in the past few years,” she says. “Do we want to do more? Yes, definitely. Is it right for this particular time and the people that we’re looking to target? Probably not.” MJ

Camden Town Brewery turns to the small screen

Camden Town Brewery launched its first national TV campaign this week and has outlined its ambitions to become truly household name.

The brand says TV still holds a lot of weight in raising awareness for brands, which is the main goal for its current campaign as the UK reopens the hospitality sector and a vital revenue stream for beverage brands.

Head of marketing, Zoe Wulfsohn-Dunkley said the TV campaign differentiates the brand further from craft rivals as it is the only brand in the space to embrace the small screen.

Last year the brand launched the first ‘drinkable’ TV ad, which was only broadcast in London, the North West and North East of England.

The central message of its latest campaign is to promote the freshness of Camden’s beers which do not go through pasteurisation to extend shelf life.

Wulfsohn-Dunkley believes pasteurisation to be a key marketing trend in the beer industry, similar to how the juice sector has embraced ‘not from concentrate’ and organic in groceries.

She also credits AB InBev, which acquired Camden Town Brewery in 2015, for providing insight and data to substantiate gut feels the Camden marketing team had. MP

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