Unilever CMO No Longer a Fan of Advertising

By Shawn Paul Wood 


Maybe not so much?

Unilever stays fairly busy with a range of products running the gamut from food to personal care to just about anything that requires advertising to maintain its market share.


According to a blog post in the Wall Street Journal (and a stage appearance at Cannes-Lions), Unilever CMO Keith Weed is a bit terse about the industry’s new digital direction. Weed believes that advertising “is chaos and is only going to get worse.”

0227p30-Weed-Keith-Unilever-CMOAccording to Mr.Weed, more has happened in the past five years to advertising and marketing than in the previous 25 years combined…and this change has not been for the better.

It’s no secret that marketers have been forced to evolve from 30-second TV ads to multimedia mindsets. On that point, Weed posed some challenges to the Cannes-Lions crowd:

“I ask you all to think long and hard about how we simplify this. I could create a TV ad this week and show it in a hundred countries next week. I can’t do that with a mobile ad,” he added. “In the old days I could go to one agency that would meet all my advertising needs. Not today. It’s a specialist world now, and the threat of fragmentation is real. We need to bring together all these parts and find ways to lead with brands and not channels.”

He went on to discuss another challenge in the industry: the ability to continue to attract and “unlock” creative talent.

Historically creative talent gravitated towards agencies, Weed said, but it now has a variety of other options. As a result, agencies are now competing with companies such as Google, Facebook and Twitter for creative minds and ideas, alongside a myriad startups. Marketing and advertising is no longer the obvious choice.

…now discuss among yourselves.