Unilever’s Latest Advertising Tactic

The Lempert Report
May 15, 2023

On today’s Bullseye – Unilever’s latest advertising tactic is more than just a good idea – it could change the digital ad space and the environment forever. Unilever’s brands – Hellman’s, Comfort and Magnum ice cream is piloting a new program that rewards consumers for watching ads that promote sustainable behavior. Remember that Superbowl ad with Pete Davidson that focused on waste and was hilarious? Little did we know back then that the brand was cooking up game changing advertising. In all fairness, maybe they didn’t realize it at the time either? Or maybe the response was so strong those brilliant marketers decided to push the envelope a bit with this latest campaign that according to the company “sits at the intersection between marketing, technology and sustainability”. Conny Braams, Unilever’s chief digital and commercial officer, told The Drum that “We use short videos to tell sustainable stories about our brands, and then we reward consumers for engaging with it, and what we’ve seen from the pilots that we’ve been doing is that it, first of all, builds brand power, which is really important. But also, it really changes behavior.”

These ads are appearing on social media – Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. Here’s how it works: After watching the videos, viewers are then rewarded and can convert their reward into a coupon or a contribution to a worthy cause, linked to the brand’s purpose. For example, after watching a Hellmann’s ad the viewer could donate to a food waste project. Unilever said it’s seen significant increases in brand power scores in two metrics - meaning and difference - and how positively consumers are perceiving these brands as purpose driven. They also told The Drum that it's seen one of the highest action intent lifts after people watch these ads, with more people feeling inspired to make meals out of leftovers, wash in shorter, colder cycles, re-use plastic and fix and repurpose clothes. This is a perfect example of the kind of innovation that brands need to do in their advertising – rather than just another lame campaign that doesn’t move the needle. Kudos to the Unilever team! Trying to change the world is a great thing – keep up the insights.