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Unilever set to use mobile advertising as it doubles its digital advertising spend

Global brand organisation Unilever has announced its intentions to use mobile advertising in order to promote some of its top brands in a bid to reach a younger age range, and will double its digital advertising spend this year.

The company has said it has recognised the growing take up of the mobile marketplace and is looking to enter it as early as it can, resulting in it becoming the first consumer company to advertise on iAd, Apple’s new advertising platform.

The advert, for soap and skincare brand Dove Men +Care will appear in sports and music apps and will allow consumers to create a personalised voice message using the voice of a Major League Baseball star which can be passed onto friends.

The plan is to create a similar style of advert for its ice cream brand Ben & Jerry’s too.

iAD was launched by Apple of Thursday and will work with brands to create interactive adverts, with Walt Disney already committing $60 million of consumer spending.

Ian Maude, head of internet at Enders Analysis said that companies such as Proctor and Gamble and Unilever would use the platform in order to engage with consumers more directly but that he also believed that traditional forms of advertising would continue to be important to their marketing mix.

“Large companies, such as Proctor and Gamble, have traditionally had an ‘arms length’ relationship with consumers interacting only through the retailer or the media owner, particularly through the magazines which they’ve used very heavily as well as TV advertising. The internet has changed all of that. This is a much more direct and engaged extension of that.”

Maude continued to say that digital advertising was opening up new channels of communications between consumers and brands.

“P&G announced a few weeks ago that the internet was now over 10 percent of its advertising budget which seems like quite a milestone. It is interesting looking at Facebook where so many brands have pages on Facebook and are building social media strategies around that and trying to engage with their audience and customers.”

Despite this, Maude said that he did not believe that many companies had yet discovered how to assess ROI through their use of social media.

Unilever has a budget of £3.4 billion for international advertising and promotion with digital advertising understood to be of growing interest as online awareness, along with audience figures, grow.

Mark Mason, CEO of Mubaloo told The Drum that he believes Unilever’s decision to start using mobile as a marketing platform will be a ‘huge boost’ for the online industry. He added that, with the boom in the sale of Smart phones in the last year, many large and small scale companies had begun to make use of it as an advertising platform.

“The majority of people in the UK will be using a smartphone within 18 months time,” predicted Mason. “This has created enormous demand for apps in the market. Suddenly brands have access to a very sophisticated computer in their consumer’s pocket. Apps either save time or kill time. Some are pure entertainment, others are great utilities.

Apps therefore not only create great brand-extension experiences but they will also provide invaluable usage analytics for the marketing teams to pore over," he added.

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