Unilever’s Sunlight, once a soap (invented in 1884) is now a range of laundry products is now Africa’s second largest FMCG brand after Coca-Cola it seems. So winning the brand across Africa after a competitive pitch is a welcome coup for WPP.
WPP says its Team Unilever/Africa offered a “simple, integrated solution drawing on strengths from WPP agencies J. Walter Thompson, Ogilvy, The Hardy Boys and Scanad.” Other WPP companies, including media agency Mindshare, will also be involved.
COO Mark Read (below) says: “Reflecting WPP’s global approach for Unilever, WPP Team Sunlight is a simple solution that embraces people from different agencies, markets and areas of speciality to produce the most creative and effective work for the client.
“We are delighted to have been entrusted with the stewardship of this iconic brand across the African continent.”
Team Unilever/Africa sounds remarkably like former CEO Sir Martin Sorrell’s ‘horizontality’ (now firmly ensconced on the naughty step at WPP) but one man’s horizontality is another’s collaboration. WPP CEO-in-waiting Mark Read has said his priority is to make WPP work better rather than dramatically changing the structure and this big Unilever win will be a feather in his cap.
Especially as the business has, presumably, been awarded by Unilever’s powerful CMO Keith Weed, vital to WPP’s prospects in the near future.