Unilever ups use of interactive ads

24 April 2009

ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS: Unilever, the consumer goods giant, is increasing the number of interactive TV ads it runs in the US, and has been able to demonstrate that DVRs are not "a marketer's worst nightmare," according to Anne Jensen, its brand-building director.

As previously reported, Unilever is attempting to increase its presence on social media as it tries to engage with consumers, and it has been argued that DVRs offer another means of achieving this aim.

The Anglo-Dutch firm has developed its interactive advertising strategy over the last two years, and ran an equivalent of a TV "upfront" when buying slots for the platform in late 2008.

Jensen said that while ad-skipping technology has caused some anxiety among marketers, successful interactive communications require "making the remote control our friend."

Recently, Unilever has launched a new interactive campaign for its deodorant brand Axe on DirecTV, the American satellite broadcaster.

This allows viewers watching the relevant spots to opt to watch a video, identify the appropriate Axe scent for them, and even suggests practical jokes they can play on their friends.

Tracking data linked to these ads allow the company to establish how many people have chosen to utilise the interactive option, which specific features they have used, and for how long.

As such, Jensen argues, the "medium can be quite flexible in terms of we optimise our campaigns and improve it as we go along."

Data sourced from New York Times; additional content by WARC staff