Marketing Matters Nov/Dec 2016 ISSUE 53. Thank you for your continued support, you can find more articles on

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The offices of one of Japan's biggest ad agencies have been raided after a young woman committed suicide due to karoshi (chronic overwork).

Ad firm Dentsu is being investigated on suspicion of systematic illegal overtime. The 24-year old, Matsuri Takahashi, was working 100 hours overtime a month when she killed herself last December.

In 2014 around 70 people a day committed suicide in Japan.


Directors who put their companies into liquidation to avoid fines for making nuisance calls from the Information Commissioner (IC), and then start up again under a new company name are to be targeted with new laws making them personally responsible, rather than their company.

The change has been driven by the revelation, by the Which? consumer group, that out of 22 fines imposed by the IC on companies only four had been paid in full and two in part, with a proportion of firms owing fines simply liquidating and re-starting to avoid payment.

The new laws will be effective from April 2017 and will allow the IC to fine the directors rather than the company, with penalties up to £500,000.


A complaint from Virgin Media that ads selling BT's Infinity broadband were misleading has been upheld by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

The ads, on TV, in the national press and on the BT website claimed that the BT product was the fastest around for the price.

Since the ruling the ASA has revealed that in its own research more than 80% of consumers were unable to work out their total monthly cost from ads for broadband and has banned companies from separating out line rental charges and playing down contract lengths and compulsory up-front costs such as delivery fees, activation fees and installation fees.


The copyright protection period has been increased from 25 to 70 years after a designer dies by the Intellectual Property Office (IPO).

This applies to any artistic work for which more than 50 copies have been produced.

Companies using designs and artworks for which the 25 years have expired, but not the 70 years could find themselves in breach of copyright. These companies have until January 28 2017 to comply, after which time the copyright holders will be able to take legal action against them.


One company that was very keen on staying in the EU, and advised all its employees to vote to stay in the referendum, is Unilever.

The firm makes Marmite, Hellmans mayonnaise, Ben and Jerry's ice-cream and the Pot Noodles gourmet treat, and has increased prices on many lines, blaming the Brexit vote and the subsequent fall in value of the pound. This is despite many products being made in the UK, a fact pointed out by Tesco, which won plaudits for being on the side of the British shopper.

Also blaming Brexit for price rises is Walkers, whose crisps are made in Leicester, from British spuds.

Meanwhile the much-loved triangular section Toblerone bar has gone from premium chocolate product to Swiss swiz overnight as a result of cutting down the number of chocolate "alps" in each bar, to reduce the weight by 10% or more and keep the price the same. US owners Mondelez, formerly Kraft which also owns Cadbury, say that the product shrinkage is due to the increased cost of raw ingredients, although it only applies to Toblerones sold in Britain.


Phone giant Vodaphone has been fined a giant £4.6 million after it failed to credit 10,000 customers who had paid for top-ups, and then handled their complaints badly. The fine is the largest ever imposed on a telecoms company.

And equally large phone firm Samsung has revealed that the withdrawal of its Galaxy Note7 phone due to a battery defect causing it to catch fire or explode is likely to cost it nearly £2 billion in lost profits. The South Korean company is also being sued for compensation by hundreds of its customers.


German car makers Volkswagen are set to add to their £15.5 billion bill for emission rigging after it emerged that its Audi luxury brand cars could also be similarly rigged to pass emission tests.

And Japanese car makers Toyota are recalling 340,000 Prius vehicles over faulty brakes after reports of crashes, injuries and deaths were received. The problem affects cars manufactured and sold in the last 14 months.


Company cars could be a perk of the past, if government plans to increase taxation for employees awarded them are implemented.

Employees paying tax at 40% could face a tax bill of more than £5,000 over the three year company car contract. More than 300,000 employees could be adversely affected.

HMRC are concerned that the company car is being used by employers to pay less salary, depriving the Treasury of tax revenue.


Gambling firms are getting around restrictions on TV advertising to children by targeting them on social media, a study has found.

Researchers at the University of London warn that around 80% of teenagers are now gambling, with up to 15% of them in danger of addiction. The ads, on Facebook and Twitter, commonly offer free bets to draw gamblers in.


Childhood obesity is being fuelled by TV advertising of sugary breakfast cereals, a study by researchers at Dartmouth University in the US has found.

Children watching 20 TV advertisements a week consumed 30% more sugary cereals, which commonly contain one third sugar, than those who didn't watch any.


An ad that exploited some women's insecurities about their figures has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

The ad, from weight loss firm Diet Chef showed a woman looking at her slimmer self two months after starting on the plan and asking "Why did we wait so long".

The ASA agreed that the ad implied that slimness and beauty were essential to happiness.



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Directory for discounts, special offers and free services.

For the suppliers this will be a low-cost proposition of a total £85 for up to 100 words of text published in six issues over twelve months, which can include details of the venue/product, the discount offered and contact details. Suppliers that are also charities can have this flagged up and can book for £65. 



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The views of the editor are not necessarily those of the publishers.

Peter Cotterell
Tel: 01767 312986

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