News

Diageo whisky brand Haig has launched a documentary-style video content push starring none other than David Beckham.

The three one-minute spots highlight the work of coopers in making whisky, celebrate the Scottish bar scene and see Beckham host a beach party.
 
Deva Smith, senior producer at LS Productions, said: “Working with the likes of David Beckham means you have to run an incredibly tight ship to ensure they’re not exposed to swarms of fans and press.
 
“The purpose of this spot was to capture David’s natural curiosity and reactions in the different scenarios, so it was imperative that his every need, as well as that of his team and his entourage, were met – alongside that of client and crew.”
 
Shot by director Hopi Allard and director of photography Cedric Schanze, the first video in the series follows Beckham as he travels to Diageo’s Cambus Cooperage, where he tries his hand at barrel-making.
 
In the second film, Beckham explores the creative ways bartenders in Scotland are using Scotch whisky, visiting venues such as Glasgow’s The Barrowland Ballroom, Radisson Red Sky Bar and The Finnieston.
 
The series concludes with a “vibrant” beach party, attended by those who feature in the other videos as well as Haig Club influencers from across the world.
 
The spots were produced by LS Productions in partnership with creative agency adam&eveDDB, Studio 99 and DB Ventures.
 
Beckham partnered with Diageo to launch Haig Club in 2014. He has since worked with the brand on its rollout in the US and starred in a responsible drinking campaign launched by the brand in 2017.

Revolut has launched GBP Direct Debits for all EEA customers with local UK account details.
 
The new functionality will utilise Modulr’s Direct Debits Mandate, adding a new feature that Revolut customers can use in their everyday lives.
 
This new feature allows Revolut’s EEA customers with local UK account details to make all their regular GBP Direct Debit payments from their Revolut accounts.
 
In the past year, Revolut has launched and developed new everyday services for its growing customer base. Revolut customers have created over two million Vaults for individual or group saving.
 
Revolut has used Modulr’s API since 2017, which combines its API-enabled platform with authorisation from the UK’s financial conduct authority.
 
Nik Storonsky, CEO and Founder at Revolut, said: “Around-the-clock access to a real-time payments infrastructure is key to building any successful financial service.
 
“We are providing Revolut customers with an alternative digital payments infrastructure unshackled by a reliance on traditional and slow legacy banking.
 
“GBP Direct Debits are the latest integration, as we build towards becoming the bank of the future. With Modulr, we not only have a partner we know and trust, but one who we can work with to launch new payment products with ease.”
Alexei Cowan has been appointed to the newly created role of head of design for Wilko retail. Cowan will establish a dedicated product design capability within wilko retail focussing on trend interpretation and the development of desirable products specifically for wilko customers.
 
With more than 20 years’ experience of developing, designing and launching customer focused, new products, for leading global brands, Cowan’s last position was identifying and reporting on trends for the WGSN lifestyle & interior team. Prior to that she was Group Creative Director for a lifestyle design group which included brands Perch & Parrow, Gallery Direct and Endon Lighting.
 
Her previous roles include head of design for Home Retail Group (Sainsbury’s/ Argos/ Homebase) and senior designer for Next.
 
The head of design will report into executive managing director of Wilko retail, Andrew Moore. Commenting on the appointment, Moore said; “Putting great product at great prices at the centre of everything we do continues to be key to our strategic vision for growth and we’re committed to working harder and faster to deliver even more, desirable products, specifically for them.
 
“Alexei’s appointment will enable us to establish a stronger, more intuitive product focus through improving our customer offer based on insight and substantially reducing development lead times.”
 
Speaking about her new appointment, Cowan said: “I couldn’t be more excited to be joining wilko. There is a lot of love out there for wilko brand products and launching customer focused, innovative new products that simply help is my passion.”
Byron has updated its visual identity, restaurant design and food and drinks offerings as part of a company-wide rebrand.
 
The 12-year-old burger chain has struggled in recent years, owing to nationwide restaurant closures and a decline in popularity among diners.
 
In 2018, it announced plans to close as many as 20 stores. This year, it reported a fall in earnings from £4.7m to £500,000.
 
As part of this overhaul, Byron revealed an updated logo based on its new ethos: ‘All Hail The Table’.
 
It was created in response to this year’s Wellbeing Index, which reported that almost a third of British adults are eating alone “most or all the time”.
 
Byron’s site redesign builds on the idea of coming together to dine. At the chain’s original site in High Street Kensington, communal tables have been installed along with “social spaces for brunches”.
 
As well as an emphasis on group dining, there is also a focus on productivity in the redesigned space with “ambient sofas for laptop workers and working lunches”.
 
Byron will be updating their remaining restaurants across the country throughout 2020.
 
The restaurant’s menu has been revamped by the restaurant’s recently appointed food and drink director, Sophie Michell.
 
The restaurant is also trying to appeal to vegetarian customers with options like the veggie butty which uses grilled halloumi instead of meat, as well as targeting health-conscious diners with its new superfood grain salad.
 
Michell says that she hopes the menu will “breathe a new lease of life into” the brand: “It is so exciting to be witnessing a new era for Byron.”
The business behind a range of cold-pressed sauces, dressings and dips has smashed its £150,000 crowdfunding target.
 
Tanya's Just Real sauces are gluten and dairy-free and flavours include Fiery Fiasco, Teriyaki Malarkey and Smokey Cokey.
 
The business is planning a rebrand and relaunch into retail and wholesale in 2020 and turned to Seedrs to raise £150,000.
 
At the time of writing, Tanya's Just Real had secured 102 per cent of its target.
 
The funding injection will support working capital, as well as marketing, new product development and the launch of a mental health campaign.
 
Tanya founded the company after struggling to find products which would help her create quick and healthy meals for her young family. Badged as ‘cooking from scratch in a bottle’, the cold-pressed natural sauces made from fresh herbs, fruit and vegetables are aimed at time-poor cooks looking for healthy and convenient ways to create great-tasting and nutritious food.
 
The range can be used hot or cold and comprises Fiery Fiasco, Smokey Cokey, Teriyaki Malarkey, Beetroot Cahoot, Cucumber Blunder and new addition, Minted Mayhem. Naturally vegan, the range has no added salt, sugar or anything artificial and is also gluten and dairy free. A new dip range is planned for an autumn 2020 launch in retail and additional NPD in development for 2021.
 
Key members of the Saucy Affair team include former Tesco Trading Director Sean McCurley and an experienced marketing team including Armando Pereira and Lucy Howe, integrated communications agency, Pier and global brand specialist 1HQ. Together, the team will undertake a heavyweight integrated marketing campaign to drive the growth strategy, educating consumers and driving trial using advertising, PR, social media, sampling and in-store activation.
Parcel delivery and logistics business DX Group has reported a "stepped improvement" in trading during the first four months of its financial year.
 
The business held its Annual General Meeting last week when chairman Ron Series gave an upbeat update and said the improved performance reflected structural organisational and operational changes made at DX Express and DX Freight over the last 18 months, and "in particular the continuing performance improvement at DX Freight".
 
He added: "Management's attention is now focused on sales and operational improvements across all areas of activity with the group's ongoing transformation being supported by a major £10m investment programme covering IT systems, mechanisation, and site improvements.
 
"DX's trading is seasonally weighted towards the second half of the financial year, and taking this into account, the board believes that the group is well-positioned for continuing progress and to meet its targets for the current financial year."
‘Maritime malt’ Old Pulteney has launched a US campaign in collaboration with Sustainable Surf, a California-based non-profit organisation which seeks to protect the seas by shifting people to a low-carbon, sustainable lifestyle.
 
Sustainable Surf’s story represents the first installation of the Wick-based Scotch distillery’s Rise with Tide campaign, which highlights its coastal roots with inspirational stories of people whose lives are shaped by the sea.
 
“The sea has presented incredible opportunities for so many in many different ways,” said Pulteney distillery manager Malcolm Waring. “Rise with the Tide is about sharing these stories and to provide a platform for those using the sea’s power to do good – like Sustainable Surf.”
 
Sustainable Surf was founded in 2011 by Michael Stewart and Kevin Whilden to unlock the potential of the global surfing community, encouraging its members to become leaders in protecting ocean health and creating a sustainable future. Their story is told in a Rise with the Tide ‘Sustainable Surf’ episode (see below).
 
“We’re stoked to be collaborating with Old Pulteney to have this platform for sharing our story,” Stewart said. “Similar to our friends at Old Pulteney, we know rewards are gained with patience and dedication. They wait 12, 15 or even 18 years to enjoy the fruits of their labour, and, much like them, we’ve dedicated ourselves to the long-term process of ensuring that future generations can enjoy healthy oceans, too.”
 
Separately, Old Pulteney has also launched in the US its updated range of whiskies with new releases of a non-aged, smoky Huddart, a 15-year-old and an 18-year old, both 46% ABV. The Huddart, also at ABV 46%, was finished in casks that once held peated whisky. All three are made and aged at Old Pulteney’s distillery on the Caithness North Sea coastline.

Profit has more than tripled at stock exchange listed firm Ince, the practice created when Gordon Dadds acquired Ince & Co last year, in spite of "buffeting political headwinds".
 
According to the firm’s unaudited interim results for the six months to 30 September 2019, adjusted profit before tax grew by 264% compared with last year, from £1.1m to £4m. Revenue also more than doubled, rising from £20.1m to £45.3m.
 
Adrian Biles, group chief executive, said: "These strong results are a vindication of our strategy. They are the product of the new international platform we have developed under the Ince brand. We remain on track to deliver c.£100m of annualised revenue in the current financial year, even with political headwinds buffeting some key markets across the globe.
 
"The second half of the year traditionally provides the majority of the group’s profits and the lateral appointments we have made will largely show through next year."
 
Gordon Dadds bought the City practice Ince & Co last December for £27.3m. Ince Gordon Dadds then rebranded as Ince in May following an internal review. In July Ince published upbeat annual results – reporting huge increases in profit and revenue – but revealed it had to spend £14.3m to take over the Ince business at the start of 2019, resulting in net borrowings of £2.9m
 
In an effort to broaden its legal and professional offerings, Ince has also hired a new head of global consulting. Mark Tantam, a barrister and former partner at Deloitte, will expand the services available to
London-based antipodean restaurant group Daisy Green is to open its second City location next month in Barbican.
 
Located within the remains of St Alphage Church on London Wall Place, Barbie Green will combine the brand’s signature Australian brunch menu with a new pizza offering.
 
The 40-cover site will feature with four ‘Barbican meets Bondi-inspired’ artworks by artist and printmaker Bonnie & Clyde, and have an expansive terrace area.
 
“After a record year of trading, we’re delighted to round out 2019 with a stunning new site in the City, taking us back to 2012 where we started selling our coffee outside The Gherkin building,” says Prue Freeman, founder and director of the Daisy Green Collection.
 
“Our uniquely Australian all-day offering is continuing to defy the well-documented challenges facing the hospitality industry, as Londoners discover, embrace and support their local Daisy Green café more than ever.”
 
The group was founded in 2012 by Freeman and her husband Tom Onions, and began life as a street food trader serving coffee and frozen yoghurt at markets and festivals.
 
Daisy Green currently operates 10 sites across London, including a floating barge restaurant in Paddington.
 
Last year the group crowdfunded more than £2m to open new sites, with a view to growing to at least 17 locations within four years.
Private rental housing company Grainger has reported a year of “exceptional growth and strong performance” featuring increases in rental income and pre-tax profit.
 
Net rental income for the year to 30 September 2019 surged to £63.5m, a 45% increase from £43.8m in 2018. Pre-tax profit also jumped to £131.3m, up from £100.7m and an increase of 30% over the previous year.
 
The company doubled the size of its PRS portfolio, with the £2.6bn residential portfolio and £2bn PRS pipeline being ahead of the firm's 2020 target. This was helped by the acquisition of the £700m GRIP portfolio, which comprises of 1,700 PRS homes.
 
"Our strong financial performance and the growth in net rental income underpins the proposed increase in our final dividend to shareholders, which will bring dividend per share for the year to 5.19p per share, up 9 per cent," said chief executive Helen Gordon.
 
"We continue to successfully secure long-term partnerships, aligned to our PRS strategy, most recently with TfL and Lewisham Borough Council. These partnerships will support Grainger's long-term strategy.
 
"I am also pleased to report a strong set of ESG benchmark results, which reflects our commitment to securing the long-term sustainability of our business. Building on this success, today we set out four long-term ESG commitments, which will secure the future sustainability of the business and support resilient rental growth, including our aspiration to transition our operational portfolio to net zero carbon by 2030."
 
Established in Newcastle in 1912, Grainger is a residential landlord, specialising in the build to rent and private rented sectors (PRS).

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