Unilever Weans Itself From The Tube

The Independent: Unilever disclosed yesterday that its global expenditure on traditional television advertisements had dropped by one-fifth over the past three years and was set to plummet further.
Alan Rutherford, the vice-president of global media at Unilever, one of the world’s largest advertisers, said the value of television advertising was dropping in the face of audience fragmentation and the proliferation of new channels.
Speaking at the biennial Royal Television Society conference in Cambridge, Rutherford said that advertisers have to spend 10 per cent more in the US to achieve the same ‘weight’ of impact available five years ago. ‘Advertisers cannot continue to fund that [traditional] type of television,’ he said, pointing to new platforms available to advertisers and their ability to create their own content. ‘The advertiser-dependent model can not survive. Those broadcasters who cannot resolve this will die.’
Mr Rutherford said Unilever would look at product placement in television programmes ” currently constrained by regulations ” or branding shows. He gave the example of Unilever’s Dove soap and beauty range as a product that could be incorporated into storylines. ‘Advertisers are rethinking the mix and that’s where the danger comes for traditional TV.’ John Pluthero, the chief executive of Energis, told the conference: ‘It’s about time TV came up with some ideas or it will keep going down 20 per cent.’

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. Product placement is bullshit.
    And they know it.
    They’re just trying to drive down prices.
    They’ll be back.