Unilever’s global start-up platform the Foundry will help the FMCG giant “stay ahead of the game” and strengthen its positioning as a leader in the industry, according to senior vice president of global marketing Marc Mathieu.
Speaking to The Drum following a live pitch session at Ad Tech London, which saw industry chiefs from Unilever, Diageo, Shop Direct and Havas crown start-up Seenit as The Next Big Thing, Mathieu said the Foundry is just as much about playing a leadership role in innovation as maintaining its position in the industry.
“The goal is for us, as one of the biggest marketing companies in the world and the second largest advertiser, on one hand staying ahead of the game but it’s also about playing a leadership role in showing the future, and showing how corporations can actually help scale up what’s already happening.
“So there are lots of initiatives around brands and companies working with start-ups, but the Foundry does it at a scale of 400 brands at Unilever and it therefore provides an acceleration platform for us, for the start-ups, and even for the start-ups that are not working with us and for other brands and other companies.”
Mathieu added that the Unilever Foundry is “very keen” on the internet of things area and what the space may mean for the future of its brands, which includes Magnum, Dove and Flora, and the that FMCG is particularly interested in solutions for sustainable living.
“Given that a lot of our products are consumed in the home or purchased in store, the whole internet of things is clearly an area we are very keen on,” he said. “I’m a huge believer and very interested in everything related to data, so really understating how data is going to enable us to contextualise and personalise experience and the relationship with people on their terms and not just our terms is interesting.
“Last but not least is sustainability; so a sustainable lifestyle, helping people change their behaviours through new start-up technology.”
Presenting The Next Big Thing award to start-up Seenit, which helps brands and organisations to create video with their audiences, Mathieu said the “usability” on a daily basis meant the app has very “strong potential”.