Unilever Increase Digital Spend

Keith Weed at Cannes: ‘Unilever Will Increase Digital Investment’

Ad Age: You’ve said you’re going to double digital spending this year, which is really very ambitious. Why?

Mr. Weed: At the end of the day we are a mass marketer. Every day, 2 billion people use our products. So what dictates what we do is those consumers, and I want to be where consumers are. The truth of the matter is we’re seeing this huge migration across the world to digital. We need to be ahead of the consumer, so when the consumer arrives, we’re already there.

Ad Age: Is it hard to find a place in digital to spend all that money?

Mr. Weed: “Digital” itself as a catch-all [word] is as unhelpful as “advertising” was when it describes TV, cinema, poster, painting your brand on the side of the house. I look at our investment in the buckets of paid, owned and earned. [Our investment in owned] is the smallest part. The biggest part is going to be in earned, and there are going to be two parts. One is the social area, but also moving into digital and gaming.

In digital, we’ve had a runaway success for the Axe wake-up call in India [putting a ring tone into alarms on mobile devices.] Lipton in China also did a thing around the New Year where you upload a photo and put little crosses where your eye and mouth were and then with the wonders of technology, you superimpose your face on the bodies of people doing a music video. This went to over 100 million people.

On the social side, we’ve agreed to a step-change increase in our spend with Facebook. I’ve just been spending some time with people from Microsoft. We’ve also signed with Apple on the iAd.