Unilever to push beauty products via i-Village

Unilever has set up a joint venture company with the women’s online network iVillage to sell beauty and personal products for females through an Internet website.

The site, called Substance.com, will operate as an independent company. The US-based operation will launch in the US next spring, but it is understood a UK launch will follow.

A new marketing team has been appointed for Substance.com. Lipton Teas US marketing director Alan Gravely has been appointed as vice-president of business management. Gravely will be responsible for marketing, sales and new business development.

Substance.com has named the former head of finance for personal and oral care unit at Unilever, Sanjiv Mehra, as chief executive.

Mehra says: “The site will serve as a resource centre for women. It will be open to advertisers and retailers in the beauty sector”.

The venture will generate revenue through advertising and sponsorships. Bartle Bogle Hegarty (BBH), a Unilever roster agency, has been appointed as the creative agency for Substance.com. Media planning will also be handled by BBH.

Substance.com will not only push Unilever products, but will also feature another range of beauty care products. UK consumers will be able to buy goods available in the high street.

Unilever rival Procter & Gamble launched a &£31.5m beauty care Internet business last year – Reflect.com (MW September 9) – which is also US-based. Unilever operates about 25 web-sites.

IVillage.co.uk, a joint venture between Tesco and iVillage, is to be launched this year.

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