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Unilever cuts, debunking Millenials, the ‘Nutcracker’ ad with Spob and Freddie and more Ron Burgundy

Keith_Weed_Brandtone_tcm13-371930Less is more seems to be the current marketing mantra at Unilever with CMO Keith Weed (left) telling an investor conference that he plans to cut agency and production fees to around 20 per cent of the zillions the company spends on marketing and, sharing the pain, cut 12 per cent of marketing jobs.

This, of course, will make the company leaner, meaner, fitter, better and all those other things. Which rather makes you wonder what all those marketing bods have been doing all these years.

Unilever, like its long-time rival Procter & Gamble, has been struggling a bit recently (P&G has been doing worse, it’s just about becalmed). Maybe these companies have become just too big; trying to do too many things in too many markets and not doing many of them all that well – a bit like Tesco in UK retail.

Some of the shareholders Weed was talking to might take the view that the company should therefore flog off its non-performing bits. There is a wall of private equity money out there that would fancy its chances of driving performance better.

Which might not be quite what Weed intended.

*** New research, The Millennial Index, from Bite and Redshift Research, attempts to explode a few myths about so-called Millenials, people between 17 and 31 in this case. So here we (they) go:

MYTH: All Millennials spend their lives on Social Media

TRUTH: Only a minority (41%) spend more than three hours a week on Facebook while 43% don’t use Twitter at all. For those that do spend a lot of time online, they are not all busy organising their social lives, instead they are researching via work/study-related online forums and user groups.

MYTH: It’s all about smartphones and tablets – laptops and desktops are yesterday’s technology

TRUTH: 65% of Millennials spend more time accessing the internet via a laptop or desktop PC than via their smartphone or tablet.

MYTH: Millennials spend most of their time chatting on social media and texting each other

TRUTH: The average Millennial spends 108 hours a year browsing the internet for work/study (almost as much time as they spend texting) and 77 hours a year reading news online (more time than on Twitter (71 hours a year) and the 36 hours they spend looking at celebrity gossip).

MYTH: Millennials are obsessed with playing online games and have no time for books

TRUTH: 61% of female Millennials are more likely to spend their time reading books. Half of the male Millennials surveyed did list gaming as a hobby but reading books still ranked as a popular pastime with 37% of respondents.

And there’s lots more. Interesting stuff though. The full report is here.

***Still a bit perplexed by BBH’s blockbuster ‘Nutcracker’ ad for Baileys? Here’s a ‘making of’ YouTube film that’s attracted 30,000-odd views, which ain’t bad for a commercial.

I love these British production types. Here we have Spob (who’s called Spob?) and Freddie doin’ the hair and make-up. ‘Cos they all sound like cockneys. I suspect you have to sound like a cockney to get a gig on a British commercial, even if you’ve been educated at Roedean.

***Unknown-8This crowd-sourcing thing seems to be gathering pace: now Small Luxury Hotels of the World is launching competition to design a new logo (old one, left) with a prize/fee of £2500 (don’t think they’ve forgotten a nought) and three nights in one of their properties anywhere in the world (plus air fares, one hopes).

There’s a catch or two: you’ve got to use their gold colour, for example. Gold is a real killer of design ideas, everything looks like it’s been approved by Prince Charles. Competition details here.

***Isn’t this the ultimately pointless ad? By The Martin Agency for Mondelez’s Oreos. Rival Unilever says it’s going spend more on digital to bring down costs. On stuff like this? What do the bloody things taste like?

***We’ve rather remiss in our (non) reporting of the Ron Burgundy phenomenon (legendary anchorman Burgundy – played by Will Ferrell – has a new movie coming out in a couple of weeks) so thanks to Madam’s Michael Lee for putting us right. Michael has chosen Ron as his person of the year alongside his agency and ads (Ron has appeared in a funny Wieden & Kennedy campaign for Chrysler).

So here’s some more Ron (a Chrysler ad is in Michael’s piece).

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design contest featured Keith Weed Michael Lee millenials mondelez nutcracker ad oreos Ron Burgundy Spob and Freddie the martin agency unilever cuts

About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.
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