You don’t earn a cyber Grand Prix award at the Cannes Lion International Advertising Festival and get named Advertising Age’s No. 1 Digital A-List company without having a strong vision for your brands.
And Rob Master, North America media director for Unilever, Englewood Cliffs, N.J., will tell you that having a clear definition of what a brand stands for is key to the company’s digital marketing.
In an Advertising Age interview he said, “Almost inherent in what we do, I think, is the importance of storytelling for our brands. A 30-second ad is a story we pull together for consumers on TV. Digital is an extension of that storytelling in typically longer format.”
Viral videos and online programs have garnered millions of viewers for Unilever. The company’s Dove brand “Evolution” viral video showed a nude-faced woman transform into a supermodel-esque beauty with a team of make up and beauty professionals as well as digital alterations. Originally broadcast online only, “Evolution” picked up air time on morning talk shows as well as other forums, and has been viewed by an estimated 500 million people.
Unilever’s Suave brand “In the Motherhood” was an online program that asked women to submit stories on its Web site about being a mother and then transformed some of these stories into professionally written “webisodes” acted out by well-known actresses. “In the Motherhood” attracted more than triple the expected 1.8 million viewers - 5.5 million - at least in part due to plugs on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” reports Ad Age.
This type of cross promotion - through several media - is all part of the synergy that has made Unilever’s digital campaigns so successful.
While the company’s beauty brands have garnered the spotlight in this arena, Unilever’s food brands are forging ahead in the Web world as well. Here are a few upcoming or ongoing digital food brand campaigns:
Promise Spreads and SuperShots - videos on the brand’s Web site starring give heart health advice to consumers through Dr. Richard Collins, the “Cooking Cardiologist,” and Life, Nutrition and Fitness Coaches Leeza Gibbons, Melissa Ohlson and Michael George.
Country Crock - “Spread the Sharing” is an interactive Web site where consumers can share their own inspiring stories of giving and Country Crock donates a meal to families in need through America’s Second Harvest.
Bertolli - “Bertolli Nights In” is an interactive Web site where consumers were asked (by Rocco DiSpirito no less) to share videos showing how Bertolli frozen meals are an ingredient to a romantic night in for romantic couples. Winners were chosen and one will be made into a feature length film.
I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter! - ICBINB’s Web site features an interactive game show “Now You Know Better!” that consumers can play as often as they like hosted by actor John O’Hurley.