Monday, 28 May 2012

Unilever partners with News Corp and Viacom for digital content (Marketing Magazine, By Loulla-Mae Eleftheriou-Smith)

Unilever's marketing chief Keith Weed has said the company is going back to its soap opera past by negotiating content sponsorships with media giants Viacom and News Corporation, which will help it connect with consumers online.
Unilever has done deals with Fox, owned by News Corporation,and the owner of Paramount Pictures, MTV and Nickelodeon, Viacom, to sponsor made-for-web women's dramas and classic footage.
A new Facebook app from Paramount that allows consumers to access three hours' worth of clips from the company's well-known films, such as 'Grease' and 'Top Gun', is sponsored by Magnum.
Unilever is also sponsoring WIGS, a YouTube content channel celebrating extraordinary stories about extraordinary women, which is marketed by News Corporation. 
WIGS is a joint venture between filmmakers Jon Avnet and Rodrigo Garcia and is dedicated to delivering high end, original, scripted dramatic series and short films about the lives of women. 
It stars well-known actresses such as Jennifer Garner, Julia Stiles, and Virginia Madsen, as well as emerging talent, such as Lily Collins and Caitlin Gerard. 
News Corp is using promotions on its entertainment properties to drive women (18-49 years old) to the WIGS channel and build the audience. 
Unilever is planning to use its sponsorship to engage with consumers for brands such as Simple, Nexxus haircare, and Bertolli frozen food.
Deodorant brand Sure recently became the global sponsor for News Corp's 'Touch', a new television drama featuring Kiefer Sutherland, which was unusually released across several countries simultaneously.
The move by Unilever indicates the brand's increasing demand for professional content on sites such as YouTube and Facebook.
Soap opera TV shows date back to the 1950s, when shows were sponsored by the likes of Procter and Gamble, and other FMCG companies.
Keith Weed, Unilever’s chief marketing officer, told the Financial Times: "In reality, it's going back to the early days of TV channels when the likes of Persil and Omo and others were sponsoring the 30-minute soap opera, but now we are doing it in the digital space."
Last week, Unilever’s global brand development vice-president for Dove Skin, Fernando Machado, told Marketing that the company was switching its focus of the brand’s marketing strategy to Facebook, saying the site was the best platform to develop "brand love".

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Unilever in soap opera digital ads deals (Financial Times, By Tim Bradshaw)

Unilever is attempting to reinvent “soap opera” sponsorship for the digital age by striking international, multimillion-dollar partnerships with media groupsViacom and News Corp.
The deals illustrate how the internet is driving the globalisation of media, and how its creation is funded, as well as advertisers’ desire for more professional content on social networking sites such as Facebook and Google’s YouTube
Soap operas acquired their nickname in the 1950s when a substantial portion of the commercial TV shows broadcast in the US were made up of long-running domestic dramas, sponsored or produced by household goods companies such as Procter & Gamble and Lever Bros – Unilever’s earlier incarnation.
Such TV shows remain the largest outlet for consumergoods advertising but the growth of online marketing and social media is providing new opportunities for global brands, such as Unilever.
Although YouTube has been used by campaigners and critics of Unilever’s beauty products and their components, the Google-owned video-sharing site provides a global distribution for marketing messages whose 800m regular users vastly outstrip traditional broadcast TV audiences.
Keith Weed, chief marketing officer at Unilever, one of the world’s biggest advertisers, says that finding a steady supply of quality digital content that consumers want to share with their friends – for a reasonable price – is a “real challenge”.
Now, in an attempt to combine the global scale of websites such as YouTube andFacebook with the production values of television, Unilever is going direct to companies such as Viacom, owner of Paramount Pictures, MTV and Nickelodeon, and News Corp, parent of Fox, to tap both classic footage and new, made-for-web women’s drama.
“In reality it’s going back to the early days of TV channels, when the likes of Persil and Omo and others were sponsoring the 30-minute soap opera, but now we are doing it in the digital space,” said Mr Weed. “What digital has enabled more than anything else is the globalisation of the media world.”
Magnum, Unilever’s ice-cream snack, is global sponsor for a new Facebook app featuring three hours’ worth of clips from Paramount’s best-known films, including Grease, Top Gun and The Godfather. “Magnum Mini Moments” app, which launches globally this week, allows Facebook users to share the free clips with their friends, wrapped sponsorship and branding from Unilever. Unilever will pay Viacom an annual fee for the rights to its archives.
Jeff Lucas, head of sales for Viacom’s music and entertainment groups, said the company was working with Unilever to distribute content “in the way we know our global audiences are consuming it – across platforms and without borders”.
At the same time, Unilever brands including Simple soap and Bertolli meals are among the first sponsors of WIGS, a new YouTube channel of original content created by Fox. WIGS features short, female-centric films produced by Jon Avnet, known for his work on Black Swan and Fried Green Tomatoes, and starring Hollywood talent such as Jennifer Garner and Julia Stiles.
Meanwhile, as part of its partnership with News Corp, which was more than a year in the making, Unilever’s deodorant brand – known as Sure, Degree and Rexona in various countries – is also global sponsor of Touch, a new drama starring 24’s Kiefer Sutherland.
“Our global Unilever partnership goes far beyond the scope of anything we’ve ever done,” said Jean Rossi, president of Fox One, News Corp’s integrated sales and marketing division.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Facebook moves to boost ad business (Financial Times, By Tim Bradshaw and Emily Steel)

Facebook is preparing to launch a new system for measuring the impact of advertising on its platform at the same time as allowing external agencies to buy premium ad slots in the news feed for the first time. 
The moves are critical to Facebook’s wider attempt to bolster its advertising business and refocus towards bigger brands, at a time when investors in the company that listed last week have been concerned about slower revenue growth. General Motors’ high-profile decision to stop buying ads on Facebook was a lightning rod for simmering disquiet among advertisers, many of whom have yet to figure out whether their investment in the social networking site is generating real results in sales or brand perception. 
Facebook has demonstrated a new measurement system to members of its “Client Council”, an advisory group of ad agency heads and chief marketing officers who meet several times a year. 
One client council member, David Jones, chief executive of agency group Havas, was confident that Facebook would act to salve the concerns about calculating return on investment (ROI) expressed by GM and others. “What I have seen Facebook working on in ROI is very compelling,” Mr Jones said. “They know they need to prove it. You will see that come out in the future.”
Keith Weed, Unilever’s chief marketing officer and another Facebook adviser, said he is “very happy” with the results his company’s brands gained from the social network, adding Facebook was making “good progress” on calculating its clients’ ROI.
One idea under discussion is for Facebook to meld clients’ data with its own to better measure the impact of activity on its site, according to one person familiar with its thinking. For example, email addresses of a TV company’s customers could be melded with Facebook’s to track whether a subscriber renews his contract after spending more time on its fan page on the site. This could, however, raise privacy concerns, a key area of tension as Facebook seeks to balance the interests of its investors with those of its users. 
Facebook is also preparing to take down the walls between its own sales force that sells ads directly to brands, and the outside firms that use automated systems to buy ads on the site on behalf of marketers, according to two people briefed on the plans. Previously, those outside companies did not have access to broker the so-called premium ads that appeared within a user’s “News Feed” updates or on mobile, which can command higher rates than the standard ads that appear along the border of a page. 
In recent days, Facebook sent an email to those outside ad firms to alert them that it was opening up access to those premium ads in the coming weeks, the people said.
Such agencies already tap into Facebook’s ad platform to buy its cheaper ads but opening up its higher-rate ads would free up capacity among its employees to focus on consulting over engagement and measurement, one person said. 
A second person said Facebook also has started working more closely with those outside agencies in recent months to help the firms develop new tools to get the most of their ad spending on the site, offering the ability to optimise ads based on the people who signal that they “Like” the ad, for instance. 
At the same time, several of those outside firms have developed their own metrics to help marketers better understand whether a person buys a product or changes their perception about a brand after a person clicks on a Facebook ad. 
Facebook said: “We’re always working with our clients to help them better understand how their campaigns on Facebook are performing, but we have no further details to share.”
Facebook has previously talked about the need to move beyond clicks and “Likes” as the main way to measure the effectiveness of its campaigns. The company is looking to emulate concepts from the tried-and-tested TV advertising world to improve its measurement system, with brand perception and real-world sales as key metrics. 
“The challenge is that every client measures performance differently,” said Simon Mansell, chief executive of TBG Digital, a social marketing firm. 
“Facebook provides a lot of demographic information about who is engaging with the page and for how long. But it’s about translating that into sales.”

BrandZ Viewpoint: Keith Weed, Unilever (Marketing Week)

Too often there is an association solely with environment when people talk about sustainability. However, when we talk about sustainability, we’re talking about social elements as well as environment.
Part of our social benefit programme is based around self-esteem. It can have a huge impact on people and I’m encouraged that in my daughter’s school they use Dove as an example in a self-esteem class and show the Dove evolution film and discuss it.
They do the same in the US. What’s striking about this is that Dove can become an example for a more positive view around beauty, and a more ‘real beauty’ than the more cosmetic artificial beauty. If Dove can make people feel good about themselves then that’s a positive thing.
You won’t be surprised to hear that Dove is a strong and growing brand around the world, no matter what society or ‘norms’ there are. The different take on beauty has real resonance among our customers.
I’ve watched a remarkable online film where women are interviewed in the street and they never list things they like about themselves but list many things they hate. Their friends, however, are able to list eight positive things about them.
What is striking is that we are so self critical but other people can see positives. How do we change the way people consider themselves? Dove has played a key role in setting this agenda and it will continue this dialogue.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Losing the digital game (Marketing Week, By Michael Barnett)

In today’s digital world, marketers often focus on their individual brands when they communicate with consumers. But when it comes to talking about their parent companies, the UK’s corporate giants are far less polished.
Indeed, the majority of FTSE 100 companies are failing to use digital media to talk effectively about their corporate brands, according to a report seen exclusively by Marketing Week.
When consultancy Radley Yeldar analysed how FTSE 100 companies use their own websites, mobile sites and social media accounts to communicate, it found that Shell is the most digitally connected company, followed by Unilever and then SAB Miller. Meanwhile, Prudential, Burberry and Admiral Group are all near the bottom of the ranking (see table, below).
The study uses an extensive scoring system, taking into account parent company websites, presence on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook and how the companies optimise their sites on smartphones (see Method, below).
Despite a corporate website being a regulatory requirement of listing on the London Stock Exchange, the way FTSE 100 companies communicate digitally is far from encouraging. They are particularly poor when it comes to connecting up their communications channels. Although 98% have a presence on LinkedIn and 56% are on Twitter, less than half of the select group use other social networks, blogs, or have mobile websites and apps, according to this study.
Unilever’s Keith Weed
Unilever’s chief marketing officer Keith Weed says the rise of new media channels requires Britain’s corporations to pay attention to their digital footprint. “People are getting much more interested in finding out about the company behind the brand and have the tools to go online and find out more,” he says.
Consumers and business communities alike use the web and social networks to find and spread information, so companies need to make sure their corporate ‘story’ is easily found and understood by increasingly diverse audiences.
Unilever has focused on increasing awareness of its corporate brand since 2009 and in 2010 launched its Sustainable Living Plan, which aims to double the company’s sales over 10 years while cutting the environmental impact of its products by 50%.
Unilever began telling this story of sustainable business online, and it is through digital channels that the company has built the initial groundswell of interest in the corporate brand. The company will run a corporate branding campaign targeting consumers later this year, as Marketing Week exclusively reported last month.
Introducing the Sustainable Living Plan 18 months ago required Unilever to reform its digital corporate communications. It consolidated its previously disparate social media resources, such as Facebook pages, cutting down their number and honing their focus, says Weed.
“We have been stepping up in this area so you can now find a coherent story about the brand - the heritage, the Sustainable Living Plan, sourcing and consumer living,” he adds. “We are doing this to tell the story behind Unilever, and I would want Unilever to be a quality mark of sustainability.” Unilever’s consumer advertising now features its U logo, as does its packaging.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Simple and emotive the way to trigger green behaviour (Marketing Week, By Rosie Baker)

Brand marketers should find simple ways to change people’s behaviour that appeal to emotions rather than rational logic if they want to succeed in making consumer lifestyles more environmentally friendly, according to industry leaders.
Companies such as Unilever and Marks & Spencer are looking for ways to change consumer behaviour to reduce their impact on the environment. This is because the majority of the businesses’ environmental impact comes from consumer use of their products, despite improvements to the supply chain and manufacture of products.
M&S launched its ‘shwopping” initiative, fronted by Joanna Lumley, last week to encourage customers to recycle their old clothes at the same time they are buying new ones. The aim is to reduce the amount of clothing sent to landfill each year. The retailer says it is the simplicity of the initiative that will be key to its success.
Speaking to Marketing Week at the launch, marketing director Steve Sharp said behaviour change is a challenge because some customers just aren’t willing to change, whether it’s recycling clothes or swapping to more sustainable fish under its Forever Fish campaign. He adds that giving a direct instruction with something simple to do is key to retailers and businesses achieving social change.
Unilever chief marketing officer Keith Weed also aims to help make sustainable behaviours commonplace, but believes that marketing has to be more than just telling people the right thing to do.
At an event to mark one year’s progress of its Sustainable Living Plan, Weed said that behaviour change is the area in which the company has made least progress.
He cited the example of the Comfort One Rinse laundry detergent it has introduced in developing countries. While product innovation means that half the normal amount of water is needed to rinse clothes, people continue to use more water than they need. Weed says this is proof that Unilever must work harder in its marketing and communications to elicit behavioural change.
Unilever believes that its role is to find the right triggers for behaviour change so that people will start doing the right thing without thinking about it, because while people may “nod their head and say yes” to more sustainable lifestyles, in reality it is difficult to change a habit.
Rory Sutherland, executive creative director and vice-chairman of OgilvyOne London and Ogilvy & Mather UK, has long advocated the use of heuristics, a sort of ‘common sense’ method of problem solving, in marketing to encourage behaviour change. Rational instruction, he says, requires active thought and so is less likely to be effective.
Speaking at an OgilvyAction event this month, he said: “[Marketers should] come up with recommendations about behaviour that are easy to do without consciousness, rather than something that requires conscious thought.”
Sutherland cites the example of responsible drinking campaigns that ask people to drink fewer than 21 units a week as “hopeless” because it appeals to rationality, rather than emotion. Instead he says campaigners should encourage people not to drink for three nights a week, which he says is easier to apply, and will therefore be more successful in changing behaviour.
Five Levers for Change
Unilever’s behaviour change model, used by its marketers to encourage sustainable changes in living habits
1 Make it understood to raise awareness and encourage acceptance.
2 Make it easy to establish convenience and confidence.
3 Make it desirable so the new behaviour fits how people like to think of themselves.
4 Make it rewarding by articulating the tangible benefits.
5 Make it a habit to hold the behaviour in place for the long-term