Unilever's Marc Mathieu: Sustainable brands find it 'easier to retain talent'

Marc Mathieu: focuses on Unilever's sustainability credentials
Marc Mathieu: focuses on Unilever's sustainability credentials

CANNES 2011: Brands that have strong sustainability credentials find it easier to attract and retain talent, according to one of Unilever's most senior marketers.

Marc Mathieu, SVP, marketing at Unilever and the company's second most senior marketer after CMO Keith Weed, was speaking at the 'Fixing Advertising's Talent Crisis' debate at the Cannes Lions advertising festival this morning.

Mathieu, who previously held senior marketing roles at Coca-Cola where he helped launched Coke Zero into 50 markets, was hired by Unilever earlier this year, partly to boost the brand owner's sustainability profile.

After leaving Coke and before joining Unilever in April, Mathieu ran sustainability consultancy BeDo in Atlanta, working for Coke, Danone, Levi’s and Johnson & Johnson.

A key to motivating agency staff was for clients to "empower them to fail". He said: "I respect an agency that tells me, 'if you don’t empower me to do great work, I will deliver average work."

Agencies and brands "cannot do consistently great work without failure [along the way],"he believes, and while "failure is an option, fear is not".

Bob O'Leary, head of global marketing at banking and insurance giant Citi, said clients must treat agency talent "not just as creators of banners and TV ads, but as integrationalists" as "ideas can come from anywhere".

In the same debate, Alexis Nasard, chief commercial officer at Heineken, described advertising talent as "contagious".

Nasard said: "It's a virtuous circle. When you have the best talent [within agencies], you attract great work [from clients]. It's a virtuous circle."

The issue for agencies is that once they lose a pitch, "proper nuanced HR policies go out the window and you end up falling back on a discretionary bonus here, and patronage there," according to Grant Duncan, head of media at Spencer Stuart.

Paul Polman, Unilever's chief executive, has pledged to reduce Unilever's overall environmental impact through what it calls its "sustainable living plan" while promising to double Unilever's sales by 2020.

Discussion

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Brand Republic Jobs

subscribe now

Latest

Lynx tells men not to leave love to fate
HBO captures awkwardness of watching sex scenes with parents
Primark to open first US stores with Boston chosen as flagship location
Marketing spend on the up but a reality check is needed before celebrating
Top 10 ads of the week: Jackpotjoy and BT Broadband fend off Kevin Bacon
Lidl beats Tesco to 10m Facebook fans
Center Parcs ad banned for encouraging parents to take kids out of school
Coca-Cola, Cadbury and Amazon named top brands for targeting youth market
Leaked document shows Nokia to be rebranded as Microsoft Mobile
Nike lays-off hardware staff in move that casts doubt on future of FuelBand
Greenpeace says save the bees or humans will die
What brands need to know about changes to VAT and online downloads in 2015
Jimmy Savile victims urged to claim compensation in new ad campaign
UKIP launches biggest  ad campaign and stirs up 'racist' accusations
Apple boss Tim Cook provides voiceover on ad touting firm's renewed green commitments
John Lewis walks consumers through its history to celebrate 150 years of business
Waitrose boosts content strategy with 'Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose' C4 tie-up
Hottest virals: Cute puppies star in Pedigree ad, plus Idris Elba and Fruyo
Amnesty International burns candles to illuminate new hope
Toyota achieves the impossible by calming angry Roman drivers
Tom of Finland's 'homoerotic' drawings made into stamps
YouTube reveals user habits to appeal to 'older' marketers
Ex-M&S marketing chief Steven Sharp consulting at WPP
Wolff Olins reveals new CEO after Apple poaches Karl Heiselman
Glasgow offers £30,000 prize to best digital idea for 2014 Commonwealth Games
Google's revenues surge but shares drop as it grapples with transition to mobile
Facebook beats Twitter to most 'marketing friendly' social media site crown, says DMA
Fableists believe children like Finn should be outdoors enjoying life
Homebase, Baileys and Camelot join the line-up at Media360
MasterCard renews Rugby World Cup sponsorship to push cashless message