Unilever in global ad shake-up

Unilever is undertaking its biggest organisational shake-up since 1996 with a review of the way it plans and buys advertising campaigns.

The review, headed by vice-president of advertising for food and beverages Michael Brockbank and worldwide media director Alan Rutherford, formerly of Ogilvy & Mather’s media arm The Network, is designed to increase the efficiency of Unilever’s $3.3bn (2bn) media spend.

The review is likely to mean the world’s second largest advertiser adopts an integrated approach to promoting its products, ranging across detergents, deodorants and food.

It has been suggested the review could lead to a slice of the company’s TV ad budget – 80 per cent of its total spend – being switched to other media such as posters, radio and new media. The review may also lead to long-held relationships with creative and media agencies being reviewed. Unilever’s main advertising networks are J Walter Thompson, O&M, Ammirati Puris Lintas and McCann-Erickson.

A spokesman for the company says: “There is a review of how we plan advertising and communications and how we organise internally our advertising and marketing.”

The search for cost savings is likely to mean media will be bought globally rather than locally.

The new structure – which insiders say will not be finalised until the summer – could lead to a wide-ranging restructure in Unilever’s advertising, marketing and media depart- ments. There could be some job losses.

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