Twitter, Uber, Heinz: Everything that matters this morning

Good morning and welcome to Marketing Week’s round-up of the news that matters in the marketing world today. Elon Musk is looking to pull out of his bid to buy Twitter for $44bn (£36bn), less than three months after first securing the deal.

In a letter filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Musk’s lawyer said Twitter has failed to provide requested data on the number of fake or spam accounts on the platform.

It’s a big week for returning shows across the streaming platforms. We have a Season 2, a Season 4, and a Season 9 revving up for release in the coming days, ranging from an A-list workplace comedy to a period-based awards favorite. There’s also a new series filled to the brim with creative talent, and some small movies from the past year that are just begging to be watched.

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Since 2014, Twitter has estimated that spam accounts equate to less than 5% of daily active users. However, last week Twitter confirmed it suspends more than 1 million spam accounts daily, double the number shared by CEO Parag Agrawal in May. This takes into account users removed before joining the platform for failing to pass human verification tests.

Musk has said he believes spam or bot accounts could account for as many as 20% of Twitter users.

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In a tweet, the platform’s chairman Bret Taylor said Twitter remains committed to closing the deal as originally agreed. The company plans to pursue legal action to enforce the agreement.

Uber broke laws and enlisted the help of politicians to aid its plans to disrupt the European taxi market, according to more than 124,000 confidential documents leaked to the Guardian.

The Uber Files include 83,000 emails and 1,000 other files spanning 2013 to 2017. They unveil a $90m-a-year lobbying and public relations effort to enlist the help of politicians, including now French president Emmanuel Macron and former EU digital commissioner Neelie Kroes.

Macron told Uber’s co-founder and former CEO Travis Kalanick he would reform taxi laws to the benefit of the business, even as more than 2,100 French taxi drivers protested against the firm in 2016. According to the files, Kalanick saw an opportunity to leverage violence towards Uber drivers during the protests to pressure governments to rewrite laws that limited Uber’s expansion plans, with little regard for the safety of the drivers at the time.

Meanwhile, Kroes is believed to have secretly lobbied top Dutch politicians for Uber before her term in the EU ended, in potential breach of the union’s ethics rules.

Kalanick also ordered the use of a kill switch in case of police raids on company computers, the files claim.

The former CEO was forced to step down in 2017 by shareholder pressure and replaced by Dara Khosrowshahi. Uber says Khosrowshahi has installed rigorous controls and compliance, adding that its past behaviour wasn’t in line with present values.

Cadbury is sponsoring one thousand Australians to serve as walking, talking advertisements for its Caramilk bar, explaining to Brits why the chocolate developed a cult following in Australia.

Aussies can sign up via a dedicated website and will be decked out in Caramilk merchandise, bearing the message: ‘It’s amazing, just ask this Aussie’. Payment will be made in Caramilk.

A 30-second hero film will run across video-on-demand and YouTube, supported by activity across radio, social, website activation, digital out-of-home and electronic customer relationship management (eCRM). Influencer activity will also roll out across TikTok.

The campaign, created by VCCP, follows on from the brand’s ‘Just Ask An Aussie’ campaign series last year, which launched the product in the UK. Caramilk became Mondelez’s biggest ever confectionary launch in the market.

Last year, we launched Cadbury Caramilk in the UK with a bang, sharing Aussies’ love of Caramilk far and wide, says Mondelez brand manager Bryony Tate.

This year, we’re excited to take the ‘Just Ask An Aussie’ idea to the next level, sponsoring a thousand Aussies to make sure there’s always one nearby for Brits to ask for themselves.

Heinz returns to Tesco shelves as pricing row ends

Heinz and Tesco have reached an agreement to end their dispute over price rises, meaning the FMCG giant’s products will be restocked on the supermarket’s shelves over the coming days.

Supply of Heinz products to Tesco was paused last month, with a Tesco spokesperson stating at the time the supermarket will not pass on unjustifiable price increases to our customers, as household budgets come under increasing pressure from inflation.

Tesco has declined to reveal whether Heinz products will increase in price under the new agreement.

Last week Mars Petcare also halted supply of brands including Whiskas, Pedigree and Dreamies to the supermarket. This dispute has yet to be resolved, the BBC reports.

We’re sorry that this means some products aren’t available right now, but we have plenty of alternatives to choose from and we hope to have this issue resolved soon, Tesco said.

Meanwhile, a Mars spokesperson reassured pet owners the company’s products are still widely available across the UK.

Samsung is looking to empower Sunday league teams to become champions of creativity and tech with the launch of a major new grassroots football campaign.

‘The Grassroots Academy’ will help five local teams learn creative and digital skills to boost their clubs’ brand and content, using Samsung channels for amplification.

The campaign, developed with The Elephant Room, comes following the release of a report indicating that more than 5,000 of 43,000 active grassroots football clubs in the UK will close as a long-term effect of the Covid-19 pandemic. Some 96% of clubs have seen a reduction in income in the last year, according to ‘The Final Whistle For Grassroots Football’ report.

From late summer onwards, the academy will see experts in football and tech hold face to face and virtual masterclasses and workshops on how to use Samsung technology and create content to build a community around a grassroots club and boost visibility.

The campaign has launched on social media, through which football teams can apply to be one of the Academy’s five teams by showing their club in the most creative way in a 60-second film.

We are excited to be launching The Grassroots Academy which will help the community Football teams with additional creative and tech skills to help grow their brand and following, says Samsung Electronics UK and Ireland’s director of corporate marketing, Amy Campbell.