CANNES: Unilever, the FMCG giant, will receive the prestigious "advertiser of the year" award at this year's Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival.

This annual honour is given out to brand owners that consistently deliver "inspiring innovative marketing of their products and who embrace and encourage the creative work produced by their agencies".

Volkswagen, the German automaker, received this title in 2009, with Procter & Gamble, one of Unilever's main rivals, picking up this prize in 2008.

"The long-standing relationships we have built with our agency partners over many years have enabled us to develop many striking, and more importantly, effective advertising campaigns," Keith Weed, Unilever's chief marketing officer, said.

"The depth of our relationships has engendered the trust required to foster the genuine strategic thinking, creativity and innovation that delivers both long-term brand equity and outstanding work."

Unilever claimed its first Cannes Lion in 1961 for a campaign run by Omo, its washing powder range, and has since gone on to collect some 200 such awards.

Dove's viral video "Evolution" was one of the company's most-lauded marketing efforts in recent times, while Marmite's tongue-in-cheek "Love it or hate it" platform has also proved successful.

"Over the years, Unilever's marketing has been renowned for embracing the creativity and innovation that has driven the powerful work that its agencies have produced," Terry Savage, the Cannes Lions International Advertising festival chairman, said.

The owner of Knorr and Pot Noodle has recently announced a global co-creation drive covering 13 brands across its portfolio.

Simon Clift, Unilever's out-going chief marketing officer, has also put a heavy emphasis on using social media as a tool to connect with consumers.

In the last year, the company undertook a high-profile review of its media roster around the world, with Mindshare coming out on top in both the US and Western Europe.

PHD won out in China and retained Eastern European duties, while Mediabrands is now charged with planning and buying in Latin America, Russia and Mexico.

Elsewhere, Unilever has been one of the pioneers of value-based agency remuneration models, along with Procter & Gamble and Coca-Cola.

Data sourced from Guardian/Campaign; additional content by Warc staff