M&S, Morrisons & Google:
Everything that matters this morning

We round-up everything you need to know from the marketing world this morning

M&S debuts food ad after marketing overhaul

Marks & Spencer has revealed the first TV ad for its food business after relaunching its marketing under the ‘Spend it Well’ strapline. Created by its new agency Grey London, the ad showcases food including scallops, focaccia, and glazed ribs and encourages viewers to “pick up their knife and fork and get ready to travel”. The first 40-second ad will be followed up by 20-second executions, as well as social media activity and cinema, print and outdoor ads. It is part of its ‘Spend it Well’ campaign that launched earlier this month and brings together the retailer’s food and clothing advertising for the first time.

Google tweaks ad removal policies

Google is making changes to its ad blacklist policies as it looks to ensure it isn’t removing whole websites if only some of their content is risky. Previously, Google’s default was to remove ads from an entire website if it noticed that website had ad formats that were intrusive or it was placing ads in unsavory contexts, for example next to hate speech. Now, however, its default will be to remove ads on a page-by-page basis.

The move is good news for any publisher that might have some pages of content that don’t abide by Google’s rules but where the majority does. Google tells Digiday that the move is in response to requests that it take a more granular approach to disabling ads. Websites with a high proportion of pages being blacklisted will still find their whole site is then removed from its DoubleClick and AdSense networks, but it is unclear how high that proportion needs to be.

Richer Sounds and Toolstation top shoppers’ list, but Morrisons comes in last

Richer Sounds and Toolstation were the surprise winners

of Which?’s annual survey of shopper satisfaction, beating out high street stalwarts such as John Lewis. Which? asked more than 10,000 customers about their shopping experience at 100 major retailers, with scores given based on satisfaction and likelihood to recommend. Harvey Nichols was the biggest climber, jumping from 21st place a year ago to third place this time round, while Waterstones returned to the top five for the first time since 2014. However, it was less good news for the major supermarkets, with Sainsbury’s and Tesco finding themselves in the bottom 10 and Morrisons coming last.

Waymo and Lyft test autonomous cars

Google’s parent company Alphabet is working with Uber rival Lyft to test autonomous cars on the road in the US. Waymo, Alphabet’s automotive business, is already holding public trials using Chrysler minivans equipped with its technology but says Lyft will help it reach “more people in more places”, according to Bloomberg.The move means Alphabet is unlikely to rekindle its relationship with Uber after the two companies fell out. The alphabet is one of Uber’s biggest investors through its venture capital arm but tensions between the two have risen as they increasingly found themselves competing. Waymo is also suing Uber, alleging one of its engineers stole technology from the Alphabet business. “Waymo holds today’s best self-driving technology, and collaborating with them will accelerate our shared vision of improving lives with the world’s best transportation,” says Lyft.

Inflation and unemployment both set to rise

The cost of living is rising at the fastest race for three-and-a-half years as an increase in air fares and rise in energy bills hits households. Official figures due out this week are expected to show that the consumer prices index has risen to 2.6% in the year to April, up from 2.3% in March. That is the highest rate since September 2013, when it was 2.7%. Separate jobs data is expected to show the unemployment rate remaining steady at 4.7% in the first quarter, still a relatively low figure. However, EY Club is forecasting that the jobless rate will rise next year as a slowdown in the consumer sector leads to companies such as retailers cutting jobs. The proportion of people in employment is expected to rise to 5.4% next year and 5.8% the year after, the first increases since 2009. “While economic activity has held up better than many expected since last summer, there are now signs, particularly in the consumer sector, that the pace of expansion in the economy is slowing,” EY says.

Chuck Reynolds
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