AnalogFolk looks like the big winner so far in Unilever’s bid to cut back the number of agencies it uses with its appointment as digital agency of record for food brands including Marmite, Knorr, Pot Noodle, Hellmann’s, Colman’s and Bovril.
It displaces about 20 agencies previously working on Unilever’s diverse portfolio which used to include its spreads business, sold to KKR in December.
Unilever’s John Walbanke says: “We need a strong digital partner who can deliver digital brand strategy and experiences that exceed the expectations of our customers. AnalogFolk have the right creative mind-set, strategic muscle and understand the rewards to be delivered from this cross-category approach.”
AnalogFolk also works for Unilever on a number of haircare and home care brands.
Along with its FMCG peers Unilever has been trying to save money on agency fees, not least because there’s growing evidence that sales of branded products are in decline as consumers switch to new craft or artisan products, which they’re happy to buy online. Amazon’s Whole Foods increased its sales by about 30 per cent in the run-up to Christmas.
The poser for Unilever and others is how to continue to develop creative work with the required cut-through when such new ad arrangements seem mostly driven by procurement. It has set up a network of about 30 studios with on-site specialist Oliver, the other big winner so far in the changes. But getting more for less is as difficult in marketing as most other commercial activities.