Unilever, the globe’s third largest marketer by spend, is to invest over $100 million (€89.8m; £63.1m) advertising on Russian Federation TV channels in one of that region’s biggest ever ad deals.

The Anglo-Dutch colossus has agreed a four-year pact with ad sales group Video International, the dominant force in Russian TV advertising with a 70% share of the market.

VI sells space for a host of channels in Russia, Belorussia and Ukraine. The tie-up will see Unilever products promoted on channels in all three countries.

Sergei Vasiliev, VI’s general director, revealed it is the lengthiest agreement the firm has ever made. “Until now,” he said, “the longest contracts [three years] were with Mars and Wimm-Bill-Dann Foods, which will expire at the end of 2004.”

Unilever seems equally content with the alliance. “We consider this deal is one of the best on the market,” said the fmcg giant’s Russian corporate affairs director Maxim Pavlushin.

Last year Unilever spent an estimated $30m on advertising in Russia, a figure expected to rise in 2003. According to Vasiliev, the ad deal with VI assumes continuing growth in the Russian market over the coming years.

Data sourced from: BrandRepublic (UK); additional content by WARC staff