That Works Weekly provides an alternative take on the week’s marketing and branding news. In Episode 3, Wetherspoons plan an expansion, Volkswagen get their months mixed up, KFC steal slogans and the Suez Canal reopens for business.
Spoons pledge more pubs if lockdown ends
Pub giant JD Wetherspoon announced a resolute call to action to the Government this week, pledging to spend £145million on 18 new pubs and the expansion of some existing sites – if ‘the UK opens up on a long-term basis and there are no more lockdowns.’ So, not only has Boris Johnson got the small matters of the Covid roadmap and accusations of institutional racism in the UK to tackle, he’s now being blackmailed by a glorified pub landlord in Tim Martin. You can imagine the scenes at the Government press briefing on June 21st; “I’m pleased to announce that all restrictions have been lifted. Cases are falling, the vaccine rollout has gone well and, most importantly, we need more Wetherspoons.” It remains to be seen whether or not the trademark Wetherspoons plates, which resemble something you’d find in your nan’s bedroom drawers, will be included in the multi-million-pound upgrade.
Volkswagen make April Fools of themselves
The US arm of the German car company, Volkswagen, seemed to forget that April Fools’ Day takes place in the month of April when they inadvertently ruined their own PR stunt this week. An announcement from the company was supposed to have us believing that they’d decided to change their name to ‘Voltswagen’, reflecting their commitment to the production of electric-powered vehicles. However, for reasons known only to themselves, they did this on March 30th which, for the VW bosses out there, isn’t in fact April Fools’ Day. Amongst the confusion, a company spokesman was forced to confirm the statement had been a huge lie and that no such rebrand was taking place. Perhaps they should start producing calendars as well as swanky new hybrids.
Kentucky Fried Nickin’ slogans
Earning themselves back-to-back mentions in That Works’ weekly round-up with their savvy marketing techniques are fast-food powerhouses, KFC. You may remember during the early stages of the pandemic when they were forced to drop their ‘It’s finger lickin’ good’ slogan for ‘anti-hygiene’ reasons. Just to confirm, people are still allowed to hold and eat fried chicken with their bear hands, but lick their fingers afterwards? God no. Anyway, the company have since been without a slogan and, reluctant to think of a new one, they have this week been adopting the well-known phrases of other big-name brands. Nike, Snickers, Specsavers, Marmite and even McDonalds are among those who have been seduced into loaning their catchphrases to KFC’s advertising boards and social media accounts over the last few days. The Colonel will be licking his lips at the power they currently hold over the market, never mind his fingers.
The Great Computerised Bake-Off
Mars-Wrigley’s Maltesers brand has partnered with Google Cloud to create a cake using artificial intelligence. There’s a sentence you never thought you’d read, and if your natural response to it was ‘erm, what?’ or ‘erm, why?’ – same. Google engineers decided to create a model which could combine hundreds of recipes from existing Google searches to create a cake, whilst Great British Bake-Off winner Peter Sawkins knocked together his own recipe to challenge the AI creation. The immediate deductions from this story are that Google probably has too much time and that Google probably has too much money. Some things really are staggeringly pointless, aren’t they?
The Suez Canal has re-opened for business!
To end the week with a bit of a ‘good news’ section, the Suez Canal was finally relieved of its blockage earlier this week when the Ever Given container ship was freed from its resting place on the shore of the passage. There’s been no secret made of the fact that the hold-up has had a significant impact on the world’s trade, with claims that more than $9billion worth of goods passes through the waterway each day. A large portion of this trade is thought to be Hermes packages, on express delivery from Birmingham to Manchester. The ship was finally set free after rescue teams took advice from Barry on Facebook, who cleverly suggested they ‘just pull the front end around a bit’.