Uber, Ad spend, Samsung: Everything that matters this morning

Uber concealed hack affecting 57 million people

Uber concealed a data breach that affected 57 million customers and drivers. The ride-sharing firm hid the breach in 2016 by paying hackers $100,000 (£75,000) to delete the data.

The hackers stole 57 million names, email addresses and mobile phone numbers, including the names and license plate details of 600,000 drivers. According to Bloomberg, Uber’s former chief executive Travis Kalanick knew about the breach over a year ago.

Drivers have been offered free credit monitoring protection, although the same service has not been rolled out to affected customers.

In January Uber was fined $20,000 by regulators for failing to disclose a less serious breach in 2014.

READ MORE: Uber concealed huge data breach

UK ad spend set to rise 4.8% to £19.8bn in 2018

UK advertising spend is set to increase 4.8% to £19.8bn in 2018, according to the latest forecast from GroupM. This year is forecast to conclude better than expected, with ad spend up 5% to £18.9bn.

Media investment group GroupM expects digital advertising to hold a 60% share of UK ad investment in 2018, due to rising digital audiences, the growth of ecommerce and a preference amongst marketers for driving near term return-on-investment (ROI).

GroupM predicts digital advertising to grow by 13.3% in 2017 and 9.8% in 2018. Key growth is expected to be in audio/visual (A/V) content creation. It is estimated that two thirds of advertisers who suspended advertising on YouTube earlier this year due to brand safety concerns have returned to normal investment levels on the platform.

While ad spend on TV declined 2.9% in 2017, GroupM expects levels to stabilise in 2018 in a context of slower audience loss and attractive pricing. In terms of linear TV, GroupM forecasts impressions among 16-to-24-year-olds to fall by 12% and by a further 8% amongst 16-to-34-year-olds, in 2017.

Looking ahead to next year, expectations are that out-of-home ad spend will rise by 2%, if promised improvements in effectiveness, automation and efficiency come to fruition. However, ad spend for national newsbrands is forecast to plummet by 12% in 2017 and 8% in 2018.

Samsung to debut UK’s longest ever single shot ad


Samsung has created the UK’s longest ever single shot TV advert, featuring nothing but a washing machine cycle.

Filling an entire ad break during Channel 4’s Gogglebox on 24 November, the three minutes and 20 second long advert will be preceded by a Channel 4 branded introduction.

Developed by creative agency Taylor Herring to mark the launch of Samsung’s new QuickDrive washing machine, the advert was inspired by the TV “interlude” series of the 1950s, which most famously featured a rotating potter’s wheel to cover for gaps in programmes. The Samsung commercial directly references the inspiration via on screen text and 30 seconds of sepia tinged footage before fading to full colour

The campaign will include a tie up with the Gogglebox personalities, who will tweet about the advert as it airs on Channel 4.

Retailers up marketing spend as Christmas confidence grows

A third of retailers have increased their marketing spend in time for Christmas despite rising cost pressures, according to Barclays Christmas Confidence Survey.

Some 43% of retailers predict that increased marketing across the industry will have a positive impact on Christmas trading, with 71% saying they are more confident or as confident as last year about their overall Christmas trading prospects, In fact, 49% expect to achieve revenue growth.

The Barclay’s research shows that 73% of retailers surveyed are participating in Black Friday, although their approach to the discount event is becoming more sophisticated. Some 50% of retailers plan to limit their Black Friday deals to certain channels and more than a third (36%) will limit the amount of product on offer.

This discount savvy strategy is extending to the wider Christmas period, with 70% of retailers saying they are planning discounts more carefully to maximise margins by discounting select products over a longer period this year rather than heavy discounting on Black Friday.

Some 49% of sales this Christmas are expected to involve more than one channel, with an estimated 30% being eventually completed online, around double the usual level in a standard month. To accommodate these growing changes retailers have invested 41% more in their online capacity and infrastructure this year.

ASA upholds complaint against Pernod Ricard

Pernod Ricard programmatic

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ruled that Pernod Ricard breached the CAP Code with an advert for its Absolut brand prominently showing people drinking who appeared to be under 25 years old.

Aired on 9 August, the sponsored Facebook post by Absolut featured a video of a group of young people sitting in a boat drinking alongside on-screen text stating “Enjoy Absolut Responsibly”.

The ASA noted that during the ad the camera focused on all of the individuals in the boat and, in the context of a short ad, featured them prominently. The individuals were also shown dancing and using their mobile phones to record the experience, which the ASA considered an action reflective of adolescent culture.

Absolut provided identification proving everyone featured in the advert was 25 years or older, arguing that whether an individual “appeared” to be under 25 years was a subjective area, although it had no intention to portray them as such.

Despite acknowledging that the individuals were all 25 years or older, the ASA argued that some of those featured would be considered to be under the age of 25 by some consumers.

As the CAP Code requires that people shown drinking alcohol or playing a significant role in a marketing communication must neither be, nor seem to be, under 25 years of age, the advert was ruled to have breached the code and must not appear again in its current form.

Tuesday 21 November


Uber looks to buy 24,000 self-driving Volvo cars

Uber plans to buy up to 24,000 self-driving cars from Volvo, marking a change from its long-standing business model where contractor drivers buy or lease and maintain their own cars.

Volvo said in a statement on Monday (20 November) it would provide Uber with its flagship XC90 SUVs equipped with autonomous technology as part of a non-exclusive deal from 2019 to 2021. A Volvo spokesman said it covered up to 24,000 cars.

Should Uber buy all 24,000 cars, it would be Volvo’s largest order by far and the biggest sale in the autonomous vehicle industry, giving Uber its first commercial fleet of cars.

Uber isn’t the only business doing this, with Lyft striking a similar deal with Ford. The car hailing app has also faced a lot of scrutiny in the UK for not giving its employees enough rights – could this be a move by the company to find a way around it?

READ MORE: Volvo Cars to supply Uber with up to 24,000 self-driving cars

Paperchase ‘truly sorry’ for advertising in the Daily Mail

Paperchase has promised not to run any more promotions in the Daily Mail following a backlash from online activist group Stop Funding Hate, which criticised its “transphobic” news stories.

The stationery firm offered free wrapping paper in Saturday’s newspaper. But after criticism from the campaign group and some consumers, on Monday, it said: “We’re truly sorry and we won’t ever do it again.”

A Daily Mail spokesman said: “It is deeply worrying that Paperchase should have allowed itself to be bullied into apologising – on the back of a derisory 250 Facebook comments and 150 direct tweets – to internet trolls orchestrated by a small group of hard left Corbynist individuals seeking to suppress legitimate debate and impose their views on the media. .”

Stop Funding Hate is an lobby group which targets companies to stop advertising with the Mail, the Sun and the Daily Express. Last year, Lego ended its promotional giveaways in the Daily Mail following a campaign by the online activists.

READ MORE: Paperchase ‘sorry’ over Daily Mail deal after backlash

British Gas ditches standard tariffs ahead of price cap

British Gas has announced it will stop selling the contentious standard deals to new customers. It will also block existing customers from rolling onto the variable tariff when their fixed deals end.

The demise of the standard variable tariff was seen by many to be a reaction to the Government’s pledge to cap the price paid by almost 17 million homes in a bid to end what it called “rip-off” energy bills.

The pledge has not been well-received within the industry, with the tactics raising concerns that the industry’s efforts to boost competition is being actively undermined by Government posturing.

READ MORE: British Gas to scrap standard tariffs ahead of looming price cap

Facebook market value overtaken by Tencent

Move aside Facebook, as a new competitor has overtaken it in terms of market value.

Tencent is the first Chinese company to break through the $500bn mark, making it the first Chinese technology company to join an elite group dominated by US groups.

The Chinese social media group’s share price jumped as much as 4.7% in morning trading, bringing it to a record high and lifting market capitalisation to as far as $534.5bn, above that of Facebook at $519.4bn.

More than half of the 980m users of its WeChat platform spend over 90 minutes on the app every day, with Tencent dominating its home turf thanks in part to Beijing’s block on Facebook.

Tencent’s market cap surpasses Facebook (£)

Businesses to ramp up investment in artificial intelligence

Most businesses are planning to plough cash into artificial intelligence over the next two years, as just one in 10 leaders believes the UK to be a world leader in digital.

Some 85% of the more than 50 organisations surveyed by Deloitte, which collectively are worth more than £200bn, said they will invest in the technology along with the Internet of Things.

AI was identified as potentially the most disruptive technology, though only 22% have invested in it already.

“The first edition of the index shows that few UK businesses are successfully exploiting digital technologies and ways of working,” said Deloitte’s digital transformation leaders Paul Thompson.

“Strategies are not coherent, investment levels are modest and the relevant skills are in short supply. As a result, the UK is’t living up to its digital potential.”

READ MORE: Robot revolution: Most businesses are about to plough cash into artificial intelligence

Monday 20 November

YouTube under fire again as brands pull ads

youtube brand safety

A number of brands have pulled their advertising from YouTube again after an investigation by The Times showed ads apppearing next to clips aimed at or featuring children that were “inappropriate” or “disturbing”. Iceland, O2 and Which? are among companies to have suspended advertising.

YouTube has now shut down some of the offending channels including one, called Toy Freaks, that had attracted seven billion views.

This latest news comes months after a widescale brand boycott after ads were found appearing next to white supremacist and terrorist content.

In a statement, Google says: “We take child safety extremely seriously and have clear policies against child endangerment. We recently tightened the enforcement of these policies to tackle content featuring minors where we receive signals that cause concern.

“It’s not always clear that the uploader of the content intends to break our rules, but we may still remove their videos to help protect viewers, uploaders and children. We’ve terminated the Toy Freaks channel for violation of our policies. We will be conducting a broader review of associated content in conjunction with expert Trusted Flaggers.”

READ MORE: Child abuse on YouTube

Asos overtakes M&S in market cap

Marks & Spencer has been overtaken by commerce rival Asos in terms of market cap, a sign of the struggles of the high street and shift in shopping towards online. On Friday, Asos shares gained 2% to boost its market value to £4.89bn. M&S was worth £4.88bn, according to Reuters data.

Despite the move, M&S still remains bigger than Asos both in terms of sales and profits. Asos saw profits of £80m on sales of £1.9bn last year, compared with profits of £176.4m and sales of £10.6bn at M&S. But Asos is still growing while M&S has seen full-year profits fall from a hire of more than £1bn in 2008.

READ MORE: Asos overtakes M&S – is this the UK high street’s Tesla moment?

Worrying signs for retailers as research predicts fall in Christmas spending

Retail spending is expected to fall this year for the first time since 2012 as cautious shoppers rein back. According to research by Visa and IHS Markit, there will be a 0.1% fall in consumer spending this festive season. That is in sharp contrast to last year when spending was up 2.8% year on year and comes amid a backdrop of rising inflation and slugging economic growth.

“While it still looks likely that consumers will be hitting stores and websites in search of bargains this Black Friday and Cyber Monday, we expect spending for the duration of the festive season to be lower in comparison to last year,” says Mark Antipof, chief commercial officer at Visa.

“Looking back, consumers were in a sweet spot in 2016 – low inflation and rising wages meant there was a little extra in household budgets to spend on the festive period. 2017 has seen a reversal of fortunes – with inflation outpacing wage growth and the recent interest rate rise leaving shoppers with less money in their pockets.”

READ MORE: Christmas spending expected to fall for first time since 2012, Visa says

New crackdown on the ‘gig economy’ urged

Companies operating in the so-called gig economy are exploiting loopholes in employment law and leaving workers worse off, claim MPs, who say minicab and delivery drivers are facing an “unacceptable burden” to prove they are workers and not self employed.

The Work and Pensions Committee and Business Select Committee have drawn up a draft bill that assumes people are “worker by default” and therefore have to receive holiday and sick pay. Companies would face punitive fines for falsely classifying workers as self-employed and denying them benefits under the proposals.

A government spokeswoman tells the BBC the government recognises that the “labour market is not working for everyone” and that there is an ongoing review of working practices.

Despite rising concerns about workers in the gig economy, these firms continue to see rapid growth. Deliveroo has just raised an additional $98m for its latest funding round, bringing its total to $482m.

READ MORE: Fresh call for crackdown on gig economy

Government urged to pause corporation tax cut

Tax experts are urging the chancellor Philip Hammond to “rethink” a planned cut to corporation tax to free up money for other spending priorities. The governement currently plans to cut the tax to 17% by 2020 to send a clear message that Britain is “open for business”. However many now think there are bigger policy concerns that should be addressed first and that Hammond should use the budget on Wednesday (22 November) to halt the cut.

The British Chambers of Commerce is among those urging Mr Hammond to “pause” and keep the corporate tax rate at 19% until after UK leaves the EU, acccording to the Financial Times. The lobby group has said that the resulting revenue could be ringfenced to ease other burdens on business.

Elsewhere, Hammond is expected to unveil a major investment in driverless cars in the UK, with the aim of having them on the roads by 2021.

READ MORE: Tax experts call for ‘rethink’ of UK corporation tax in Budget (£)