Mad Men shill for Unilever

Unilever Launches ‘Mad Men’ Blitz
Says a spokesman” “Unilever created the vignettes to showcase its iconic brands and celebrate their heritage on a hit show that is culturally relevant to consumers today. Consumers are craving nostalgia. The featured brands are prominent today and were popular in the 1960s, when ‘Mad Men’ is set.” Interestingly, the first reactions from viewers and bloggers haven’t been positive, with complaints about how the ads too closely mimic the show. On the “Mad Men” Facebook page: “Who is Dove soap trying to fool with that fake Mad Men commercial!? That is how I felt, like Dove was trying to steal Mad Men’s thunder!’.

And there’s more: “Despite hating the weak, we-suckered-you-into-watching-our commercial, Dove did generate some talk about … Still, subconsciously, I’m sure next time I buy soap I will see the Dove brand and automatically think SCAM ARTISTS and buy Ivory instead.” A blogger griped, “I usually love Dove commercials but I found this one to be way off-target from their ‘women loving themselves’ branding.

    Dove ‘Mad Men’ Commercial Causes Controversy; Unilever Says It’s Witty Parody (stylelist.com)
    Dove make ads just for Mad Men, women have the ideas, get no credit (adland.tv)
    More Fake ‘Mad Men’; More Real Ads (mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com)
    Advertising: Commercials in ‘Mad Men’ Style, Created for the Series (nytimes.com)

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    Crowdsourcing: Isobar’s Fiat Fired Up, Crispin’s Brammo Backfires, Unilever Fires Lowe’s

    Fiat is building a consumer-generated car in Brazil, using input gathered through social media to inform everything from the automobile’s design to its marketing communications. Working with Sao Paulo-based AgenciaClick, part of Aegis Group‘s Isobar network of digital agencies, Fiat started a website this month requesting ideas for the work-in-progress Fiat Mio. “We’re inviting Brazilian consumers to invent the concept car that Fiat will exhibit in the Salao do Automovel, Sao Paulo’s auto show, in October 2010,” said Abel Reis, AgenciaClick’s president and chief operating officer.
    fiat-mio
    Most of Crispin’s clients seem rather pleased to stir up controversy. And this article is proof that their campaigns get attention. But a new company like Brammo can’t be terribly pleased that right out of the gate, they’ve been accused, by association, of being anti-design cheap skates.
    crispin porter brammo fail
    For some time, marketers have been using ad contests as one-off PR ploys for their brands. Now, Unilever is testing whether crowdsourcing can be a long-term strategy for one of its British brands — and the result could have far-reaching consequences for any number of agencies on the consumer-goods giant’s roster. Just ask Lowe, London, which was recently sacked by Unilever on its Peperami snack brand so that the marketer can run a contest to find ad ideas. Unilever is offering a $10,000 bounty to the winner of a competition to find TV and print ideas for the meat snack popular with schoolchildren.
    peperami crowdsourcing
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    Magic Billboards, Fallon gets Unilever, Liveable Cities, VW Facebook

    New software has been created by Singapore‘s Agency for Science, Technology, and Research that would allow billboards to identify a person’s gender based on his or her face. The technology from A*Star is only able to differentiate between the sexes if a person is looking at the camera.
    minority-report
    Fallon has secured a position on the Unilever roster after being appointed to handle the company’s corporate digital brand strategy. The agency secured the business after a three-way shoot-out against Bartle Bogle Hegarty and Razorfish. Fallon will produce an overarching strategy to reinvigorate the way Unilever behaves in the digital space. Its first task will be to reassess Unilever’s main online presence, unilever.com.
    Monocle Magazine have announced their annual index of most liveable cities. Zurich comes in top place mainly for its vast investment in transport; Copenhagen is second for its mix of metropolitan life, great healthcare, low crime rates and a relaxed vibe; at 3, Monocle describes Tokyo as the world’s most livable megapolis and praises the city’s commitment to plant 1 million trees; 4th is Munich which blends history and innovation with ease and is generally a good place to do business; and Helsinki comes 5th partly because it has no Starbucks.
    Actually quite a good Facebook page from VW. I am apparently “Sporty”…Spezify
    Are you ‘spezifying?’ A simple search yields a bounty of randomly placed images, video, blog posts and tweets.
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    NPD: Nestle, Pot Noodle

    Nestle is following a Japanese philosophy called kansei, in which products are designed to elicit certain emotional responses in consumers. Kansei focuses on how consumers feel about a product early on in the design process, and then attempts to translate those emotions into a physical form. The food company intends to use the technique on its products as well as brand packaging.
    black magic kansei
    As if Pot Noodle Bombay Bad Boy and Pot Noodle Original Curry were not enough to whet the appetites of Britain’s blokes, Unilever has revealed its pinnacle of home takeaway with a doner kebab flavour. The Doner Kebab flavour pot noodle will allow students and those pouring out from bars and clubs across the UK to recreate their favourite late-night takeaway by simply by adding boiling water.
    kebab_1247406c
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    Unilever’s Polman Calls For Change

    Some energizing news in this morning’s Ad Age: Unilever’s New Leader proclaims “You Can Expect Change”.
    Going forward, Unilever’s Paul Polman is apparently seeking broader adoption of “Alternative Communication Vehicles.”

    “The challenge for all of us in the industry is to continue to find better and creative ways to connect with the consumer … as P&G used to say, when and where consumers are receptive. Companies that do well anticipate that. And Unilever has some wonderful examples of where they are starting to do this. The same examples you will find in other companies. Some companies talk a lot about having moved out of conventional TV into alternative media, but then when you look at the numbers, you don’t see it. I think if you look at Unilever, you already see a faster move toward alternative-communications vehicles. The challenge for companies like Unilever is how to get these best practices more broadly implemented across the organization.”

    Music to my jaded ears Mr Polman!

    Unilever’s “Rookie”

    I just came across “The Rookie” — a series of short videos sponsored by Unilever, the makers of the deodorant Degree. The videos have the look and feel of “24,” the Fox series, but feature a character called Jason Blaine as said Rookie (rather than Jack Bauer). They lives on their own Fox website, with the obligatory sweepstake and link to the Degree site.  I was interested to know if this was bought off-the-shelf by Unilever/ Mindshare or a true co-creation. It turns out that it was conceived by Mindshare’s Entertainment division and shot by 24’s DP. (Pretty collaborative, then!)

    unliever rookie

    Interestingly, according to David Lang of MindShare Entertainment, Blaine’s character is “based solely on Degree’s brand positioning.” Degree for Men, which claims to be adrenaline-activated, “protects men who take risks,” its website proclaims. And Blaine is a guy who takes adrenaline-pumping risks aplenty but never sweats through his shirt.

    Says Unilever’s deodorant supremo Sam Chadha: “Degree is about embracing challenge and giving men more confidence by equipping them with more power than they need for the one day they do need it, ’24’ is just a perfect fit. It’s one of those ‘Ah-ha!’ moments you get in your career with marketing where everything fits together.”

    Hmm. Not so sure about that, but all in all it has to be more interesting than traditional advertising. The 1.4MM site visits it generated doesn’t sound much, but the 5 minute average spent on the site does.

    Mindshare also have some figures that show a 22% sales increase and brand score improvements. These can be apparently be attributed to the “Rookie” effort, as it was the only communication in market during the survey period, say Mindshare. Viewers were apparently driven to the web via Rookie teasers in TV, print, online, mobile channels. (This activity might have done some of the “heavy lifting” in terms of audience).

    Mindshare need to work on their own copy-writing skills though … “Unilever needed a communication activity that would help grow Degree for Men faster than the antiperspirant/deodorant category, and increase the brand’s relevancy with Men. The partner needed to align with the brand’s consumer insight around risk and reach a broad audience of men.” Groo!
    (tags: brandedentertainment rookie unilever)