IQ News: Like Butter: Unilever Brand Goes For Romance on AOL

The banners, which began running late last week, feature the brand’s spokesman, Fabio, and two female heroines who appear in 1950s-style romance comic book episodes. They lead to a jump page that completes the story and links to I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!’s love-themed Web site,, which launched in 1996.
The campaign “combines the passion for romance and the passion for food,” said Sherri Vinton, senior account manager at New York-based Thunder House, the interactive division of McCann-Erickson, traditional agency for the brand. Using romance imagery, the banners begin with a character saying “I Can’t Believe” and lead into a love story.
Perry Brown, senior brand manager with Unilever subsidiary Thomas J. Lipton Co., Englewood Cliffs, N.J., said the comics ads are on a trial run “to get our feet wet” and try different channels before deciding what should be continued in 1999.
Anglo-Dutch Unilever plans to promote 100 brands over the three years of the AOL alliance, which it formed in July. Ragu, shampoo line Salon Selectives and Mentadent are among the brands included in the deal. The packaged goods company also has a multi-million dollar agreement with Microsoft to boost use of the Internet for advertising mainstream consumer products.
In addition to creating animated banners, Thunder House also created buttons to run on America Online’s e-mail screen, which can only run static images. According to creative director Steve Coulson, the brand’s online campaign builds on its offline efforts. “It’s about involvement with the brand,” he said. “You immerse yourself in the romance.”