McIntyre Rants: Unilever, we do crap ads

3 November 2011

Good Lord. Unilever Australia’s chief marketing officer, Peter Boone, had one or two people excited at the Caxtons Awards in the Hunter Valley last week when he publicly admitted from the podium that the consumer goods giant did a lot of crap ads. Not all but a lot. Well, that’s our parlance. Boone was a little more sophisticated than that but all marketing directors should heed his words. Boone’s argument boiled down to a basic one: there is so much being thrown at people these days if you don’t get their attention, you’re not going to be heard. Be smart. Be clever. Be creative. Then you'll get noticed. Let’s hear what Boone said last week:

“The problem with our work with Unilever and probably why we are not winning anything this evening is we often are very good with our message. We crack the kind of motivation drivers of the consumer; we try to understand what is common across the world or in certain clusters and then we make work which is good on message but often quite lousy on engagement.” So far so good. And there’s more.

“I can’t succeed in Australia if I just move this kind of global work in TV and believe that it’s going to drive consumer behaviour. If you don’t engage, if you don’t disrupt that consumer, I think we’ll will never have the attention we need to really have the dialogue, that engagement and really craft the brands driving our business.” Well said Mr Boone, who then went on to explain why he had appointed a local creative partner, Droga5, to help the agenda.

Paul McIntyre

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