WPP’s Team Unilever Shopper Parts With Creatives in Chicago

By Patrick Coffee 

The WPP division dedicated to servicing Unilever’s shopper marketing needs parted ways with a small number of staffers this week, the company confirmed today.

According to two parties who reached out to us, the departures primarily hit the creative side of the team in Chicago.

“To support growth in an evolving landscape, Team Unilever Shopper made adjustments to reflect the client’s changing mix of work, and retailer needs; adding resources in the areas of ecommerce and Omni-Channel,” said Holly Meloy, evp and managing director at Team Unilever Shopper.

Meloy declined to elaborate. Our sources said approximately a dozen members of the creative team were let go.

For context, WPP launched TU in 2014 to develop an “aggregated customized approach” to the client’s shopper strategy. Here’s a reel explaining the concept.

Mirum and VMLY&R also worked on the creative side.

The move would appear to be in keeping with the big narrative in advertising as more clients, especially big spenders like Unilever, shift more money away from TV (or, in the case of shopper marketing, display, etc.) and into other areas more directly tied to revenue like mobile and ecommerce.

To further prove this point, TU’s Mindshare is hiring a new associate director of digital investment.

In its most recent earnings call, Unilever CEO Alan Jope said, “We’re going to continue our progress on the underlying operating margin through our relentless focus on saving programs and restructuring investments to take out costs. This is what will fuel continued competitiveness in the levels of our brand and marketing investment as well as driving our bottom line.”

The message is somewhat clear: opportunities in advertising remain—but not as many for “traditional” creatives.