01 February 1999

THE WORLD’S second largest advertiser [after Procter & Gamble] plans to invest an additional £200m into advertising and promotions, after Unilever’s annual results revealed sagging sales in many of its national markets. Despite this, net profit margins rose to a record high of 7%, vindicating the group’s restructuring strategy of recent years. Unilever also revealed plans to reduce its reliance on TV - reported to be 80% of its estimated $3.3 billion global media spend - diverting revenues into alternative media such as direct marketing and the Internet. A strategic marketing review is under way, jointly conducted by worldwide media and advertising directors Alan Rutherford and Michael Brockbank. Other marketing options under consideration are event ownership, investment in digital TV and the development of new media channels.