PRmoment Leaders PA Mediapoint PA Assignments PRCA PRmoment Awards Winners North Creative Moment Awards 2024 PR Masterclass: AI in PR

The communications briefing: Conservatives ramp up Facebook advertising, outstripping Labour and Lib Dems

PR news this week, with thanks to Early Morning Media


Boris Johnson's Facebook advert splurge is all about data
Under new leader Boris Johnson, the Conservative Party has significantly ramped up its Facebook advertising, outstripping Labour and the Lib Dems. From 24 to 30 July, the week that Mr Johnson became prime minister, the Conservatives spent £23,301 on 1,124 Facebook ads, well ahead of the Labour party’s £4,672 and 74 ads and the Lib Dems spend of £1,560 on 65 ads over the same period. The Conservatives are also consistently topping Facebook’s daily reports of spending. On 30 July, the Conservatives spent £5,567 on ads, nearly doubling the £3,000 a day they spent on 28 and 29 July. As well as trying to win over voters, digital strategist Rob Blackie said the ads aim to gather data about voters. “Imagine they put an ad in the field, and I target 25-40 year olds in smalls towns in Britain: when they collect email addresses, it comes from that ad group, so as well as the information that people voluntarily give up, they also get to say they came in through this ad set". Rachel Lavin, partnerships coordinator at Who Targets Me, added: “By understanding the past voting behaviour and future intentions of voters they can identify where swing votes lie and which districts are the most crucial to their wider electoral strategy.”


Edelman and Cision strengthen media planning
Edelman and Cision announced a partnership that combines Cision's communications technology with Edelman's new suite of Performance Communications services. Russell Dubner, US President and CEO of Edelman, commented: “Our partnership with Cision is designed to accelerate the adoption of technology and techniques that prove the multiplier effect of earned attention. Now we can apply real-life behaviour – not hypothesis and correlation – to hone strategy and stay connected to earned audiences. The blend of earned-instinct and marketing precision is a powerful combination."
Martech Advisor

WPP backs adtech startup
WPP backed Inc in a $6.5m (€5.7m) series A funding round. The Tel Aviv-based adtech startup’s platform optimises common creative advertising elements such as images, banners, videos, and HTML5 ads, blending them into video games without disrupting the user experience and gameplay.
Sport Business

Mail's ex-crime reporter to head up Met Police press team
The Daily Mail’s Chris Greenwood is set to join the Metropolitan Police as the force’s head of media after nearly eight years reporting on crime. Mr Greenwood, a former York Press and Sky News reporter, said: “I cannot wait to join the team communicating the extraordinary work and everyday heroism of the Metropolitan Police. “The need for clear, timely and professional engagement between police and the media remains as pressing as ever”.
Press Gazette


McDonald’s loses trademark case
McDonald'slost its exclusive claim to the “Mc” trademark on some of its food products within the EU after a dispute with an Irish fast food chain.Supermac’s, which owns more than 100 fast food restaurants in Ireland, complained to the European Union Intellectual Property Office, which ruled McDonald's had not proven genuine use of the "Mc" prefix on some of the products it trademarked. Supermac's took the case after a branding dispute halted the Irish company's attempts to expand its restaurant chain into the U.K. and Europe. However, a statement from McDonald's pointed out that the ruling had reinforced its ownership of the “Mc” trademark on a selection of its fast food products, adding: "This decision does not impact McDonald's ability to use its Mc-prefixed trademarks or other trademarks throughout Europe and the world, and McDonald's will continue to enforce its rights."
BBC News


Incontinence ad branded pants by nurses
The Royal College of Nursing lodged an official complaint with the Advertising Standards Agency, over an advert suggesting mothers should wear incontinence pants after childbirth, claiming that it wrongly “normalises” post-birth incontinence and gives mothers the misleading impression that they should wear protective underwear rather than seek treatment. The union was moved to act after members raised concerns. One said: “It implies that urinary incontinence is inevitable post childbirth – what an awful image to be sending out to young women”. A Tena spokesman said the company has received “feedback from healthcare professionals”, and would be adding a line to its advertising advising women to seek healthcare advice.
Daily Mail

Drinks checked for inclusivity at beer festival
The Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) wants to eradicate outdated attitudes by banning beers that feature sexist names or imagery at its flagship annual event. Drinks including Slack Alice, a cider described as “a little tart,” have been banned from this week’s Great British beer festival event at London’s Olympia. Abigail Newton, the vice-chair of Camra’s national executive, said: “It’s hard to understand why some brewers would actively choose to alienate the vast majority of their potential customers with material likely to only appeal to a tiny and shrinking percentage."
The Guardian

Reputational risk

McDonald’s admits paper straws are not recyclable
McDonald’sadmitted that its new ‘eco-friendly’ paper straws cannot be recycled, while previous plastic ones could be. An internal memo, leaked to The Sun, revealed that the paper straws must be put in general waste bins and then burned. A spokesperson for McDonald's said: “We strengthened our paper straws so, while the materials are recyclable, their thickness makes it difficult for them to be processed by our waste solution providers. We’re working with them to find a solution so putting paper straws in general waste is therefore temporary.”
The Daily Telegraph The Sun The Scotsman

Victoria’s Secret CMO moves on
Ed Razek stepped down as chief marketing officer at Victoria’s Secret. Ed Wolf, special vice president of brand and creative at parent company L Brands, is set to serve as interim head of brand and creative, while Bob Campbell, vice president of creative at Victoria’s Secret, will serve as interim head of creative. Mr Razek’s departure comes after the brand took on Valentina Sampaio, its first openly transgender model. Mr Razek said last year that “transsexual” models should not be hired, a claim for which he later apologised.
CNBC Fox Business The Guardian New York Times


FMCG firms urged to sharpen up approach to digital
According to a new report from AlixPartners, less than half of digital advertising spending in the fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector fails to see a positive return on investment (ROI). The firm surveyed 1,110 executives across China, France, Germany, India, the UK and the US. AlixPartners found that consumer products advertising spending was $242 billion, of which digital advertising accounted for $60bn. Based on the responses of the firm’s survey, $25bn – or less than half – of that figure had found a positive ROI. This compared to $27bn which saw a negative return, and a further $8bn where the return was not even measured. AlixPartners managing director Brian Major said: “Digital for the sake of digital will serve no one, and as our survey shows, there are many expensive mistakes being made in pursuit of digital nirvana. Success is achievable over time by using more precise and targeted methods, which have greater opportunities for consumer engagement and data analytics”.

And finally…

Marking the anniversary of the first ad slogan
The Herald marks the 160th anniversary of what it describes as the world’s first advertising slogan to appear in print: “Beechams Pills: Worth a Guinea a Box”. By 1895, company founder Thomas Beecham was spending £100,000 annually on advertising, whilst his heir Joseph spent $5m on ads in the US alone between 1903 and 1913.
The Herald

This briefing has been prepared by Early Morning Media.  If you are interested in a customised bespoke news briefing for you or your client across any vertical, please contact

If you enjoyed this article, sign up for free to our twice weekly editorial alert.

We have six email alerts in total - covering ESG, internal comms, PR jobs and events. Enter your email address below to find out more: