Google, Unilever and Uber: Everything that matters this morning – Marketing Week


Google under fire as Sky and Vodafone pull ads

Media giant Sky and telecoms company Vodafone have joined the growing list of brands pulling spend from Google over fears their advertising is being used to fund hate.

Over the weekend banks HSBC, Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) also suspended spending on the search platform due to concerns their adverts were being placed next to content created by hate preachers and extremists.

The growing list of high profile brands to pull ad spent from Google includes McDonald’s, L’Oreal, Audi, the BBC, Sainsbury’s and Argos. Tesco is also thought to have “paused” spending on YouTube.

They join Havas, whose clients include O2 and Royal Mail, which on Friday became the first major global marketing company to pull all its entire ad spend from Google and YouTube.

READ MORE: Google braces for questions as more big-name firms pull adverts

Unilever plots £6bn sale of spreads after Kraft Heinz collapse

Unilever is exploring the £6bn sale of its spreads business in a bid to calm shareholder pressure following the failed $143bn (£115bn) takeover bid by Kraft Heinz.

The cost-cutting and restructuring plans could see the sale of brands including Flora, Stork and I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, which make up part of the margarine and spreads business moved into a subsidiary in December 2014.

Next month Unilever will release the results of a strategic review aimed at “improving investor returns”. The Anglo-Dutch FMCG giant promised to shake up its business to “capture the value in Unilever” after successfully evading the merger bid from US rival Kraft Heinz in February.

READ MORE: Unilever is exploring a £6bn sale of spreads brands such as Flora and Stork after Kraft Heinz deal collapse

Uber president steps down after six months in role

Uber president Jeff Jones has unexpectedly stepped down after just six months in the role.

According to the BBC, Jones was frustrated at not being considered for the new chief operating officer role, although he is also thought to have been facing pressure over issues around Uber’s alleged culture of sexism and sexual harassment.

The creation of the chief operation officer is important, as BBC sources at the company report Uber chief executive Travis Kalanick is likely to step down soon after the new COO is in place.

READ MORE: Uber president Jeff Jones steps down

Next annual pre-tax profits expected to slide 4%

Retailer Next is expected to post a 4% drop in annual pre-tax profits this week as consumers continue to shift spend away from clothing and footwear.

Profits are expected to fall from £821.3m in 2016 to £792m, as the retailer continues to grapple with declining sales and the pressures of the falling pound following the Brexit vote.

Chief executive and pro-Brexit campaigner, Lord Wolfson, has already proposed a 5% price hike to offset the currency issues. Speaking at a trading update in January, Wolfson forecast 2017 would be “even tougher” for the retailer, predicting profits in 2018 to be between £680m and £780m.

READ MORE: Next poised to report fall in full-year profits amid plunging pound

YouTube accused of having “anti-LGBT” bias

YouTube has been accused of having an “anti-LGBT” bias after it was found to be filtering  out videos about same-sex relationships under its restricted mode.

Members of the LGBT vlogging community accused the video platform of discrimination after finding their videos were being hidden, taking to Twitter in their frustration with the hashtag #YouTubeIsOverParty. One British vlogger complained over 40 of her videos had been “made invisible”.

The restricted mode can be turned on to automatically filter “potentially inappropriate” content, which according to Google, is identified by “community flagging, age restrictions and other signals”.

YouTube responded on Sunday in a statement, saying the restricted mode is intended to filter out “mature content” and while LGBTQ+ videos are available in the restricted mode, videos that discuss “sensitive issues” may not be visible.

READ MORE: LGBT community anger over Youtube restrictions which make their videos invisible