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Good morning and welcome to Marketing Week’s round-up of the news that matters in the marketing world today.

Energy firms are providing “unacceptable” customer service as some callers wait more than 30 minutes to speak to an operator, according to Which?.

The consumer group found huge variations in waiting times between energy firm, with around a fifth typically taking more than 10 minutes to pick up.

The consumer group made 432 calls to 36 energy suppliers to find out how long customers were left waiting before speaking to a member of staff. On some occasions it took more than 30 minutes for calls to be answered.

Each provider was called 12 times at different times of the day and on different days of the week to calculate the average call waiting time for customers.

Which? found that Scottish Power left customers waiting for an average of 21 minutes and 24 seconds before calls were answered. That is 20 minutes slower than the fastest company in its research, So Energy, which answered calls in just 38 seconds.

Which? head of home products and services Natalie Hitchins says: “Energy customers should be able to expect good customer service from their supplier, so it is unacceptable that some people are facing waits of half an hour or more just to speak with an adviser.”

UK drivers are accusing Volkswagen of “cheating” emissions rules by installing unlawful “defeat devices” as they take legal action over the ‘dieselgate’ scandal.

Nearly 100,000 VW drivers have filed a High Court claim alleging the car maker installed a defeat device inside its diesel cars to automatically lower fume emissions.

If the motorists win this part of their case then further litigation is likely to follow to determine whether VW is liable to the claimants in damages and if so how much it will have to pay.

VW says: “Volkswagen Group continued to defend robustly its position in the High Court in London. It remains Volkswagen Group’s case that the claimants did not suffer any loss at all and that the affected vehicles did not contain a prohibited defeat device.”

In 2015, the company was found to have installed software on its cars that deceived diesel emissions tests.

VW admitted to having manipulated the systems in 11 million vehicles worldwide in what became known as ‘dieselgate’. In 2017, it pleaded guilty in the US to criminal charges and paid out £3.3bn in civil and criminal penalties.

At the time, the VW CEO, Martin Winterkorn, apologised on behalf of the company, saying: “I personally am deeply sorry that we have broken the trust of our customers and the public. We do not and will not tolerate violations of any kind of our internal rules or of the law.”

The firm has launched a bond sale to pay for building more automated warehouses, which it is already selling to supermarket chains worldwide as they fight off the likes of Amazon.

The bonds will turn into equity if its stock climbs by between 40% and 45%. The convertible bond will mature in six years’ time and pays a coupon of between 0.75% and 1.25%.

However, analysts are unsure of the move with shares in Ocado falling more than 7% as a result of the fundraising announcement. This reversed some of the gains from Friday, when it signed an agreement with Japan’s largest supermarket chain Aeon.

Between 1 January and 1 December, box office revenue fell by 12.8% while retail sales dropped by 7.4%. Total revenue dropped by 9.7%.

Cineworld was quick to note that the second half of its financial year had started strongly with film releases such as Spider-Man: Far from Home, Joker and Frozen 2.

However the chain says: “As anticipated, the box office performance for the reported period was slower than the comparative period in 2018 reflecting the phasing of major releases and postponement of some highly anticipated movies to 2020.”

The delay in film franchises means its full year results are set to be below management’s expectations.

This season’s FA Cup third-round fixtures will be delayed by one minute to send a “powerful” message about mental health.

The FA, in partnership with the Heads Up campaign and the National Health Service’s Every Mind Matters, wants to encourage fans to talk more about their mental wellbeing.

All 32 third-round ties, which will take place over the weekend of 3-6 January, will kick-off one minute later than usual.

FA chief executive Mark Bullingham says: “While delaying kick-off times by 60 seconds is a simple idea, it provides a powerful platform for us and our Heads Up charity partners to deliver a really important message on mental health.

“We know that men in particular can be reluctant to talk about the subject, so it is important that we use football as a vehicle to stress the importance of mental fitness.”

It is hoped the initiative will raise awareness of the importance of looking after mental health by promoting the free online Every Mind Matters resources and the Your Mind Plan tool, which fans can use to create a personal mental health action plan.

Heads Up campaign chairman Godric Smith adds: “The Emirates FA Cup is a competition for everyone – for clubs big and small – and we want to use its power to help show that we all have mental health and that we can all take a minute to focus on how we can start to improve it.”

H&M is testing a clothing rental service in a bid to face up to mounting criticism of the fashion industry over waste and pollution.

The trial, which is running in H&M’s flagship store in Stockholm, Sweden, will offer clothes for 350 kroner (£29) a week. The service is currently limited to 50 garments and only available to members of its loyalty scheme.

The test will run for three months, with H&M monitoring how it runs before it considers expanding it. The Stockholm store is also testing a range of other services, including clothing repairs, a coffee shop and beauty bar.

“We have a huge belief in rental, but we still want to test and learn quite a lot and do tweaks and changes,” H&M’s head of business development, Daniel Claesson, said in a presentation at the flagship reported by Business of Fashion.

H&M joins retailers including Banana Republic and Urban Outfitters in offering rental services. The market is thought to me worth around $1bn globally, with websites such as Vinted and Hurr Collective gaining in popularity.

Ad spend in the UK is expected to be among the fastest in the world with growth of 6.7% in 2020, according to GroupM.

The media agency owned by WPP forecasts spend to be 7.8% this year, the same as in 2018 as strong growth since the 2008/09 recession continues. That marks the sixth consecutive year of mid- to high-single-digit growth, with the UK’s ad sector expanding by 55% since 2013 making it “unambiguously” the world’s fourth largest.

Growth has been boosted spend from digital-first brands such as Facebook, Netflix and Google, all of which have spent hundreds of millions promoting their services. There is also a longtail of advertisers spending on digital media.

David Pemsel has resigned as the new CEO of the Premier League two months before he was due to start the job.

The decision means the Premier League will now have to start its hunt for a new boss all over again. It is the second time an incoming CEO has stepped down before starting after broadcasting exec Susanna Dinnage also took up the role only to change her mind.

“Following media disclosures earlier this week and discussions with David Pemsel, the Premier League has today accepted David’s resignation and he will no longer be joining as chief executive,” says the Premier League in a statement.

Pemsel has agreed to take up the role only last month. He was previously CEO of Guardian Media Group and has worked in various marketing jobs.

Anna Bateson, chief customer officer and the Guardian’s top marketer, has taken on the job of interim CEO.

“Since joining the Guardian in 2016 and taking responsibility for our brand and reader revenues in 2017, Anna has helped us achieve impressive revenue growth, while also working closely with editorial colleagues on marketing and brand activities,” says the company.

“As previously announced David Pemsel has resigned as chief executive of GMG. We would like to express our gratitude to David for his leadership during an extremely important period for the organisation.”

Ted Baker has warned that it may have overstated the value of its stock by up to £25m, another blow to the fashion business following the departure of its founder and boss Ray Kelvin last year over misconduct allegations.

A review will be carried out by law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, while independent accountants have been brought in to investigate. Ted Baker says it does not expect any cash impact.

“Ted Baker is committed to ensuring the independent review is completed in an efficient and transparent manner and will update the market as appropriate. While the review is ongoing, the company will not comment further,” it says in a statement.

The news is the latest problem to hit Ted Baker. Kelvin was forced to resign after claims he presided over a culture of “forced hugging”. Since then, its sales, profits and share price have all tumbled, with the retailer reporting a loss of £23m in the six months to 10 August, compared to profit of £24.5m in the same period in 2018.

The price of TV advertising is forecast to increase by 6.6% globally next year and online video by 6%, according to the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA).

Smaller price rises are expected for other traditional channels, while online display is forecast to experience a 4.4% rise. The numbers were compiled by analysing data from 17 companies covering 50 markets.

In total, ‘offline’ media is forecast to see prices rise by 5%, while ‘online’ media (which includes only online video and online display) will experience a 5.2% rise.

In the UK, prices are expected to be less volatile. TV, for example, will see prices rise by an average of 2.7%, online video by 3.7% and online display will be flat.

From chilled-out bulldogs and record-breaking vegan snacks, to probably not the best beer in the world and Alan Partridge’s ‘back at the BBC’ memo, here’s part one of Marketing Week’s campaigns of 2019.

The deal between the brands and Channel 4 will see three social enterprises that champion disability given a 60-second spot during an ad break takeover this evening.

We arm you with all the stats you need to prepare for the coming week and help you understand the big industry trends.

By developing an account-based marketing programme driven by deep knowledge of customers, O2 business is forming closer and more commercially rewarding relationships with its key clients.

Adam&eveDDB deserves recognition for its outstanding creative work but with its creative nous it should know it’s time to drop the adam&eve name for the good of the wider DDB brand.

Unilever veteran Conny Braams will take on the top marketing role at the FMCG giant after Keith Weed retired earlier this year.

Tom Fishburne is founder of Marketoon Studios. Follow his work at marketoonist.com or on Twitter @tomfishburne See more of the Marketoonist here

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