The Guardian launches ad campaign calling for hope

The Guardian has unveiled its largest ad campaign since 2012.

The global campaign, created by Uncommon, is designed to restate the publisher’s purpose, deepen brand affinity among readers and encourage them to support its journalism.

Anna Bateson, chief customer officer at Guardian News & Media, says: “The Guardian has an almost 200-year history of producing journalism which inspires hope. This new campaign aims to turn that feeling into action.”

The 60-second ads shows a butterfly trying to escape an empty room. Police sirens and protests can be heard outside as the butterfly bashes against the window before eventually breaking through the glass to the lyrics “nothing changes”. The ad ends with the new slogan “Hope is power” before showing multiple butterflies in the wild.

It will run for five weeks across TV, cinema and video-on-demand.

Bateson adds: “Against the backdrop of a volatile political landscape around the world and with a frugal budget, we have chosen to take a bold creative approach which we hope will inspire readers to support Guardian journalism in a number of ways”.

The campaign is one part of the Guardian’s target of reaching 2 million paying supporters by 2022.

Channel 4 invests in plant-based burger company

Channel 4 is investing a seven-figure sum in a vegetarian burger company. The Meatless Farm Co secured a deal with the broadcaster which gives it advertising space across Channel 4 and its All 4 streaming service.

Meatless Farm Co’s products are currently stocked across a variety of shops including Sainsbury’s and Wholefoods with products including plant-based mince, burgers and sausages.

Its founder, Toft Bech says that he chose Channel 4 for the new advertising campaign because its “audience, environmental and ethical values align strongly with ours”.

The broadcaster, which is moving its headquarters to Leeds, is taking the stake via its Commercial Growth Fund. Vinay Solanki, head of the fund says: “The plant-based market is a huge growth area as people, particularly young people, are increasingly seeking plant-based alternatives to meat. The Meatless Farm Co’s innovation and sustainability credentials are inspiring, and we hope that through advertising across our channel portfolio and reaching our valuable core 16-34 audience, we’ll help support their impact and growth journey.”

A third of bank branches shut in four years

More than a third of the UK’s bank branches have closed since 2015, according to a new report.

Hundreds more which remain open have drastically reduced their opening hours, with some open for just one or two days a week, consumer group Which? has found.

Between January 2015 and August 2019 the UK branch network reduced from 9,803 to 6,549. Although, the number was slightly offset by 49 new branches opening during the same period of just over four years.

At the same time, of the UK’s bank branches that remain open, 298 are now operating with reduced opening hours of four days a week or less.

Of the big banks only Nationwide has retained an “impressive” 96% of its branches. The building society has pledged not to leave any town or city in which it is based without a branch until at least May 2021.

While NatWest closed 638 branches in the past five years, while sister bank RBS has shut 412 – equating to 69% and 74% respectively of their UK branches. The largest percentage of closures among the major banks.

Jenny Ross, Which? money editor, said: “Banks are closing their branches at an alarming rate, which risks shutting many people out of vital financial services and affecting their ability to access their own cash.

“The industry must ensure no-one is left behind by the digital transition and that when banks shut their doors, they don’t shut their customers out of important banking services.”

READ MORE: More than a third of UK bank branches have closed since 2015

OVO Energy launches brand campaign starring consumers

OVO Energy is “kick starting a movement” towards zero carbon living with its latest campaign.

‘What We Can Do’, marks a strategic shift towards a new membership model, designed to drive collective action against the climate crisis.

Sarah Booth, OVO retail brand and communications director says: “This campaign represents the beginning of a new chapter for OVO. We hope that ‘What we can do’ will be an optimistic rallying cry for energy customers up and down the country; bringing them together as a community and giving them a sense of agency in the fight against the climate crisis.”

The campaign, which was created by 20something, features members of the OVO community and coincides with the launch of a new product called OVO Beyond.

OVO Beyond is a new feature which actively supports consumers as they try to reduce their carbon footprints. It is part of a wider push from the brand to mobilise the business, its products and its customers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050. Last month OVO Energy announced set of marketing commitments to significantly reduce the carbon footprint of its marketing.

Booth concludes: “Energy makes up 26% of the average Carbon Footprint. Choosing renewable energy and using that energy more efficiently are remarkable yet easy steps that all of us can take. And the more of us that do this, the more powerful this change will be.”

The campaign will run across digital-out-of-home, podcasts, and social media.

Mike Ashley kicks off £3.8m takeover for Goals Soccer Centres

Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct has made a £3.8m cash offer for Goals Soccer Centres, the struggling five-a-side football pitch operator in which he already holds a 19% stake.

The retail group has continued with its trend of buying up distressed businesses, saying on Monday that it had made a 5p-a-share approach for Goals on 5 September, valuing the business at around £3.76m. This is a fraction of its £20.5m market value when its shares were suspended in March, after it uncovered a potential £12m unpaid tax bill.

Goals put itself up for sale in August, weeks after it disclosed it had accounting issues. The struggling company employs 700 people across 45 sites in the UK and four in the US with Ashley it’s biggest shareholder.

£ READ MORE: Sports Direct weighs £4m buyout of Goals Soccer Centres

Monday 23 September

Thomas Cook collapses

Thomas Cook has gone into compulsory liquidation, leading to the cancellation of all flights, holidays and bookings.

The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) says Thomas Cook has ceased trading with immediate effect, leaving 600,000 Thomas Cook customers stranded abroad after last-minute negotiations to save the holiday firm failed. Some 22,000 jobs are at risk, including 9,000 in the UK.

Peter Fankhauser, Thomas Cook’s chief executive, says the collapse is a “matter of profound regret” and he apologised to the company’s “millions of customers and thousands of employees”.

“Despite huge efforts over a number of months and further intense negotiations in recent days we have not been able to secure a deal to save our business,” he says.

“It has been my privilege to lead Thomas Cook. It is deeply distressing to me that it has not been possible to save one of the most-loved brands in travel.”

The union representing Thomas Cook’s high street and office staff has blamed the government for allowing it to collapse and says administration “need not have happened”.

“The government had been given ample opportunity to step in and help Thomas Cook but has instead chosen ideological dogma over saving thousands of jobs,” Cortes says.

“That they would rather hang our members out to dry instead of rescuing Thomas Cook is shameful and wrongheaded.

“There remains the question of repatriating 150,000 British holidaymakers and the cost to the public purse of doing so. You don’t have to be a mathematical genius to know it would have been cheaper and more cost effective to save what is a cornerstone of the British high street.”

READ MORE: Thomas Cook collapses as last-ditch rescue talks fail

M&S finance boss steps down

Marks & Spencer’s group chief financial officer is leaving the business after 18 months in the role.

Humphrey Singer’s resignation comes just weeks after it was announced M&S will drop out of the FTSE 100 for the first time.

Singer, who joined M&S from Dixons Carphone in 2018, will work with chief executive Steve Rowe on the succession process and continue his responsibilities until a replacement is found, although no official departure date has been set.

Singer says he feels “privileged to be a part of the challenging but hugely rewarding turnaround” at M&S but now is the “right time to move on”.

“The transformation taking place is of a scale, depth and pace not seen before at the company,” he says. “I will continue to give the business my all and work with Steve and the Board to ensure we continue to make progress and that there is an orderly handover to my successor.”

Rowe adds: “Humphrey has been a huge asset to the business. He has helped to establish the foundations of our transformation with a stronger balance sheet, robust financial controls and a much keener focus on reducing our cost base. In addition, he was a critical part of the team which guided Marks & Spencer through the deal to create our joint venture with Ocado and subsequent equity raise. I look forward to continuing to work with him as we search for his successor.”

Vitality signs up Jonny Wilkinson for mental health campaign

Vitality has signed up Jonny Wilkinson as the ambassador of a new mental health campaign seeking to address the fine line between feeling fine and overwhelmed.

Coinciding with the Rugby World Cup, the former England rugby union player will share some of his own personal challenges around mental health in a bid to encourage people to get support when they need it.

The campaign, created by BBD Perfect Storm, comes as the rugby players’s union calls for urgent action to be taken to protect players’s mental wellbeing.

“Mental health is at the heart of our proposition, with a broad range of support offered to Vitality members,” says Chrissy Fice, brand director at Vitality UK.

“We wanted to go further with this campaign though, timed to coincide with the Rugby World Cup. As a product of the deep relationship we have built with Jonny over a number of years, we have collaborated to amplify his honest and personal experience of mental health, and through the power of the Vitality brand can raise wider awareness of this critical issue.”

Anthony Nolan unveils ‘Silent Thank You’ campaign

Blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan has created an emotive campaign to raise awareness of the charity and encourage people to register as donors.

The ‘Silent Thank You’ campaign, created by Tin Man and Rankin, includes a two-minute film featuring six survivors of blood cancer struggling to thank the people who have saved their lives with stem cell transplants.

Anthony Nolan says it is based on insight that while we say ‘thank you’ on average 59 times each day, people often struggle to find the right words to express their gratitude when it comes to “life’s big moments”.

“For someone with blood cancer, a stem cell transplant could be their last chance of survival, and every day five people start their search for a matching stranger,” says Henry Braund, chief executive at Anthony Nolan.

“We want to give every family the opportunity to say thank you. Nobody should hear there is no matching donor for them which is why, at Anthony Nolan, we’re working hard to grow the stem cell register, carry out groundbreaking research and provide the best post-transplant care to give families a future. But without support, as this beautifully shot campaign shows, lives can’t be saved.”

Co-op Foundation launches campaign to tackle youth loneliness

The Co-op Foundation charity has launched a new marketing campaign to tackle the stigma of youth loneliness.

Co-created with nine young people and specialist youth co-design agency Effervescent, the ‘We are lonely, but not alone’ campaign encourages everyone to wear yellow socks to show they care about youth loneliness. People can post pictures using the hashtag #LonelyNotAlone.

Characters have also been created for an animation aiming to reflect loneliness, including a unicorn who feels different and a ‘crocoduck’ – a duck that pretends to be a crocodile to fit in.

The campaign comes after research conducted among 2,000 young people aged between 10 and 25 found only 26% of young people are confident talking about loneliness and just 23% believe society treats it as a serious social issue.

“Loneliness is a huge challenge and sadly a reality for too many young people,” says Nicky Morgan, secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport.

“The Co-op Foundation’s innovative campaign is a fantastic way to raise awareness and help them realise they are not alone in feeling lonely. Through our loneliness strategy we are working to tackle the stigma of loneliness and create more opportunities for people to meet and make friends. I hope this campaign will encourage more people to spot the signs of loneliness, speak up and build more meaningful connections with each other.”