Unilever is setting up training courses for senior agency staff and
enrolling around 100 of its UK ad agency executives to sharpen the
competitive edge of the consumer goods firm.
The plan, which also involves training 1500 of its own middle- to
senior-level executives, is to build more consumer research into
Chairman Niall FitzGerald is keen for the company’s pounds 2.2bn global
ad budget to be spent more carefully as Unilever anticipates a drop in
revenue from recession.
This will mean Unilever managing its marketing effort in a similar way
to arch-rival Procter & Gamble, well known for its research-led
The programme is designed to improve ad effectiveness. Recent Unilever
ads have stressed product benefits more heavily. Campaigns such as
Ammirati Puris Lintas’ work for Flora have been designed to link with
sponsorship, in Flora’s case with the London Marathon.
Approximately 100 UK executives from Unilever’s worldwide roster
agencies, Ogilvy & Mather, J Walter Thompson, APL and BBDO Worldwide
will be expected to attend training sessions.
Michael Brockbank, Unilever’s vice-president of advertising, told
Marketing that the project will be introduced in the first quarter of
next year as a training programme.
He said that the company has been reviewing the way it works and, ’while
we are not reading the riot act’ to agencies, wants to improve the speed
with which it gets its ads to market and their quality.
A major element of the programme will include ’improved quality control’
checks between marketing departments and agencies, to get the two to
work closer together, said the source.