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Uber's challenging month


What happened this week in advertising and marketing, featuring Uber's bad month, the latest from 'Spreadsheet Phil' and more

Would you want to hit back at P&G’s Marc Pritchard after his barnstorming speech a few weeks back? It's rather like having a go at the US President. Actually maybe that wasn’t such an apt analogy. But it could mean not having a piece of the world’s biggest advertiser.

Pritchard has come back at his critics, labelling them 'head fakes'.

And it's not just the world's biggest advertiser. It's also the world's second-biggest advertiser, Unilever's Keith Weed.

But it could be that Mr Weed takes the top spot if Nelson Peltz gets his way and breaks-up P&G in a way similar to Kraft, splitting it into Kraft and Mondelez.

And how big a problem is transparency anyway? This piece attempts to pick apart much of the complexity and does a valiant job of showing where data leaks away, but the facts remain obscure. But the writer does also proposes some answers.

A small note on Snap (Snapchat’s parent). Could the day it successfully launched its IPO be the day that social peaked? Andy Pemberton thinks so in this brilliant takedown of the culture of anti-transparency, non-verifiable metrics and tax evasion.

BMB's new ad for Hula Hoops harks back to some of the great work of the 1980s and 1990s. In a good way:

Have you wondered how to delight users? This research suggests it's all about UX.

Hot on the heels of Nokia, the Motorola and Moto brands have been revived by Lenovo. Motorola actually invented the mobile phone in the 1984.

Google's video channel YouTube has hit a significant milestone, with more than 1 billion hours of video watched per day. Vast as this is, it's still a tiny fraction of the amount of TV watched per day.

Uber special

From the upstart taxi service that everyone loves, Uber now faces a storm of negative press, not helped by its CEO Travis Kalanick arguing the toss about fares with one of his drivers (oh, sorry - not his. All Uber drivers are self-employed of course).

It's a well-worn trope that Uber works well when there are few drivers, but as the market floods then prices drop, making it less economic for those same drivers.

This research suggests that 41% of the company's revenue comes from fares, the rest is subsidy from capital investment, but Uber has been notoriously secretive about its finances.

Drivers are reputedly looking for a way out of working for the company.

They have also been found to be profiling users to see if they might actually be city officials who might have some say over whether Uber can operate in their city.

Uber are also being sued by Google's parent company Alphabet for copyright infringement of their self-drive technology, allegedly stolen by an employee who used it to start Otto, now owned by Uber.

It's perhaps no wonder that Kalanick is on the lookout for a COO to help him run the business.

Rustlers' guide to 1952 London (it's a surreal 10-minute ride and well worth it, by Droga5 London):


The week began with the news that Vauxhall and Open will sell to the owner of Peugeot/Citroen for just under £2 billion. Job cuts have been played down, but nobody can be certain.

Could such a sale have been made if the pound was so devalued?

Worse for 'spreadsheet' Phil Hammond, of the 50 most promising startups you have never heard of, only one, Focus FS (trading as Monzo), is based in the UK which should give the chancellor some concern as Brexit looms.

On the day, Hammond put up taxes for the self-employed and cut breaks for the same group. While borrowing is lower than expected thanks to stronger growth this year (up from 1.4% to 2%), the budget remains rather harsh in preparation for an expected Brexit slump in the years beyond.

Lastly, if you are in the market for some spring cleaning, don't forget your dishwasher (thanks to Wieden + Kennedy):

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