Wolfstar – Monthly Roundup– July

July could well be the month that 2019 is remembered for forevermore. It was the month that saw the highest ever UK temperatures, the one and only Boris Johnson becoming Prime Minister, not to mention Northern Pride kicking off the 2019 Pride season in all its colourful glory. With all that going on you could be forgiven for missing what’s been happening in the world of communications and marketing.

In case you missed them, here are some of the stories our Leeds PR agency thinks you need to know about from July.

Tinder for marketing ideas

We all know strategic communications can be hugely expensive, not to mention time-consuming. However, multi-national conglomerate Unilever may have the answer. In July, the company revealed a revolutionary Tinder-style app – Idea Swipe – designed to speed up decision making in marketing and optimise creativity.

The app will help the marketing decision-making process during the idea concept phase. Unilever has used behavioural economics to produce open-ended questions. These are used to promote co-creation and relay feedback on ideas from the company’s internal marketing teams. The app has been dubbed ‘Tinder for marketers’. Individuals are able to like or reject an idea by swiping left or right.

Unilever claims that the app can tap into the wisdom of the whole team without the need to organise meetings and working groups in the early stages of concept development.

The pace of innovation has significantly increased in recent years. Unilever has once again shown it is a front runner in this area. While technology will never replace human creativity, embracing it in marketing strategy is rapidly becoming unavoidable. We should all take a leaf out of Unilever’s book. Embracing new technology to help streamline marketing strategy, will allow us to focus on developing creative ideas.

Marks & Spencer’s peace with plastic

In an attempt to appeal to the family market Marks & Spencer has launched its “Little Shop” campaign, whereby shoppers receive a mini plastic version of iconic foods when they spend £20 in store. Unsurprisingly this has been met with a huge backlash, with consumers speaking out about the needless plastic waste.

Although the retailer has tried to reassure customers that it is concerned with sustainability, saying it would recycle any unwanted toys, Marks & Spencer has been accused of not listening to the public tide of anti-single use plastic.

People have taken to social media to voice their anger at the retailer saying it has missed the point. One visitor on its Facebook page said: “Yes, recycling is very important, but it’s about stopping making the pointless plastic rubbish in the first place.”

The brand offered social media influencer Kate Starkey money in return for three Instagram posts, but she refused. Commenting Katie said: “Brands need to help consumers make the right decisions, not create unnecessary plastic rubbish that will inevitably pollute the environment.”

Consumers are calling for drastic action to be taken on items such as plastic wrapping. These small plastic toys will be played with once or twice and end up in landfill (or the ocean). This idea was one that was well wide of the mark, given the current news agenda.

Shortlist for diversity award revealed

The annual Channel 4 Diversity in Advertising Award shortlist was announced in July. The focus of this year’s award is on the lack of LGBTQ+ representation and stereotyping of the community in advertising.

Earlier in the year, Channel 4 commissioned the world’s biggest study into diversity representation in TV ads. It analysed 1,000 TV ads over a two-month period to discover how minority groups are portrayed. It found that LGBTQ+ people rarely appear in adverts. When they do are prone to being stereotyped or portrayed negatively.

On this year’s shortlist is Booking.com, CALM and Virgin Media with their communications agency adam & eve DDB; Coca-Cola & its creative design agency Epoch Design; Screwfix and its media agency Wavemaker UK; Snickers and its communications agency AMV BBDO; Starbucks UK and its advertising agency Iris London. The finalists will present their final campaign ideas to Channel 4 in September. The overall winner will receive £1m of commercial airtime on Channel 4 and will be revealed in the autumn.

Matt Salmon, Channel 4’s head of agency & client sales and commercial marketing said: “Diversity and inclusion isn’t just the right thing to do, it makes commercial sense as proven by previous award winners who have shown that embracing diversity not only leads to more creativity, it helps boost sales and ultimately profits.”

Our Leeds PR agency is sure that August will bring just as much excitement as July, so check back here next month for your update on the biggest stories in the PR and social media world!