The week in marketing: 16 September 2008

LONDON - A roundup of this week's important news stories.

NME offers Oasis preview

Oasis is giving its fans the chance to perform tracks from its upcoming album, Dig Out Your Soul, for them-selves by releasing its sheet music and lyrics ahead of the launch.

The music will be available with this week's issue of music magazine NME from 17 September, and is supported by the Arts Council and Big Brother Recordings.

Three tracks will be available - Bag It Up, The Turning and (Get Off Your) High Horse Lady.

Fans will then be able to record their own versions of the songs and upload them to a dedicated microsite at

The NME issue will also carry a free CD-ROM with bonus content such as album artwork and behind-the-scenes photography.

Thorntons' sales hike

Thorntons, the chocolatier, has attributed a profit increase of almost 20% to new products and revamped stores. It reported a 19.6% rise to £8.5m for the year to the end of June. Earlier this year, the high--street chain introduced a fresh shop concept that put 'treat and indulgence' at the heart of the brand. It also reworked packaging and in-store communications.

Adidas' sports zones

Sportswear giant Adidas will spend £1m on five multisport outdoor venues in East Lon-don as part of its sponsorship of the London 2012 Olympic Games. Each 'adiZone' will be constructed in one of the host boroughs - Tower Hamlets, Greenwich, Hackney, Newham and Waltham Forest. Olympic 400m gold-medallist Christine Ohuruogu attended the open-ing of the Tower Hamlets venue last week.

Volvo rolls out DRIVe

Volvo has announced it is to launch a green sub-brand called DRIVe. The range, to be unveiled at next month's Paris Motor Show, will comprise vehicles emitting less than 120g/km of CO2. Although branded as Volvos, the models will feature a DRIVe emblem. News of the launch follows rumours that Peugeot is to revive its Talbot marque as a low-CO2 brand.

Mars Planets push

Mars is rolling out a £3.4m drive for its shareable Mars Planets Pouch. In a TV ad by Abbot Mead Vickers BBDO, viewers are shown a 'monotonous robotic world' based on an animation by French filmmakers Pierre and Bertrand. The discovery of Mars Planets causes a dance party, with music provided by DJ Mr Thing, formerly of hip-hop group Scratch Perverts.

Sony backs MOBOs

Sony Ericsson will sponsor this year's MOBO Awards Show, which will take place at Wembley Arena next month. As part of the deal, which includes category sponsorship of the Best Radio DJ award, MOBO will provide exclusive content to support the launch of a special-edition MOBO W910i Walkman handset. The partnership will be supported by a national ad, promotion and point-of-sale campaign that uses MOBO branding.

Post Office mobile plan

The Post Office is considering the launch of a mobile phone service in 2009, following its success in the broadband market. The company has acquired more than 500,000 broadband customers in the past 12 months, and is also said to be considering the launch of a scheme to help first-time buyers purchase computers.

Cobra's ginger beer

Cobra Beer has added a Fresh Ginger variant and revamped the packaging of its Cobra Bite range. The latest addition to the line will roll out exclusively in Tesco this week. The launch will be supported by sampling at Original Speed Dating events, digital ads and PR act-ivity. The product is also being sampled at London Fashion Week and The Times BFI 52nd London Film Festival.

InBev university deal

Drinks company InBev has signed a fresh distribution agreement with The University Catering Organisation to supply draught and packaged beer brands to student union bars across the UK. The deal follows reports that the National Union of Students and InBev had ended an extension to an existing distribution arrangement.

West Ham loses shirt

West Ham United FC is seeking a shirt sponsor to replace the incumbent XL Leisure Group, which has been put into administration. XL Group was the UK's third-biggest tour operator, and owned XL Airways, Aspire Holiday, Freedom Flights, The Really Great Holiday Company and Kosmar Villa Holidays.

Vodafone chief quits

Paul Donovan, chief executive of Vodafone's emerging markets division, has announced he is to leave in January. The exit of Donovan, tipped to become chief executive of Arsenal FC, follows an overhaul of several senior executive roles. The company says the departure is unrelated. Donovan's responsibilities will now be split across two positions; head of central Europe/Africa and head of Asia Pacific.

Sky axes sponsorship

Sky has handed back the £400,000 contributed by the Home Office to the making of its documentary series UK Border Force. It will continue to air the series, which sparked questions about the editorial independence of the programme due to its use of government funds.

Coke's White noise

Despite having penned a song for a Coca-Cola ad in 2006, US rocker Jack White has hit out at the brand for using his theme tune for the James Bond movie Quantum of Solace in a TV ad for Coke Zero. The Bond theme song is used to promote the temporary rebrand of Coke Zero to Coca-Cola Zero Zero 7.

Apple's Nano G4

Apple has unveiled the latest incarnation of its iPod Nano, which is available in nine colours and goes into shuffle mode when shaken. It is the thinnest Nano yet, and features Apple's 'Genius' playlist creator. Like the iPod Touch, the Nano flips on-screen images depending on the angle it is held at.

MTV in eco drive

MTV will use a global climate-change campaign to attack business-es it believes are engaging in 'green-wash'. The ads accuse firms of misleading consumers about their green credentials. One execution, created by 180 Amsterdam, features an animated character singing about being green.

Virgin's BA attack

Virgin Atlantic has claimed that British Airways and American Airlines are presenting inaccurate passenger data to make their market shares look smaller. Virgin Atlantic fears a tie between its rivals would create a 'monster monopoly'. The attack was made as Sir Richard Branson unveiled the first stage of a campaign against the tie-up. The slogan, 'No Way BA/AA', which will appear on Virgin Atlantic planes, was revealed at Heathrow Airport.

Disney soccer bid Walt Disney's president, Robert Iger, said that ESPN, the company's sports subsidiary, may bid for Premier League TV rights for a second time when they come up for auction in January 2009. BSkyB and Setanta Sports hold the rights until the end of the 2009/10 season.



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