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How Unilever is leveraging mobile to change consumer behaviour

Unilever, one of the world’s largest FMCG manufacturers, is placing mobile messaging at the heart of everything it does, most importantly how it communicates with consumers, and is now mulling a global roll out of a WhatsApp-based service for its Hellmann's brand initially launched in Brazil.   

Speaking at this year’s Mobile World Congress, Unilever VP of global media in Europe and the Americas, Sarah Mansfield presented the FMCG giant’s attitudes towards employing mobile into its media mix modelling citing different activities from around the world.  

During the presentation she discussed an engagement programme for its Hellmann’s brand in Brazil called WhatsCook where it would send users recipes via the Facebook-owned messaging service once they send pictures of their ingredients (see video).

The service was performed by a team of chefs, and the decision to launch was taken when research told Unilever that four out of five people haven’t decided what they are going to eat in the evening on a daily basis, according to Mansfield.

All the recipes featured Hellmann's with Mansfield claiming the initiative generated huge amounts of online buzz and PR. She added: “We know that 52 per cent of consumers are less likely to engage with us if they have a bad experience on mobile.”  

As to where the FMCG giant wants to take the campaign, she noted that this idea was scalable.

“We’re not in the business of developing niche activities, we’re in the business of scalable opportunities,” she told attendees.

However, when quizzed on paid-for mobile media opportunities, she expressed deep concerns about viewability of ads on mobile, as well as fraud. “Viewability and verification, it’s a real concern that rates are about 50 per cent [that ads can be seen],” she added.  

Featured by The Drum