- Creative management platform for digital advertising Celtra received a $15 million investment round led by Unilever Ventures and WPP, per a press release.
- The CPG giant and agency holding company are partnering to use Celtra’s technology across Unilever’s global marketing organization including service providers, technology vendors and media suppliers.
- Separate from the investment announcement, Adexchanger reported a statement by Unilever CMO Keith Weed during a Cannes Lions roundtable: “Get out of marketing if you’re not going to be a great digital marketer. We’re doing quite a lot in-house. I think marketers are going to have to be much more data-savvy.”
Brands and their agency relationships have been undergoing major changes in recent years with a number of major brands looking for cost savings and reworked deals through negotiations and reviews. Brands have even ramped up taking marketing and advertising activities in-house. With the Celtra deal, a major global marketer has essentially turned its agency relationship with WPP into a business partnership with both groups investing in the ad creative tech company.
Weed’s statement at Cannes Lions reflects the important role of digital for Unilever as well as cut-backs announced in April that are seeing Unilever eliminate 50% of its agency relationships and decrease ads produced by 30%. The announcement came a month after Unilever said it is increasing its spend on digital shopper marketing after proving the return on investment for display ads.
Part of the justification provided by Unilever for cutting ads produced by 30% was the CPG giant created more ads than it ever actually uses in campaigns. The Celtra investment will bring tech to bear on the ad creative challenge, and in the press release Weed said it will help the brand deliver at a global scale ads that “feel native to each medium” while delivering emotional value.