Unilever ramps up focus on quality, inclusion in marketing with 2 initiatives
- Unilever is expanding its Unstereotype initiative across all content formats and calling on content creators and distributors to remove any outdated stereotypes in their marketing, the company announced at the Cannes Lions advertising festival and in a news release. Unliever launched Unstereotype two years ago with a goal of eliminating harmful portrayals of people in advertising.
- Rexona, the Unilever deodorant brand known as Degree in the U.S., is partnering with Now United, the global pop group made up of 14 artists from 14 countries, to co-create multi-channel content that brings together different cultures through dance. The campaign aims to reach millions of young consumers with positive, progressive messages of equality and tolerance.
- Unilever earlier this week also said that it will cut ties with influencers that buy followers as part of the company's efforts to make its advertising more transparent, Reuters reported. The packaged goods giant will prioritize social media platforms that are actively trying to eliminate fraud and boost transparency. Unilever spent $8.9 billion on marketing last year, with "tens of millions" spent on influencer marketing, per Reuters. Despite the crackdown on bought followers, company officials expect that number to grow.
With the initiatives — extending Unstereotype and taking a harder line on potentially fraudulent influencers — Unilever is looking to position itself as a leader in two areas marketers are increasingly investing in. Putting the focus on quality marketing content over sheer quantity has become a growing focus for the industry as it grapples with issues ranging from ad fraud to brand safety. Excising influencers with bought followers fits in-line with the goals of only working with partners that have real audiences and can communicate authenticity in their messaging.
Marketers have also made more efforts over the past few years to be more gender-inclusive and diverse with their advertising, but the need for outside voices persists. Unilever's campaign pairing Degree with Now United attempts to address the issue, which could strike a chord with younger consumers like Gen Zers, who are the most diverse generation in U.S. history. Unilever has used similar messaging in recent campaigns around its Dove brand, including a partnership with the Cartoon Network series "Steven Universe" that focused on issues of kids' self-esteem and identity.
Unilever announcing the Unstereoptype call to action at Cannes Lions follows a similar initiative by Procter & Gamble (P&G), one of its main rials in the packaged goods space. P&G earlier this week announced a number of new partnership intended to support increasing the presence of women both in production and business roles and in consumer-facing marketing. The marketer also pledged to increase the number of female directors for its commercials from one in 10 to at least 50%.