Marketing Week

Mars, Walmart, Wonga: Everything that matters this morning


Mars pulls advertising from YouTube over brand safety issues

Mars has pulled its advertising from YouTube after one of its brands’ ads was shown at the start of a video about drill rap music.

According to The Sun, the ad for Starbucks sweets was shown before a video by group Moscow17. Drill music often features gang members rapping about violence; the video in this instance spoke about the group being “at war” with the police.

Mars says it is “unacceptable” for its brands to appear alongside content of this nature. The video is still on YouTube and has been viewed more than 40,000 times, but no ads now appear ahead of it.

A spokeswoman for Mars says: “It is unacceptable and disappointing to see one of our brands advertised alongside this video content. This clearly breaches our brand safety guidelines and Mars adverts should never run alongside such content.

“We have taken the action to remove all our online advertising on YouTube and can confirm we are working with Google and our media buying agencies to understand what went wrong. Until we have confidence that appropriate safeguards are in place, we will not advertise on YouTube.”

READ MORE: Mars axes adverts worth millions on YouTube after backlash over drill rap videos linked to gangland killings in London

Wonga saved from bankruptcy by emergency £10m cash injection

Wonga has been saved from insolvency by an emergency £10m cash injection from a consortium of tech investors.

The money has come from major VC firms including Accel Partners and Balderton Capital, accordin to Sky News. The investment values the company at £23m, well below previous valuations and some way from its one-time ambition to list on the New York stock market.

The company has struggled as compensation payouts increase following a rise in the volume of complaints made before new rules were introduced in 2014. The company has been loss-making over the last few years after the introduction of a number of regulatory hurdles, including a cap on the cost of short-term loans.

Even with the cash injection, it may still have to sell some assets, and raise more debt funding.

‎Wonga tells Sky News: “Wonga continues to make progress against the transformation plan set out for the business. In recent months, however, the short-term credit industry has seen a marked increase in claims related to legacy loans, driven principally by claims management company activity.

“In line with this changing market environment, Wonga has seen a significant increase in claims related to loans taken out before the current management team joined the business in 2014. As a result, the team has raised £10m of new capital from existing shareholders, who remain fully supportive of management’s plans for the business.‎”

READ MORE: £10m cash call rescues payday lender Wonga from insolvency

House of Fraser sees of legal challenge as it looks to find a buyer

House of Fraser has settled a claim by its landlords that could have halted plans to sell the struggling department store chain. The company had hoped to use a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) process to shut half its stores, but the move faced a legal challenge by landlords who argued they were being treated as “second rate creditors”.

The landlords lodget their challenge after House of Fraser’s owner – halted plans to invest £70m into the business. That forced the company to look for a buyer that could rescue the business, but the legal challenge had been a significant hurdle to any deal, according to the Financial Times.

The company says: “House of Fraser is focused on concluding discussions with interested investors as per the original timelines set out by the business and recognising the risks in and around this litigation has entered into this settlement now to remove any risk to those discussions presented by this legal process.”

READ MORE: House of Fraser’s landlords deal removes rescue hurdle

Walmart tests system that uses robot help fulfil online grocery orders

Walmart is testing a system that uses an automated system, called Alphabot, to help fulfil online grocery orders. The service lets customers order groceries, choose a pickup time and have them delivered to their car. To make this easier to fulfil, the system automatically gathers certain items from their location in the warehouse and transports them to an employee, who packages the order.

The hope is the system will take on some of the work that goes into collecting order items, making it cheaper and faster. It is currently being tested at a Walmart location in Salem, New Hampshire, with plans to have it up and running by the end of the year.

“Although this is a small pilot, we expect big things from it,” Walmart says. “We have a lot to learn about this new technology, and we’re excited about the possibilities of how we can use it to make the future of shopping — and working — even better.”

READ MORE: Walmart tests automated system to help fill online grocery orders

Business confidence on the slide as Brexit concerns bite

Business confidence fell into negative territory in the three months ending July as concerns over the impact of Brexit mount.

The sentiment survey, compiled by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, found business confidence had fallen to -2 between 23 April and 20 July having been on the rise over the previous three quarters. It jumped to +7 in the three months between February and April.

A separate poll of FTSE 350 businesses by ICSA – the Governance Institute, found that 55% of UK companies are predicting a decline in their business over the company year; six months ago that figure was 24%. Just 6% are anticipating that business will increase.

“It is hard to see any other reason for continuing pessimism over the economy other than the ongoing government infighting over Brexit and the lack of a clear plan if there is no deal at the end of the negotiations,” Peter Swabey, the policy and research director at ICSA, says.

READ MORE: Confidence tumbles as business reaches summer turning point (£)

The post Mars, Walmart, Wonga: Everything that matters this morning appeared first on Marketing Week.

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