As part of its strategy to focus on individual brands, Unilever is increasing its $200m (£140m) global sponsorship spend.
The move will dilute the packaged goods giant’s traditional reliance on TV and press.
The decision to boost sponsorship spend was announced by Unilever vice-president of brand communication Michael Brockbank, who has overall responsibility for advertising.
The sponsorship strategy announcement was made at a conference held in Chicago this week. Brockbank says Unilever brand teams will now consider sponsorship as a “key strategic tool” rather than merely a secondary, or tactical one.
Over the next two months, Unilever’s Marketing Academy – which is based in the UK – will formalise global guidelines on sponsorship best practice.
Brockbank says: “From the end of this year, Unilever will be demonstrably more enthusiastic and well-informed about exploring sponsorship opportunities. Everything will be brandand consumer-led, a list of “big ideas” will be identified and tested, leverage will be planned up-front and work will be judged in terms of the effect on consumers, rather than the visibility it achieves.”
One of Unilever’s largest and longest-running UK sponsorship deals is the Flora Marathon Charity Run.