Unilever Taps Goodby

Shop To Launch ‘natural’ Personal Care Line
SAN FRANCISCO–Goodby, Silverstein & Partners has been tapped by global packaged goods giant Unilever to handle the launch in early 1999 of a new “natural” line of personal care products for men and women, said sources.
Unilever Home & Personal Care North America, headquartered in New York, is expected to back the rollout with at least $20 million in ad spending. The as-yet-unnamed line will be launched into the $4 billion personal care products industry during the first quarter of next year, said sources.
Goodby has been working on the project for months, sources said, and was awarded the assignment without a review. Executives of the San Francisco shop declined to comment. Unilever executives could not be reached.
Tapping Goodby for the first time marks a shift in ad strategy by the Anglo-Dutch company, which has traditionally relied on New York roster shops Ogilvy & Mather, J. Walter Thompson, DDB Needham and Ammirati Puris Lintas. The company last year contacted several outside shops, including TBWA Chiat/Day, for a brief search that was short-circuited by top Unilever executives, said sources.
Sources said Unilever’s new line will compete with products from The Body Shop, the Wake Forest, N.C., retailer of soaps, lotions, bath gels and other personal care products for both sexes. The Body Shop’s products are not tested on animals, and consist of natural ingredients such as hemp seed oil and fruit extracts.
Unilever may place its new line in drug stores and mass retail outlets such as Wal-Mart and Kmart to reach “primarily younger consumers, both male and female,” sources said. In this realm, Unilever would compete with companies like Dial Corp.-owned Freeman Cosmetics, Beverly Hills, Calif., which offers personal products made from natural elements like raspberries and wheat germ, as well as more traditional skin care marketers.
Goodby is “working on all aspects” of the Unilever assignment, and both TV and print ads are being considered for the 1999 campaign, said sources.
Unilever-owned Chesebrough-Ponds launched its own line of body care products last fall. The company backed that effort with more than $25 million in marketing support in the U.S. alone.