Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

New Business Bulletin: The Independent, Galaxy Chocolate, Maybelline UK and more

The Independent and Galaxy Chocolate announce the launch of The Ripple Effect, a campaign to create lasting positive change for young women. The campaign launches with an exclusive new Independent TV series, The Ripple Effect, hosted by AJ Odudu, as well as a wealth of inspiring, informative, expert-led articles aimed at helping young women find solutions to the challenges they face today. The campaign is based on the idea that when we share experiences, challenges and learnings, we can create a ‘ripple effect’ of positive change. On the 18th July, The Independent and Galaxy, in partnership with Young Women’s Trust, hosted The Ripple Effect Live event to support the campaign and explore its core themes with an audience of young people. AJ Odudu hosted a panel discussion delving into topics including imposter syndrome, financial security, and workplace bias. Young Women’s Trust CEO, Claire Reindorp, Ebony Rainford-Brent and Ellie Austin-Williams joined the panel alongside young women who discussed their own experiences and hopes for change. The evening provided an opportunity for the audience to learn from the panel’s personal stories and practical advice and be part of a solution-finding experience for young women. The deal was brokered by The Independent’s commercial content division, Independent Ignite and EssenceMediacom with the TV elements being co-produced with Sassy Create. 

It’s no secret that the internet and social media plays a huge part in all our lives, and a new survey from Maybelline UK, the UK’s no1 makeup brand in 2023, finds that 34% of 18–25s look towards social media to find and access to mental health support and social connectivity. Furthermore, when it comes to accessing mental health resources, it’s the second most-likely place they will visit for help, after visiting the NHS website (46%). The survey, which polled over 2,000 respondents aged 18-25, also found that 33% struggle to access mental health support in the UK, with the biggest barrier for them being ‘waiting times’ (48%). According to Mental Health Foundation an alarming 75% of children and young people who experience mental health problems, aren’t getting the help they need. Maybelline UK, which is part of L’Oréal Groupe, is partnering with Ditch the Label, a global youth charity that reaches 160-million people around the world, and provides digital safe spaces and direct, non-judgemental advice. This is aligned with Maybelline’s Brave Together initiative, which aims to help young people living with anxiety and depression, offering tools on how to spot the signs and access individual mental health support. Over the next two years, Maybelline UK will fund over 17,500 hours of 1:2:1 help, providing online support every hour of the day for the next two years via Ditch the Label’s safe space community forum. In partnership with Ditch the Label, Maybelline will empower 18–25-year-olds to use technology for good in their mental health journeys. To further enable access to mental health support, Maybelline UK are also launching Brave Talk – a one-hour training course designed to help people learn how to have a conversation with a loved one who may be struggling with their mental health. It’ll provide advice on how to identify signs of stress and discuss any barriers that may stop people from getting help, rolling out in universities across the UK from September to efficiently reach younger people in their own environment. Globally, Maybelline’s Brave Together campaign has already supported over 1 million people to gain free access to mental health support.

TAITO, in partnership with Google, has worked with global production and innovation studio UNIT9 to reimagine the iconic arcade game “SPACE INVADERS” for today’s digitally-connected world. Forty-five years after its initial launch, the 8-bit game has now been evolved into an immersive augmented reality experience where players put their skills to the test to defend their real-world neighbourhoods from 3D Invaders appearing from buildings and landmarks near them. Acting as a sequel to the original arcade game, “SPACE INVADERS: World Defense” uses Google’s innovative ARCore Geospatial API. The API allows digital content to be anchored in the real world with sub-metre accuracy, using an individual’s physical surroundings. It works in conjunction with a mesh of geometric data tied to Google Maps Street View, resulting in an interactive AR gaming experience anchored to the physical world on a global scale. In addition, the game leverages the newly released Streetscape Geometry API, which provides the geometry of terrain, buildings, or other structures within a 100m radius of the user’s current location. This allows SPACE INVADERS to emerge from buildings and nearby structures. By switching from World Dimension to Invaders Dimension, players can activate a pure digital 3D level, transitioning from the real world via a portal. This parallel digital environment is dynamically generated based on their surroundings, allowing players to complete missions in a fully virtual 3D Invader world as well as their real-world AR view.

Digital media platform Sesamy will integrate its unique technology for tracking and monetizing digital content with Northern Europe’s number one CMS for publishers, Labrador. Sesamy’s specialized media technology will be available to Labrador’s 250 publishers, providing the tools to remunerate their digital content through single-purchases or subscriptions, depending on the most cost-effective option for the reader. Sesamy, led by the co-founders of the largest global podcast platform, Acast, will collaborate with Labrador first on publications from Square Publishing media group,, KameraBild, and Prylportalen – household brands from Sweden’s leading media company for monitoring and analyzing the mobile, photo, and gadget markets. Sesamy’s technology crucially allows publishers to log users, create transactions per article, and create long-term user engagement that supports journalism, while Labrador has created the technology to allow publishers to produce and upload content easily through the high functionality of their publishing platform. Working the way an editor thinks, it provides a new way to publish without complex systems, now with Sesamy providing a method for monetization that is easy to implement.

Guider, the mentoring and peer-to-peer learning platform, has partnered with the technology suite that combines lifelong learning and data-driven development, Degreed. Guider’s mentoring platform enables companies to rapidly launch and scale mentoring programs to achieve business goals, and is now integrated into Degreed’s learning experience platform. This exciting partnership offers mutual customers a new opportunity to upskill their people by tapping into the expertise of their own peers. Guider’s solution allows organizations to run over 50 different types of peer-to-peer learning programs including; reverse mentoring, mentoring for DE&I, internal coaching, sponsorship and buddying. Guider and Degreed work with some of the world’s most forward-thinking brands to provide essential upskilling and learning experiences. Guider has enabled over 1.6 million mentoring opportunities in over 175 countries to date. Its clients include the likes of Deloitte, EY, FIFA, Clyde & Co and Knight Frank.

Onfido, a specialist in automated identity verification, has announced a partnership with Magic, an innovative Know Your Customer (KYC) marketplace company, to provide document and biometric verification to streamline KYC process and mitigate fraud. Magic is building “Sign-up with Google” for regulated services. Its mission is to empower companies and individuals with a privacy-first ecosystem that drives new revenue, boosts engagement, and fortifies sensitive data control. The partnership is central to Magic’s forthcoming Beta programme, and will actively redefine how businesses verify and manage customer identities. It will empower companies to see KYC as more than just a compliance exercise, but a tool for transformation and growth. At the same time, Onfido will support Magic to securely elevate the identity data associated with any user profile, enabling individuals to swiftly access essential services that enrich their lives. By integrating Onfido’s AI-powered Real Identity Platform, Magic users can sign up by simply taking a photo of their government-issued identity document (ID) and capturing a selfie. Onfido first checks that the ID is genuine and not fraudulent, and then checks the liveness of the selfie or selfie video and matches it to the photo in the ID. This ensures the person presenting the identity is its legitimate owner and is physically present. Users can start their digital journey anywhere, anytime, through a simple and user-friendly online experience that meets regulatory requirements.

Schwarz Media, the retail media unit of Schwarz Group, Europe’s largest retail group, and global advertising technology specialist The Trade Desk has announced that they have entered a strategic partnership. The partnership will use the Lidl online shop and Kaufland Marktplatz to reach consumers and measure the success of digital advertising campaigns on the open internet. Through the extensive reach of Schwarz Media on The Trade Desk platform, advertisers can better reach their audiences across channels on the open internet, leveraging deterministic targeting. According to forecasts by IAB Europe, retail media is becoming one of the fastest growing sectors within the digital advertising industry with a revenue potential of €25 billion by 2026. Through this new partnership, advertisers will be able to measure the influence of digital ads on direct sales and thereby optimise campaigns in near real time. In fact, the advertising impact on the fast-growing connected TV and digital out-of-home channels can also be measured and optimised more effectively. 

Eurostar Group, the high-speed international rail service connecting the UK with mainland Europe, has announced the roll-out at London St Pancras Station of SmartCheck, a contactless fast-track facial biometric check-in system supplied by iProov, a global provider of biometric solutions. With SmartCheck, passengers can go through only one passport check instead of two. SmartCheck enables Eurostar’s Business Premier and Carte Blanche passengers to save time and avoid queues for ticket and UK border exit checks in the station, by securely enrolling their ticket, passport and face before they travel, using their mobile devices whenever convenient. The result is a contactless, ticketless, and secure travel experience that enhances the overall passenger journey. The roll-out, which is effective from 18 July 2023, follows a successful trial of the new system that occurred between December 2021 and April 2022 during which iProov worked with its partner Entrust to create the pilot to meet Eurostar’s needs. The SmartCheck solution incorporates iProov’s Biometric Solution Suite with Biometric checkpoint, together with Entrust’s Identity Verification as a Service (IDVaaS) technology for identity orchestration and digital travel credential (DTC) management. 

Despite an increase in investment in IT post-pandemic, a majority of IT professionals in UK small and medium-sized businesses admit they aren’t familiar enough with key IT areas such as cloud or IT security to make the right decisions for their business. The research released by Sharp, a major provider of business technology products and services to small and medium enterprises across Europe, shows a clear and concerning IT knowledge gap amongst smaller firms in the UK. The research is part of a pan-European survey of 5,770 professionals in SMEs, responsible for purchasing IT, on confidence in capabilities and barriers to investment over the next 12 months. Less than half of those surveyed felt knowledgeable enough on the benefits of cloud (40%) and IT security (44%). Beyond cloud and IT security, businesses also admit to lacking the right knowledge in critical areas such as network limitations (66%), specifications of IT hardware (64%), software licenses (63%) and Office 356 opportunities (63%). When it comes to making the most of investments already made, IT professionals admit a lack of integration with other systems (25%) and overly complicated software and systems (25%) are barriers to getting the best return. Managers’ lack of knowledge (23%) was also cited as a critical factor in preventing businesses leveraging investments effectively. Unfortunately, expert advice on IT investments is found lacking by UK businesses. Almost half (42%) believe they were poorly advised from the beginning and didn’t have good enough ongoing advice and support. In addition, just over a quarter of businesses believe that a lack of employee understanding (26%) holds them back. Less than a quarter (23%) currently have a person responsible for IT internally. Across Europe, making the most of investments in IT over the last few years is ranked as highly by European small and medium enterprises (SMEs) as finding new talent, however, the challenges for those in the UK focused more on the rising costs of doing business.

To help customers maximise the value of the suite and accelerate adoption, Oracle NetSuite has announced NetSuite Guided Learning. NetSuite Guided Learning provides step-by-step guidance embedded in NetSuite to help educate users about system functionality and features. Available to all NetSuite licensed customers at no additional cost, the contextual learning guides can help businesses leverage the full capabilities of the suite and reduce time spent on training. NetSuite Guided Learning includes the following guides: Role-based guides and Key task guides. Role-based guides offer introductory role-specific resources to help users learn about their dashboard and available tabs. For example, a user with a sales team role can learn more about where to find the latest information on leads and activities. Key task guides are interactive guides which showcase key NetSuite features that help users maximise productivity and efficiency. For example, a user can find help on how to personalise a dashboard or create shortcuts in NetSuite.