The week in marketing

- Country Life ad push

Country Life has launched its latest TV ad starring Sex Pistols frontman John Lydon as it aims to increase market share and brand awareness. The butter brand returns to TV this month with a continuation of its 'Great British Butter' drive, by Grey London. After Lydon's first appearance in its ads this year, Country Life overtook Anchor in value share for the first time, peaking at 7.6%, according to Nielsen.

- Very signs presenters

Online retailer Very.co.uk has hired presenters Holly Willoughby and Fearne Cotton to front a major TV campaign in the build-up to Christmas. The site will also feature clothing lines developed by the two presenters. The TV drive, which broke this week, is the first major work for Very by ad agency VCCP since it was appointed to the account this year.

- Marmite gifts it

Unilever has launched a range of Marmite gifts for the Christmas season, which will feature in Robert Dyas' Christmas gift guide. The range includes a teapot, and egg cup, toast rack and mug gift sets. In the summer, Unilever produced a limited-edition range of cricket ball-shaped jars of Marmite, flavoured with Marston's ale.

- Carling in island ad

Molson Coors has rolled out a fresh TV execution for lager brand Carling. The latest ad in the 'You know who your mates are' series shows three shipwrecked friends choosing to miss the chance of rescue after two years because the fourth member of the group is not on the beach with them. When the missing man reappears, full of pride at having found yet another coconut on the island, his friends laugh and start waiting for the next boat. The ad, which broke this week, was created by Beattie McGuinness Bungay.

- Visa in Olympic drive

Visa launched its first campaign backing its sponsor-ship of the London 2012 Olympics this week. The national radio, outdoor, press and digital push, by Publicis, gives consumers the chance to win a Visa pre-paid card containing £2012 of credit. A daily prize draw will take place over a six- week period in the build-up to Christmas. Ads feature shopping baskets alongside equipment used for Olympic events, rather than any of the athletes available through the financial-services brand's Team 2012 sponsorship arrangement.

- Brother seeks agency

Brother, the printer manufacturer, is looking for an advertising agency to handle a specific product launch in 2010. The company is working with the AAR to identify an agency to develop a pan-European media-neutral campaign. Antony Peart, advertising and communications manager for Brother International Europe, said the review would not affect any existing agency relationships.

- BBC slashes salaries

The BBC Trust has agreed to cut the broadcaster's senior managers' pay by 25% and reduce the total number of senior managers by 18% over the next three years. This could potentially affect every department of the BBC, including its marketing team, which employs hundreds of people. As part of the changes, Sharon Baylay, the BBC's director of marketing, will have her pay frozen.

Jeremy Lee on media at marketingmagazine.co.uk

- Wasps' saintly match

Rugby union team London Wasps will celebrate England's patron saint by hosting a St George's Day Game on 24 April 2010 at Twickenham Stadium. The match, to be played against Bath, will raise funds for Help for Heroes, the armed forces charity. The club has hired Bamboo Marketing Communications to source sponsors for the game.

Ed Kemp on sports at marketingmagazine.co.uk

- Weetabix digital work

Weetabix has appointed Altogether Digital to its digital ad account. Altogether won the account from the incumbent, The Together Agency, following a pitch. It will now work alongside Weetabix's ad agency, WCRS, to redesign the brand's website and develop strategies for the Oatibix, Weetabix Minis, Weetos and Alpen brands. Altoge-ther and WCRS are part of The Engine Group.

- Met Office online ads

The Met Office is accepting ads on its website for the first time. It said that the additional revenue stream will allow the government to invest more in the service provided on the website. The first brand to advertise is Best Western, the biggest group of independently owned hotels in the UK.

- LG in £3m TV drive

LG Electronics has launched a £3m ad campaign for its LED TV range, the SL9000. The campaign, by RKCR\Y&R, uses the strapline 'Welcome to seamless entertainment' and high-lights the Bluetooth and LED technologies available on high-end LG TVs. The TV execution shows a swimming baby while a voiceover states: 'The day we are born is the last day we are free.' The ad goes on to claim that consumers can be 'free' again by using wireless technology.

Watch the ad at marketingmagazine.co.uk

- Nissan benchmarks

TBWA\ has asked us to point out that Nissan Motors GB is not seeking to pitch its retail business, but is conducting a benchmarking exercise that has meant it contacting several agencies through Creative Brief. We are happy to make this clarification.

Marketing has teamed up with the Carbon Trust to launch a website focused on carbon reduction. Decarbonising The Brand helps marketers to reduce their carbon footprint by providing advice, information and case studies. To learn more about reducing your company's emissions visit www.decarbonisingthebrand.com

TOP CHRISTMAS TOYS REVEALED

The Toy Retailers Association has unveiled its list of top toys for this Christmas.

The list includes modern versions of old favourites such as Lego and Monopoly.

Transformers action toys are also set to sell well following the success of the film Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen at the box office.

Not surprisingly, the association says that toys costing less than £50 will be particularly popular this year. The average price in this year's top 12 list is £26, about £6 less than for Christmas 2007.

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