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The communications briefing: Digital advertising market and ‘dark ads’ are under scrutiny this week

PR news this week, with thanks to Early Morning Media 


CMA urged to probe UK's digital ads market
Philip Hammond asked the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to launch an investigation into the £13bn UK digital advertising market dominated by the US tech firms Google and Facebook, following a recommendation made in an independent report conducted for the Treasury by Jason Furman, Barack Obama’s chief economic adviser. According to eMarketer, Google and Facebook currently account for about two-thirds of the £13bn UK digital ad market. In a letter to Lord Tyrie, the chair of the CMA, Mr Hammond said conducting a probe would “provide greater understanding of the existence, nature and potential solutions to any problems”. He asked the CMA to carry out the review as soon as possible, acknowledging that a no-deal Brexit would make it impossible in the near future.
The Guardian

CIPR appoints new chair…
Anthony Bullick, of Outwrite PR in Mold was elected as chair of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) North West Committee after being voted in at the group's general meeting. The appointment comes after he served as both treasurer and vice chair on the committee, which covers Manchester, Liverpool, Cheshire, North Wales, Cumbria and Lancashire. His responsibilities include leading the CIPR North West’s team of volunteers to support the PR community with events, training and professional development. He will also represent the region at quarterly chair meetings in London.
The Leader

… top role at Ad Association changes hands
Philippa Brown, CEO of Omnicom Media Group UK, has been appointed chair of the Advertising Association (AA). She replaced James Murphy, group CEO of adam&eveDDB, who served an extended four-year tenure in order to support the trade body's work around Brexit. He has now been appointed as the AA's first exports champion, a role newly-created to grow exports of UK advertising services. Ms Brown who joins for a three-year term, will work closely with the AA’s CEO Stephen Woodford and president Keith Weed on addressing the decline of public trust in advertising, regulatory issues such as consultation on HFSS advertising, and navigating Brexit.
Mediatel Newsline

Microsoft UK CEO joins WPP board
Cindy Rose, the chief executive of Microsoft in the UK, has been made a non-executive director of WPP, and will join its audit committee. Ms Rose has run Microsoft’s British business since 2016, when she joined from Vodafone. She also sits on the board of Informa, an academic publishing company.
The Times


The constant influence of ‘dark ads’
Amol Rajan, the BBC’s media editor, looked at so-called “dark ads” – those placed on social media outlets such as Facebook whose funding is unknown. He focused on pro-Brexit group Britain’s Future, which has spent more money on political advertising on Facebook than anyone else over the past three months. Facebook said that, once it has checked advertisers are based in the UK, it's up to regulators to investigate whether any law-breaking is going on. Political advertising on Facebook seems to fall between the Electoral Commission, the Information Commissioner's Office, and the Advertising Standards Authority.
BBC News

BA faces challenge to regain glittering past
The Telegraph looked at British Airway’s latest advertising campaign, devised by Ogilvy UK and featuring such stars as Olivia Colman, Anthony Joshua, Gary Oldman and Riz Ahmed. The ad kicks off a year-long programme for British Airways’ 100th birthday; Oliver Gill asked, however, whether the “We love you Britain, you make us who we are” slogan is enough to boost the image of an airline that faces unrest among its workers, a data breach that saw hackers access hundreds of thousands of BA’s Executive Club members’ personal details, and competition from low-cost airlines offering a much cheaper service.
The Daily Telegraph

Gillette and MediaCom top WARC's Media 100
Gillette, Procter & Gamble and MediaCom have topped the rankings in the WARC Media 100, an independent annual ranking of the world’s most awarded campaigns and companies for creativity and innovation in media. Gillette deodorant campaign I Don’t Roll On Shabbos by MediaCom Connections Tel Aviv was the most awarded campaign of 2018. Using a multimedia approach, biblical texts and a battle of synagogues to appeal to the Orthodox Jewish community in Israel, Gillette’s share in the Orthodox sector grew from 3% to 15% and brand awareness from 15% to 55%. 

Do brands need to be controversial to be socially responsible?
Rebecca Peel, a digital PR and outreach consultant at Hallam, asked if, following recent Gillette and Nike controversies, it is possible to showcase a brand’s attitudes to societal and political issues without backlash? “Brands will never be able to support or criticise a political party without upsetting someone. But in a world where the voice of the people drives brand buying power, politically-charged messaging can be effective when done sensitively and with support”, she writes.
Good to SEO

ASA bans Sky Bet ad
A gambling advert fronted by the Sky Sports presenter Jeff Stelling was banned by the advertising watchdog for being socially irresponsible. In the ad for the “request a bet” service, Stelling is seen calling on viewers to “spark your sports brain” and ask “how big is your sports noggin”? Explaining the ban, the ASA said: “The ad gave an erroneous perception of the extent of a gambler’s control over betting success. This gave consumers an unrealistic and exaggerated perception of the level of control they would have over the outcome of a bet and that could lead to irresponsible gambling behaviour”.
The Guardian

Reputational risk

Dyson fails to clean up Bosch ad
Dyson failed to convince the Advertising Standards Authority that Bosch misled consumers over claims about the "infinite" runtime of its cordless vacuum cleaner. Bosch’s UK website claimed that The Unlimited cordless stick vacuum cleaner had a "continuous" and "infinite" runtime, explaining that an exchangeable battery pack and quick charger meant one battery could be charged whilst the other was in use. However, the ASA said consumers would understand from the claims "infinite" and "continuous" runtime that they would be able to use the vacuum cleaner continuously without it running out of power by alternating between batteries and using the product on normal power mode.
The Mirror

And finally…

A bluffer’s guide to PR
The Times’ City People column looked at the newly-published Bluffers Guide to Public Relations, by Keith Hann – formerly of Hudson Sandler and now director of corporate affairs at Iceland. In a section titled Fame at last, he wrote: “When the client finally achieves sufficient eminence to be interviewed for a profile in a national news title, it is important to bear in mind that these almost always follow a formula. It may be useful to remind the client beforehand of their spouse’s name and how many children they have.”
The Times

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

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