Unilever offers marketing weight to help digital start-ups ‘Go Global’

Unilever is launching a digital incubator programme that will see it pair its brands with seven digital marketing start-ups in exchange for financial and mentorship support.

Unilever Go Global

The ‘Go Global’ initiative opens today (4 December) and is open to digital marketing start-ups in the area of content, mobile or other connected devices.

The seven digital companies selected will be awarded $100,000 and their technology will be incorporated into a Unilever brand’s marketing campaign in the UK, US, South Africia, Indonesia, India, Brazil or Argentina.

The Unilever brands involved are: Magnum, Surf, Flora Pro-Activ, Hellmann’s, Vaseline and Clear.

Unilever will also share market research and consumer insights, access to partners in chosen local markets, as well as mentorship from its marketing teams. Mentors include Unilever’s senior vice president of media Luis Di Como, global media innovation director Jay Altschuler and global marketing and ventures director Jeremy Basset.

Shortlisted brands will be invited to present to Unilever’s brands and a “panel of experts” at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February 2014. The winners will be announced on 1 March.

Unilever will not receive any equity in any of the participating companies although Unilever Ventures, its venture capital group, may consider investing in some of the companies once the programme is complete, according to the FAQ section on the Go Global website.

Go Global is similar to initiatives run by other FMCG companies. Last year Mondelez partnered mobile startups with its “Mobile Futures” scheme and earlier this year brands including BMW, Heinz, Panasonic, AB-Inbev and Ideal Standard took part in an accelerator scheme called The Bakery aimed at funding marketing technology startups.

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