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Blog

Tuesday 2¢: Unilever Shows that our Marketing Budgets can Change the World (seriously!)

Unilever Shows that our Marketing Budgets can Change the World (seriously!)

Welcome to the Tuesday 2¢ . It’s Tuesday, the weekend is a distant memory and it’s time to let off some steam and give our 2 cents on a hot industry topic. This week Ian Truscott is inspired by some well intentioned marketing action from Unilever.


According to Statista , the world spent around $600bn on advertising in 2017.

Previously in this column , a couple of my articles have talked about how much creative good can be done with our collective marketing money, instead of creepily remarketing the heck out of people or creating reams of boring content which can be read by the big Google machine. With this cash, our industry could create, for example, 2,500 Star Wars films (or maybe 60,000 Lady Bird’s ).

So maybe we don’t choose to be creative, maybe we put this cash toward being useful and help change the lives of the content consumers. At $75/hour for singing lessons, the $600bn in our back pockets could follow through on Coca Cola’s promise and genuinely teach the world to sing.

OK, maybe that’s not so useful.

But I write this because someone with a massive advertising budget has done just that, they are doing something useful which could actually change people’s lives.

Of course, I am referring to the hot news today that Unilever is flexing its marketing budget muscle to encourage social media websites to get their collective act together regarding social responsibility, as they threaten to pull ads from Facebook and Google – or, as quoted in AdAge , digital platforms which "breed division in society or fail to protect children".

Again according to AdAge, in a statement issued ahead of his speech, Unilever Chief Marketing Officer Keith Weed said that: "As a brand-led business, Unilever needs its consumers to have trust in our brands. We can't do anything to damage that trust—including the choice of channels and platforms we use. So, 2018 is the year when social media must win that trust back."

Grasping the social responsibility nettle for these billion-dollar social media businesses has been something which governments have found hard to do, due to the cross-border nature of these businesses. But an advertising budget knows no such boundaries, and decisions by an international organization like Unilever becomes our unlikely champion.

BUT – however much heft Unilever brings to this, astonishingly it is only a drop in the ocean, as Sam Barker from Juniper Research shares in this BBC news article :

The advertising ecosystem contains so many players, so for Facebook and Google to see any dent in the profits they make, there will need to be many companies that not only put their hat in the ring, but also follow through on these threats.

But, it’s a start!

And a sight better than my ideas for more Star Wars films and a world of singers…

Ian Truscott Ian Truscott

Ian Truscott has the unofficial and honory title of the “Träger des Firmen-Megaphons” for censhare, bringing 20 years of B2B software experience to our company (surely starting as a child) to lead marketing here. Luckily for us in the Munich office, he’s found the kettle and some tea bags – look at him, he’s happy.

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