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The communications briefing: Marketing budgets cut for first time in seven years

PR news this week, with thanks to Early Morning Media


Marketing budgets cut for the first time in seven years
The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising’s (IPA) latest bellwether report revealed that UK companies have cut their marketing budgets for the first time in seven years as ongoing uncertainty has forced bosses to keep a tight control over spending. A net balance of -0.5% of companies reported a reduction in their marketing budgets in the third quarter, according to the report. Some respondents said the lack of clarity warranted a “wait-and-see” approach, while others said a drop in consumer confidence had prompted them to hold off on big-ticket marketing campaigns. Other marketing bosses said their marketing budgets had remained unchanged, but they had shifted focus to online and social media-based campaigns. Overall, nearly two-thirds of respondents reported no change to their overall marketing budgets.
City AM

Global PR market expanding at 5% annual rate
The global public relations market has been growing at a rate of 5%, with around 70% of PR agencies providing a full range of services, according to procurement intelligence firm Beroe Inc. PR activity through social media sites is the most important trend being seen in advanced markets such as Western Europe and North America, due to increasing mobile and internet penetration, according to Beroe’s latest report, which also found that client-side budgets will likely increase by 2%-3% annually over the next five years.
PR Newswire

UK digital ad spend crossed £7bn in H1 2019
The Internet Advertising Bureau UK reported that total digital ad spend across the UK increased to £7.3bn in the first half of 2019, growing 13% from the £6.4bn recorded in the first six months of 2018. The biggest drivers of growth were video display and search, rising 27% and 13% respectively. Search accounted for £3.7bn of total H1 digital ad spend, while the combination of video and non-video display is worth £2.8bn. Non-video is still the larger of the two sides of display, growing eight per cent to £1.45bn, but the 27% growth of video formats is seeing it close the gap, reaching £1.32bn.
Mobile Marketing

Ogilvy UK bolsters e-commerce offering with new hire
Ogilvy UK added Larisa Dumitru to its fast-growing ecommerce and DTC offering, charged with designing a market-leading proposition with a social commerce focus before building a team. Most recently the Regional eCommerce Director for Omnicom Media Group, Ms Dumitru will report into Jai Kotecha, Head of Social and Content at Ogilvy UK.

Prolific London

Havas Health & You launches creative analytics practice
Health-and-wellness network Havas Health & You announced the formation of a custom creative tech platform that will enable all of its clients to leverage machine learning and computer vision technology to better understand the creative drivers of marketing success in digital. Havas Health & You's new platform analyses its clients' entire ad catalogue, tags all possible creative attributes on a frame-by-frame basis, and then compares that attributed data to performance data in order to surface deep insights on the performance of advertising creative.
PR Newswire

Mifid II brings decline in research quality
An annual investor relations survey by Citigate Dewe Rogerson found that 52% of British companies reported a year-on-year decline in the number of analysts covering them due to Mifid II rules, which force brokers to charge asset managers separately for trading and research fees. Some 38% reported a fall in the quality of “sell-side” analyst research. The findings contradict claims by the Financial Conduct Authority last month that there was “no evidence of a material reduction in research coverage.” The Times


Starling Bank launches first TV advertising campaign
Digital challenger bank Starling Bank launched its first TV advertising campaign, Feel Good About Money, with a 30-second ad that opens on a small business owner starting her day, setting up her food truck under the gaze of a starling bird. The ad, developed by Ekstasy and directed by Eduardo Veitez, is part of a wider national campaign, including billboards, radio and online advertising.

Boohoo adverts banned
Adverts for Boohoo which asked customers to “send nudes” have been banned. A marketing email from Boohoo featured the heading “Send Nudes” and an eyes emoji, with a photo of a model wearing a beige jacket and the words: "Send nudes. Set the tone with new season hues." The retailer said it had used the word “nude” to describe the colour of the garment; however, the Advertising Standards Authority said the said the phrase “send nudes” was likely to be understood as referring to requests for sexual photos, which could be a form of sexual harassment.
The Press and Journal

Reputational risk

Tesco criticised for ‘demonising’ meat in advert
The National Farmers Union (NFU) has accused Tesco of “demonising meat” in an advert that shows a young girl telling her father that she no longer wants to eat animals. Minette Batters, the NFU's president, said the supermarket's Food Love Stories commercial had caused "significant distress" for British farmers. She added: “The NFU believes that messaging such as this is demonising meat as a food group. Meat as a food group is naturally rich in protein and is a good source of iron, zinc and essential vitamins.” A Tesco spokesman said: "Our Food Love Stories celebrate recipes both with meat and without. For those customers looking to eat a little less meat, our Plant Chef range offers a delicious, affordable alternative. We remain absolutely committed to working in partnership with all our UK farmers."
The Daily Telegraph The Times

Airbus distances itself from Extinction Rebellion spat
Airbus distanced itself from comments made by Alexander Reinhardt, its head of public affairs for Germany, toward climate change action group Extinction Rebellion. Over the weekend, Mr Reinhardt sent a tweet to the group stating “you better not get in my way!!!!!”, following days of disruption in protests across Europe. Following a series of exchanges between Mr Reinhardt and the activists, Airbus tweeted a clarification that the content and language of the messages “was inappropriate and does not reflect the company’s opinion”. The executive later deleted the posts and apologised for their tone.


Which big pharma firms are best at digital?
The Worldcom Public Relations Group ranked pharmaceutical companies based on their usage of digital channels. The Digital Health Monitor report examined how 25 global pharmaceutical firms manage their online and social media presence globally and in 20 countries, rating each company in terms of their presence on, and use of, apps, blogs, Facebook, Flickr, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr, Twitter and YouTube. Bayer was ranked in first place, with a score of 245.5, followed by Pfizer (228) and Boehringer Ingelheim (222.5). Novartis (202.5), and Sanofi (198) completed the top five. The report found, however, that none of the companies used these channels to maximum advantage: “While we recognise there are limitations to what can be said and where it can be said, we recommend a more holistic view be taken with channels available. Simple steps, such as using YouTube to build the employer brand, can help pharma companies compete in the increasingly tough battle for talent”.
Pharma Phorum

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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