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Unilever Dines with Time

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Unilever is taking a seat at the table with Time Inc.’s “Dinner Tonight.” The food giant will advertise seven of its brands across the publisher’s popular franchise which runs monthly in Cooking Light and daily at MyRecipes.com.

Under the agreement, Ragu, Hellmann’s, Country Crock, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!, Wish-Bone, Knorr and Bertolli pasta sauces will be promoted across Time Inc.’s “Dinner Tonight” print, online and mobile properties.

The strategy is indicative of Unilever’s new approach in dealing with media partners. Like many in the packaged goods arena, Unilever has been challenging key publishing partners to take campaigns beyond their magazines.

Publishers must offer advertising solutions that thrive beyond the print world, said Unilever’s North American media director, Rob Master. “We tell them, ‘Don’t just come back with a bunch of insert pages.’ They have terrific assets, whether it be mobile or digital, and we want to leverage those.”

Unilever, likewise, wants to capitalize on the eat-at-home trend. An advertorial in this month’s issue of Cooking Light, for instance, positions Ragu as a key ingredient in a recipe called “Mama’s best ever spaghetti & meatballs.” Opposite is a full-page ad for Ragu that reads: “Spaghetti and meatballs for less than two dollars a serving? With Ragu, your kids get more than a full serving of veggies that they’ll actually love to eat.”

Issues of Cooking Light also will include in-book, recipe-themed shopping lists.

Online, Cooking Light editors explain how to incorporate the brand into different recipes in a series of Web videos. Unilever products will be integrated into recipes on MyRecipes.com.

A mobile application launching this week allows consumers to browse more than 30,000 recipes across MyRecipes.com.

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