Unilever & L’Oréal: 5 things that mattered this week

From Unilever putting an end to Kraft Heinz merger speculation to L’Oréal launching an e-mentorship programme, here are the five marketing stories that mattered this week.

Unilever puts an end to Kraft Heinz merger speculation

Kraft Heinz’s proposed multi-billion-pound deal to buy Unilever fell through this week, with Marketing Week columnist Mark Ritson very happy with the outcome.

He said Unilever’s socially-minded stance was at odds with how Kraft Heinz does business. “In the era of ‘ROI marketing’ it’s very easy to see everything purely as a matter of profit,” explained Ritson.

“Perhaps from that point of view the Unilever acquisition really made sense to Kraft Heinz. But I’m delighted the deal has fallen through and the company gets to continue its operations. It’s a great manager of brands and an honourable company to boot.”

The move seemed like an odd fit given Unilever’s commitments to sustainability. According to Radley Yeldar’s brand purpose ranking Unilever comes top; Kraft Heinz is nowhere to be seen. And in FutureBrand, a measure of consumer perceptions of companies, Unilever comes in at number 31 compared to Kraft Heinz at 55. Meanwhile, in Barron’s most admired companies ranking Unilever is at number 16, ahead of Kraft Heinz at 25. In Fortune’s Unilever is number 41, while Kraft Heinz does not appear.

Shore Capital’s Clive Black claimed Unilever would have been insulted by the bid: “This deal says a lot more about the weakness and opportunism of Kraft Heinz then it does of any willing on Unilever’s end, which might look at the bid as an insult.”

L’Oréal launches e-mentorship programme


L’Oréal Paris realised it needed a “bigger purpose than selling product” – and decided to look into training and mentorships as a result. The brand is collaborating with The Prince’s Trust to launch its ‘All Worth It’ programme, an e-mentorship initiative designed to help boost young people’s self worth.

The programme hopes to help 10,000 young people by “turning self-doubt into self-worth”. It is in response to figures released by The Prince’s Trust showing that one in three young people say they don’t believe in themselves, rising to 42% of young people who are not in education, employment or training.

L’Oréal Paris will run confidence courses quarterly at each of the 18 Prince’s Trust centres. The programme, which comprises of four modules, will address issues such as body language, communication, employability and relationships.

L’Oréal Paris is also changing its slogan ‘Because you’re worth it’ to ‘We are all worth it’ for the remainder of 2017 in a bid to reflect its focus on diversity and be more inclusive.

“We are very serious about it, because it’s not so much about changing the slogan but [the actions] we do behind it. The partnership is going to be a three-year relationship. We are in this for the long term,” the brand’s UK general manager Adrien Koskas tells Marketing Week.

YouTube’s moves to ditch 30-second unskippable ads

YouTube has finally decided to stop putting 30-second unskippable ads in front of its videos, and the industry reaction has been positive so far.

The move highlights how the channel is moving away from its focus on attracting TV budgets, to up competition with Facebook and other online video sites. In a statement Google says it is committed to providing a better ad experience for users online and that the change will not affect shorter ads.

“As part of that, we’ve decided to stop supporting 30-second unskippable ads as of 2018 and focus instead on formats that work well for both users and advertisers,” a spokesperson explains.

Aviva’s marketing director, Peter Markey, thinks the move will be a positive thing for brands who will benefit from a focus on new creative storytelling formats.

“It starts to make YouTube even more compelling and strengthens their proposition,” he tells Marketing Week. “And anything that makes the platform more effective for brands is a good thing for everyone, for brands, users and for YouTube too.”

Eurostar reveals campaign aimed at opening travellers’ minds

This week, Eurostar returned to TV for the first time in three years with a new campaign that aims to talk up the benefits of travel through a campaign called ‘Travel state of mind’.

The latest ad follows a young traveller and his friends as they experience new things. Viewers are urged to pack small, live big and to open up their ‘travel state of mind’ by asking locals questions opposed to just relying on their phones.

“We are hoping to inspire people to open up their ‘travel state of mind’ and remind them that when they embrace this attitude, the world is a more open, interesting and rewarding place,” said Guillemette Jacob, head of marketing and brand at Eurostar.

In terms of the campaign’s digital activation, well, Facebook users will be able to create their own ‘travel state of mind’ via a new Facebook canvas, where they will be able to explore the brand’s photos, videos and travel tips for destinations.

Can loyalty exist in the grocery sector?


Although consumers may have a favourite supermarket, more often than not convenience and location win out. In fact, new research finds that around one in six shoppers have switched their main supermarket over the past 12 months calling into question loyalty in the grocery sector.

The study, of more than 1,500 shoppers by retail marketing agency TCC Global, reveals that 16% of shoppers have switched their main store over the past year and 39% say it wouldn’t matter to them if their usual grocery store closed.

This is compounded by the proliferation of stores, which means shoppers are spoilt for choice. Shoppers have access to five ‘very easily reachable’ stores on average, as well as 10 ‘easily reachable’ shops and 11 ‘reachable’, meaning it is easier than ever to switch between retailers.

This is not good news for the big four supermarkets, Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Tesco, at a time when market share is being lost to discounters. Latest Kantar figures show that Aldi overtook The Co-operative to become the fifth largest supermarket in Britain for the first time, with sales up 12.4% year on year in the 12 weeks ending 29 January.