Unilever yesterday revealed it was scrutinising its adspend and would give priority to its most important products, warning that the attacks on the US would affect its business.

In a pre-close conference call concerning the first two months of the group’s third quarter, Unilever said “the tragic events of September 11 pose particular challenges” to its perfume and US food services divisions, which were “already starting to feel the impact of a poorer economic environment.”

These units account for under 4% of Unilever’s turnover, and overall full-year earnings growth before exceptionals and goodwill amortisation is still expected to hit the “low double-digit” target, although Q3’s earnings are forecast to be flat.

“Within our more cautious view of the immediate future we are making choices as to where our [advertising and promotion] investment is committed,” said Unilever. “It’s behind the key drivers of long term growth and those innovations that are expected to contribute the most to the building of brand equity. Allied to this we continue to benefit from falling media rates and our own ongoing media productivity initiatives.”

News sources: Financial Times; Unilever website