Unilever CMO Keith Weed cracks down on influencer marketing

By Luke Anisimoff | 19 June 2018
Keith Weed

With both the scale and scope of influencer marketing growing constantly, the CMO of Unilever, Keith Weed, chose the Cannes Lions Festival to announce the company's commitment to fight fraud in the digital ecosystem.

This move is set to create a better experience for consumers, while pushing for more transparency in the influencer marketing space.

With influencer marketing holding ever greater importance for brands in engaging with consumers, Unilever recognises it is time for the industry to avoid bad practices such as fake followers, bots, fraud or dishonest business models, as these can erode truth in the whole ecosystem.

With marketers having, at the moment, limited scope to precisely measure how far an influencer can actually engage with an audience, Unilever is looking to work alongside social platforms for increased visibility and transparency.
As such, Weed announced that their three commitments are:

  • Transparency from Influencers: We will not work with influencers who buy followers.
  • Transparency from Brands: Our brands will never buy followers.
  • Transparency from Platforms: We will prioritise partners who increase transparency and help eradicate bad practices throughout the whole ecosystem.

Speaking for one of the world’s largest advertisers – with an annual brand and marketing investment of more than € 7 billion (almost AUD$11 billion) – Weed stated that, as of February, Unilever would avoid any platform that incites hate, spreads division or fails to protect children.

Unilever will also only partner with responsible platforms so as to create a positive impact on society.

“In February, I said we needed to rebuild trust back into our digital ecosystems and wider society,” Weed said.

“One of the ways we can do that is to increase integrity and transparency in the influencer space. We need to address this through responsible content, responsible platforms and responsible infrastructure.

“At Unilever, we believe influencers are an important way to reach consumers and grow our brands. Their power comes from a deep, authentic and direct connection with people, but certain practices like buying followers can easily undermine these relationships.”

He went on to state: “We need to take urgent action now to rebuild trust before it’s gone forever.” 

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