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Ex-Red Bull marketer plans to ride the sugar-tax with his healthy energy drink brand



The former marketing chief for Red Bull has launched his own 'natural energy drink' Tenzing with an ad campaign that’s been timed to roll out alongside what he dubs the “awesome” sugar-tax shining a light on alternative brands.

Huib Van Bockel first led marketing at Red Bull in Holland before taking up the UK and European role between 2011 and 2015 where he helped develop the drink’s company’s events like the Red Bull Air Race and the Red Bull Soapbox Race.

In the three years since, he cooked up a brand inspired by Sherpa Tenzing Norgay – one of the first people to reach the top of Mount Everest. From this came a new brand and, arguably a new category, the healthy energy drink.

The brew contains six natural ingredients, green coffee, guarana, green tea, Himalayan rock minerals, lemon juice and beet sugar and clocks in at 55 calories a can.

But developing the product was an eye-opening experience for Van Bockel. The formulation at the flavour house showed how set in their ways category leaders were when it came to sugar. The former Red Bull marketer aimed to come in at half the sugar levels of its would-be rivals.

"The testers asked, 'what do you want to replace it with?' and I said 'nothing'. None of the big brands had ever asked them to do this before,” he claimed.

Good time for a sugar tax

Van Bockel is trying to break into a busy sector, dominated by the likes of Red Bull as well as Lucozade Energy (and Lucozade Sports), Monster, Relentless, RockStar and even Carabao with its divisive sponsorship of the EFL Cup.

Many of these brands were hit by the UK sugar tax, but none more publicly than Lucozade and Ribena producer Suntory, Irn Bru maker Barr and Coca-Cola. These brands may hold a dominant market position but in Van Bockel’s opinion, that may not always be the case.

"These companies are all stuck with a product they created over 80 years ago. It is really hard for them to change and take out sugar," Van Bockel explained. "We did this before the sugar tax, we were extremely lucky it was announced, as a startup you have to have luck."

But it will take more than luck to ensure the brand’s success. Van Bockel admitted that energy drinks in particular are "synonymous with bad health" but he asserted it doesn't have to be that way. He pointed to the likes of Halo Top, a low fat ice cream in America which contains roughly 300 calories per pint. He said it has "dethroned" the likes of Ben and Jerry's (which can clock in at 1,000 calories per pint) and Haagen Daas, an indication that consumers are eager to try healthier alternatives from unknown brands.



Building the brand

Van Bockel has a much smaller marketing budget to play with than he would have been used to at Red Bull. While heavily involved in that company's growth into a formidable media house, he asserts that Tenzing will not be following in Red Bull's footsteps on the content front.

"They have brilliant teams and a lot of budget, there is no way I can compete so I am not going to try." Instead he will focus on the product, and its unique properties.

Out of home ads are currently running in the London Underground, courtesy of Exterion, and will look to introduce the brand to the public and inform them there is another option in the energy drink space.

YouTube, Facebook and Instagram will all be used to target fitness buffs while a nine-week partnership with magazine Time Out, spanning content and editorial, aims to introduce the brand story to readers.

A sampling campaign will be limited largely to the London area where the startup is based. It is primarily distributed at Wholefoods, Selfridges, Planet Organic, As Nature Intends and several high end gyms as well as a B2C website. There is also an anomalous cluster of consumers in Nepal, near the Everest routes where the brand first took shape.

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Havas breaks silence on Bolloré corruption probe as employee is formally investigated



Havas has said it will fully cooperate with authorities after confirming that an employee of a French subsidiary is being formally investigated. It comes after Vincent Bolloré was charged by French police as part of an investigation into corrupt practices in Africa.

Vincent Bolloré is chief executive of the Bolloré Groupe the former chairman of Havas-owner Vivendi, and father of Havas chief executive Yannick Bolloré. It is alleged that he used Havas to finance the electoral campaigns of politicians, who once in office granted port contracts to the Bolloré' Groupe.

Havas’ global director of public affairs, Jean-Philippe Dorent, was questioned by police earlier this week. Havas declined to comment at the time, however, the agency group has today (26 April) said it is cooperating with investigators after he was put under formal investigation.

“Havas Group acknowledges that an employee of one of its subsidiaries in France has been put under formal investigation on Wednesday 25 April,” it said.

“Havas Group stresses that this employee benefits from the fundamental principle of presumed innocence guaranteed by criminal procedure. The Group will of course fully cooperate with the judicial authorities.”

It is alleged that managers at the Bolloré Groupe offered the services of Havas at a massively discounted price to help with the 2010 presidential campaigns of the Guinean President Alpha Condé and Faure Gnassingbé of Togo.

The agency’s involvement in the campaign is being linked to how the Bolloré Groupe then gained control of two container terminals in the ports of Lomé, the capital of Togo, and Conakry, the capital of Guinea, in the same year.

The Bolloré Groupe has denied that the agency did anything irregular.

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The changing face of retail: top trends and challenges



If you were to believe the headlines, the death of the high street is imminent. Since the collapse of Woolworths in 2009 the UK retail scene has seen a wave of high profile administrations. For example, those Friday evening trips to the local Blockbuster are a thing of the past!

However, in reality, retailers are learning to innovate – looking at new ways to engage with audiences and understand the changing consumer dynamics that are determining the way they shop.

So here we have a look at some of the key consumer trends that have already impacted the way brands and retailers approach product positioning and marketing, as well as some of the new retail challenges and (and opportunities) you should be aware of now – before it’s too late!

The Millennial Market

The story of the millennial is only too familiar to readers of The Drum. Born between the early 1980s and early 2000s, these guys are digital natives who have grown up and matured with mobile technology and as such expect to be able to use it in every aspect of their life. Constantly on a variety of social media platforms to document their every move, and updating their profiles to project how they’d like to be seen by the world, the convenience of the mobile device is paramount to this group. And unsurprisingly the UK’s 14 million strong millennial population are more likely to start and end their journey on their smartphones than any other age group, who have started turning their mobile device into a handheld wallet.

Improving the payment experience through self-checkout kiosks and advanced digital payment technologies is essential to keeping the millennial shopper. The relentless focus on perfecting technology has set a new standard across the industry that millennials now accept as the norm. Retailers must be able to provide streamlined, user-friendly systems and processes in order to retain the millennial.

However, the challenge doesn’t end there for retailers, as a personalised retail experience is equally key. Whether this is online or in-store, millennials seek customer service professionals who understand their preferences and make recommendations tailored to their specific needs. Millennials want a customer-centric experience in which they feel wanted and valued. In order to do this, retailers need to closely examine what they’re currently doing with customer data, and ensure this information is being utilised to deliver a more personalised in-store experience.

The Conscious Consumer

Over the years, as manufacturers have looked towards cheaper and quicker ways of getting their products to customers, retail manufacturing practises have taken a serious toll on the environment. Second only to oil, the retail manufacturing industry is the most polluting industry on the planet. However, increasing awareness around these issues – thanks largely to the growing influence of the millennial audience (yes, those guys again) – has given rise to the conscious consumer.

Loosely speaking, being a conscious consumer means shopping and consuming with greater thought given to aspects of the product and business you’re buying from. For example, are they Fairtrade? Are their products responsibly sourced? And are they environmentally friendly? Ultimately this group aim to seek out ways to make positive decisions about what to buy and look for a solution to the negative impact consumerism is having on the world.

Another key concern for the conscious consumer is the way in which brands target audiences, both through advertising and the positioning of their products. As products and services expand to reflect the rich cultural makeup of the population, advertising efforts can be observed leading with non-centred perspectives that fall in line with a view to omni-culturalism, whereby effectively celebrating difference as the only norm. This progression demonstrates the need for brands to engage consumers around values less tied to traditional markers of identity such as race, geographic location and gender.

The Power of Omni-Channel

The omni-channel approach defines the new way in which consumers shop: by using all the options available to them. It could be suing a desktop, laptop, tablet, smartphone, smart TV; they might go direct to a website to research a specific product or arrive through affiliate channels or email; engage through review platforms, apps, etc.

In the UK shoppers say that social media has an influence over what they buy – under 25’s – 60% and 25-34 – 50%, while conducting prior online research on the retailer’s own site or sites of other retailers led to 13% greater in-store spending among omni-channel shoppers.

Although not a retail strategy, it’s still essential to understand the multiple methods people use in their path to purchase as, ultimately, the more channels customers use the more valuable they are! A recent Google study found that omni-channel shoppers are three times more valuable to a brand, with Macy’s stating it is in fact as high as six times.


With the rise of geo-tagging and GPS-connected applications, location-aware marketing becomes increasingly targeted. Engaging consumers by creating a more personalised form of brand interaction, location-based sharing taps into the tech-savvy demographics' desire to connect with their surroundings digitally. This omni-channel approach to consumer engagement denotes an evolution in how brands are targeting younger demographics.

Conversational Commerce

Gartner predicts that by the year 2020, 85% of customer interactions will be managed without a human and that 30% of web browsing sessions will be done without a screen by 2020. ComScore thinks 50% of all searches will be voice searches by that point. Voice user interfaces (VUI) provide consumers with a more natural and intuitive way of engaging with digital technology. This combined, with the growing popularity of connected devices in the home and car, will have a profound impact on how we shop.

Apostolos Lambrianides is group marketing and PR manager at Lick Creative

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Data & Analytics

Indian government issues deadline to Facebook and Cambridge Analytics for misuse of data of Indians



The Indian government has issued notices to Facebook and Cambridge Analytica to probe on the misuse of data, following Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica data protection scandal .

The Indian government has given the two companies a deadline of 10 May to respond to questions related to Indian citizens’ data. This is the second notice in this regard, as the first notice was issued to Cambridge Analytica on 23 March and to Facebook on 28 March according to Livemint.

In a letter to Facebook, the Indian government wrote: “What security architecture is proposed to be created by Facebook, on an urgent basis, so that the data concerning Indians is not pilfered or manipulated again for extraneous purposes including to influence the elections."

The government has also sent five questions to Cambridge Analytics for responses on the data breach.

Despite any reputational damage incurred in the Cambridge Analytica scandal and the reemergence of the #DeleteFacebook campaign, Facebook is expected to capture around 18% of worldwide digital ad spend in 2018.

Meanwhile, Facebook's largest brand campaign vows 'to do more to protect privacy' as it posts 50% Q1 revenue surge.

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