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CES 2019: Car maker Audi has launched an in-car VR entertainment system that allows passengers to use virtual reality technology to interact with movies, video games, and more.

The technology requires virtual reality glasses, and “adopts virtual content to the movements of a vehicle in real time”. For example, if the car takes a right turn, a ship or plane in the virtual experience will do the same.
 
The technology was created when Audi’s subsidiary, Audi Electronics Venture GmbH, launched a new start-up company, named holoride GmbH. The start-up intends to commercialize this new virtual content technology via an open platform, eventually becoming available to all car makers and content developers.
 
“Creative minds will use our platform to come up with fascinating worlds that turn the journey from A to B into a real adventure,” said Nils Wollny, head of digital business at Audi, and future chief executive officer of holoride. “We can only develop this new entertainment segment by adopting a cooperative, open approach for vehicle, device and content producers.”
 
Audi is demonstrating the tech at CES, partnering with “Marvel’s Avengers: Rocket’s Rescue Run,” which was created by Disney Games and Interactive Experiences. Wearing VR glasses, backseat passengers in the Audi e-tron will be launched into outer space aboard a rocket ship manned by characters from Guardians of the Galaxy. The game’s journey is led by Rocket, who will be appearing in Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Endgame later this year. The rocket ship will then mimic the exact movements of the car, including turning, stopping, slowing, and accelerating.
 
Audi plans to use holoride to launch new forms of virtual entertainment within the next three years, all using VR glasses for passengers in the backseat. Eventually, Audi aims to integrate all five senses into the holoride software for a more immersive experience. The company also states that since the visual experience from the glasses is synched with the user’s movements, motional sickness will be significantly reduced.
 
Audi and Marvel Studios first partnered in 2008, when an Audi R8 appeared in Iron Man. Since then, Audi and the Marvel Universe have been working together to integrate the Marvel Cinematic Universe into Audi’s technology.
 
“Audi, Marvel and Disney Games and Interactive Experiences are celebrating Marvel Studios’ 10th anniversary with an Avengers experience that combines world class content and innovative technology,” said Mike Goslin, vice president, Disney Games and Interactive Experiences. “While this CES demo was developed purely in the spirit of exploration and experimentation, we are constantly evaluating emerging technologies to enhance our stories and experiences.”

Peugeot UK has appointed Steven Wass as its UK marketing director following the departure of Martin Moll.
 
Wass brings 20 years of motor industry experience, with many of those years spent at Groupe PSA. More recently, he was commercial director at Robins & Day and Go Vauxhall.
 
His experience includes a variety of head office, field based and dealership roles. From 2010 to 2013 he was head of used vehicles for Peugeot Citroen UK, and aftersales director from 2016 to 2018.
 
Peugeot UK’s managing director, David Peel, said: “His experience within Groupe PSA includes key roles in vehicle sales, marketing and aftersales. Steven has also worked for a number of years in Dealerships with experience in varied departments, delivering record-breaking results in one of the UK’s largest Dealers.
 
“He knows our cars, our dealers and most importantly our customers. Steven brings a broad commercial understanding of how our business operates and we look forward to seeing his drive and vision continue to move Peugeot forwards.”
 
Wass said: “I am delighted to be taking on this role within the Peugeot marketing team and look forward to the excellent opportunities ahead. I cannot wait to get involved and to help ensure the brand’s continued success.”
Toy giant Mattel has confirmed  via Twitter that they have united with South Korean pop phenomenon BTS and their label Big Hit Entertainment to release a line of official dolls.
 
Though other details remain scarce, Mattel’s tweets confirmed that the dolls will be sold “at retailers globally”
 
In October last year, BTS broke merchandise sales records at London’s O2 Arena that had previously been held by The Rolling Stones since 2012.
 
When BTS revealed their two shows at The O2, the venue's Twitter announcement received over 14,000 retweets and 32,000 likes, creating 949,304 impressions. It was the most popular announcement the venue has ever had..
Fast food delivery service Deliveroo has begun to put in place a team to help realise the company’s expansion plans.
 
The company has created a new Chief Marketing Officer role and announced that former hair and beauty booker Treatwell’s marketing boss Inés Ures has been appointed.
 
She is tasked with helping the company both grow in existing markets and enter new ones.
 
Deliveroo’s service is currently available in 13 countries, having recently launched in Taiwan, with plans for expansion this year. As CMO, Ures will be expected to help scale marketing operations and communication as the company grows and broaden its presence in existing markets by expanding beyond major cities.
 
Ures says: “Joining Deliveroo is an incredibly exciting opportunity. This is an ambitious company with a unique opportunity ahead of it and I want to play a role in making Deliveroo the definitive food company. I’m looking forward to throwing myself in to making sure that whenever you’re hungry, Deliveroo will be there for you.”
 
Deliveroo has been growing quickly, with sales up 116% to £277m in 2017, and boasts a large network of 50,000 riders and restaurants across the world. However, it is facing mounting competition in the space from rivals such as Just Eat and UberEats.
 
To counter that, it has upped its focus on marketing, launching its first global ad campaign, ‘Eat more amazing’, last year.
 
Ures will replace Jamie Swango, currently global marketing director at Deliveroo, as the company’s top marketer. However, Swango’s role remains in place and she will continue to work at the company.
 
The company adds: “We are delighted Inés is joining the team. She has a great track record and will make an excellent contribution at a time when the company is growing, building our offer to riders, restaurants and consumers. We want to bring more customers amazing food, whenever and wherever they are, and we know she will help us do just that.”
Pepsi has launched a new global marketing platform spanning more than 100 countries as it looks to “celebrate the pop and fizz of the cola like never before”.
 
Called For The Love Of It, the campaign sees Pepsi join forces with music industry manager Simon Fuller on his latest venture Now United, a new pop concept with 14 singers and dancers from as many countries.
 
The group will record a refreshed Pepsi jingle while the brand will develop experiences and content targeted at Now United fans as the group embarks on a world tour. 
 
Throughout 2019, the For The Love Of It visual identity and jingle will be brought to life through design-led packaging, out-of-home artwork as well as commercials and digital content distinct to each of the brand’s offerings.
 
In a statement, Pepsi said: “For decades music has been at the core of the Pepsi brand and For The Love Of It aims to continue this legacy and inspire today’s music generation to live their passion.”
 
 
 
Roberto Rios, senior vice president, marketing, global beverage group, PepsiCo, said: “We are confidently celebrating who we are – an iconic brand rooted in entertainment with a refreshing and delicious beverage people around the world love – as well as who our fellow cola lovers are.
 
“For The Love Of It is our rallying cry, proudly saying to go all in for the things you love – from passions and interests like football and music, to unabashedly enjoying one of life’s favourite treats – Pepsi.”
 
Simon Fuller added: “Pepsi has a unique track record in supporting new music talent, as they did when we first worked together on Spice Girls and are doing again with Now United. Their For The Love Of It campaign reflects so many of the positive values which are present in Now United and I know they will inspire and enable the group and their global fan base to embrace their passions like never before.”
 
The latest campaign follows on from Pepsi Generations which was launched last year and focused on the brand’s pop culture history through advertising and featured a limited-edition packaging redesign.

Hotel chain Britannia Hotels has chosen Click Consult to deliver its paid search (PPC) strategies, following a competitive pitch process.
 
Founded in 1976, the chain is the UK's largest private hotel group with revenue growing by 11% to £93.4m in 2017, but it has also attracted negative press coverage and was ranked bottom in the latest Which? Travel survey. 
 
“After a rigorous selection process, Click Consult came out on top as the search agency with the strongest record, smartest people and unrivalled professionalism,” said Britannia’s Marketing Manager, Conor Georgiou.
 
“We are excited to start working with Click Consult and look forward to the specialist search knowledge they will bring to our paid search strategy.”
 
Click Consult’s CEO Matt Bullas added: “We’re delighted to be partnering with Britannia Hotels to enhance their online presence and visibility even further.
 
“Click has a proven ability to deliver clear, demonstrable results across a spectrum of search marketing services and we were among the first in the UK to offer a dedicated PPC service. Our recent award at the for our work with Julian Charles is testament to this. From a hugely competitive shortlist we were pleased to pick up the top honour in the Best Retail category.”
Online fashion brand Sosandar PLC has reported a 219% increase in revenue to £1.6m for the three months ended December 2018.
 
This is higher than the company's revenue for the entire previous financial year and was driven by a surge in repeat orders and continued new customer acquisition.
 
The company expects revenue for the full year to be slightly ahead of current market expectations, though net loss is expected to be in line with expectation.
 
Joint CEOs Ali Hall and Julie Lavington founded the company as a “one stop fashion shop” for women. In a joint statement, they said: "We are pleased to be reporting another period of substantial growth over the key trading months to 31 December driven by strong full price sales and high sell through rates, combined with a successful seasonal sale at the end of period."
 
Gross margin for the quarter was 53.3%, customer database increased 209% to nearly 100,000, conversion rate increased to 3.47%, average order value increased 10% to £105.58, repeat orders increased 527% to over 20,000 and number of orders increased 221% to 35,183.
Philip Morris International - which makes Marlboro and several other leading brands - has vowed to phase out cigarettes and move into smoke-free products instead.
 
It's spent £3.5bn on science and technology so far, clocking up more than 3,000 patents, with another 5,000 pending.
 
The current focus is on IQOS, an electric device that heats, rather than burns tobacco.
 
The cooler temperature lowers levels of 15 noxious chemicals found in cigarette smoke by 95%, according to the company's research.
 
That doesn't mean it reduces the risk of smoking-related diseases. Those studies haven't been done, though blood tests suggest there is a less damaging impact on the body. Nor have there been head-to-head comparisons with vaping.
 
The aerosol from heating nicotine liquid has even lower levels of toxic compounds. And while medical authorities endorse vaping as an alternative to smoking, they are so far sniffy about heated tobacco.
 
Public Health England says there just isn't enough independent research to recommend it to smokers as a way of reducing risk.
 
Tobacco killed 100 million people in the 20th Century and for decades the industry denied there was a risk from smoking.
 
According to anti-tobacco campaigners it even covered up evidence that nicotine was addictive.
 
There may be another motive for Philip Morris's shift away from cigarettes.
 
Smokers in most industrialised nations are already making the same transition. In the UK fewer than 15% of adults now smoke, compared to 21% a decade ago. They're either quitting altogether, or they're vaping.
 
So this could be a shrewd move by the company to give smokers a reason to stick with tobacco in some form.
 
The biggest test is what Philip Morris does in low and middle income countries, where most smokers live and where it continues to make huge profits from its cigarettes.
UK supermarkets made close to £8 million from sales of non-alcoholic beer over the Christmas period, according to new figures.
 
Supermarkets posted record sales of £29.3 billion the 12 weeks to the end of December 2018, according to the latest market report from analyst Kantar Worldpanel, alongside a notable spike in low and no ABV drinks. Non alcoholic beer, in particular, earned supermarkets an £7.6 million over the festive season.
 
Sales of non-alcoholic and low alcohol beer rose by 38% in 2018 compared to the previous year, according to Kantar. Sales rose £2.1 million compared to the same 12 week period last year.
 
A significant number of UK breweries have invested in their low alcohol ranges in the past year to keep up with the demand for zero ABV drinks. Moving annual total of No-and-low ABV products has risen by 24.4% in volume and by 29.6% in value in two years – by 22.7% and 24.3 % respectively in the past year, according to CGA.
 
Most recently, Greene King launched a low alcohol version of its Old Speckled Hen beer. The drink is brewed with Pale and Crystal malts alongside Challenger, First Gold and Goldings hops, and “faithfully delivers flavour characteristics reminiscent of the 5.0% ABV bottled beer,” according to the brewer. Heineken, meanwhile, won a gold award in the drinks business’ 2018 Beer Masters for its updated 0.0% ABV lager.
 
Over 50% of Brits who took part in a OnePoll survey last year said they have at least tried a non-alcoholic drink, while 52% also agreed that no-alcohol beer has become more socially acceptable in the past two years.
 
Asda was the biggest earner of the Big Four grocers over the festive period, recording growth of 0.7%, while Lidl and Aldi held their largest collective market share over of 12.8%, with two thirds of households shopping at the challenger stores this Christmas.
 
Sainsbury’s market share dropped by 0.3 percentage points as sales fell by 0.4%. The Co-Op, which recently announced it will spend £200 million to open 100 new stores this year, was the only supermarket to beat its 2017 growth-rate, with sales up to 3.2%. Tesco’s market share now stands at 27.8% – down 0.3 percentage points compared with this time last year.
 
The win for large retailers comes as high street stores continue to struggle in a challenging economic climate.
 
Perhaps unsurprisingly, sales premium own-label lines increased by 3.7% over the 12-week period – hitting a record £1.1 billion. Much of Lidl’s 9.4% sales growth came from its ‘Deluxe’ line, which saw sales jump by 33% over December.
 
“Although the grocers achieved record sales, overall spend was actually tempered by lower inflation of 1.3%,” analyst Fraser McKevit said.
 
“That’s less than half the level of like-for-like inflation of 3.6% which was recorded in Christmas 2017. This slower inflation rate helped shoppers to manage their festive budgets, with 60% of customers looking to make savvier decisions to make their money go further over the holidays.”
Business and current affairs publication The Economist has announced that for the first time in more than a decade it will launch a new brand TV ad that will run in high-reach broadcast channels across the US and UK.

The campaign includes a brand commercial and a direct response commercial that will work in tandem in the marketplace.
 
The campaign, entitled 'Never Stop Questioning,' evidences the value of continually questioning the world around us. The ads bring to life the universal truth that we learn by asking why, just as The Economist has always asked provocative questions to champion progress.
 
The ad follows the life of a young girl with a curious mind. We see how she started asking questions about the world around her from her earliest experiences with childhood toys and pets. Then, as she shifts into adolescence and adulthood, we see how her changing perceptions have made those questions deeper and more complex. She knows that she will never grow out of questioning everything around her. She has taken a role in life where she can demonstrate her curiosity and encourage it in others, and she has achieved personal and professional satisfaction.
 
The Economist has recently been present on TV, successfully utilising direct response ads to convert subscribers. The new brand TV ad bolsters The Economist's presence and will enable to The Economist to improve brand saliency measures and cement product affinity among its target audience, in addition to driving subscriptions
 
"We have made a strategic investment to talk with our target audience in a way that reinforces a more emotional connection to our brand," said Mark Cripps, Chief Marketing Officer for The Economist. "We have a loyal and dedicated readership that perceives great value from their relationship with The Economist and truly loves our brand. Our readers never stop questioning the world around them and we believe this campaign will attract a similar audience and encourage them to learn more about The Economist."
 
The Economist describes its target audience as the invested globally curious, who are defined by six attitudes and behaviours, whilst also having shown a keen interest in the editorial content that sits at the very heart of The Economist's offering. Growth is driven by the highly-efficient targeting of individuals who fit the audience description, enabling The Economist to then deliver the most engaged audience to its clients and advertisers.
 
'Never Stop Questioning' and the direct response ad will be supported with a robust media plan. In the UK the ads will run on channels including Sky, Channel 4, ITV and Channel Five; and in the US on channels including CBS, NBC, Fox, ABC and News 12. In both the UK and the US there will be a focus on high-reach programming, balancing reach and frequency.
 
After a lengthy agency search, The Economist landed on the 'Never Stop Questioning' concept which was developed by Proximity London, which has been on The Economist's agency roster for several years.


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