Unilever CMO reveals trio of pledges to weed out bad adland practices

Pippa Chambers
By Pippa Chambers | 13 February 2018
Keith Weed

Unilever CMO Keith Weed has revealed a trio of brand pledges as the powerful firm attempts to help clean up the advertising industry.

Speaking at the IAB Annual Leadership Meeting in Palm Desert California, on Monday, the top marketer at Unilever, one of the world’s largest advertisers, spoke about its commitments of responsibility through platforms, content and infrastructure.

The address, which in part was aimed at the likes of YouTube, Facebook and other tech platforms, urged the tech giants to ensure clean practices as it will only spend with trustworthy partners.

“Unilever will not invest in platforms or environments that do not protect our children or which create division in society, and promote anger or hate,” Weed said.

“We will prioritise investing only in responsible platforms that are committed to creating a positive impact in society.”

AdNews understands that Unilever is not cutting spend with Facebook, has made no indication of plans to do so, but his remarks act as a stark warning to 'keep it clean' as Unilever is watching.

His second pledge was around gender diversity, an issue that has long plagued the media and advertising industry given the lack of senior women in certain roles, as well as pay gap discrepancies.

“Unilever is committed to tackling gender stereotype in advertising through #Unstereotype, and championing this across the industry through #SeeHer and the #Unstereotype Alliance,” Weed said.

Lastly, he said Unilever will only partner with organisations who are “committed to creating better digital infrastructure”, such as one measurement system and improving the consumer experience, from targeting to delivery.

The brand leveraging its spending power to push the digital media industry can only be seen as a good thing and a reminder to the global tech giants that they do not hold all the cards.

Weed said he wants to work privately with the tech players to come up with better solutions.

A Google spokesperson said: "Keith has always pushed us and the industry to be better. There is nothing we take more seriously than the trust and safety of our users, customers and partners, and we will continue to work to earn that trust every day."

A Facebook spokesperson concurred, saying: “We fully support Unilever’s commitments and are working closely with them.”


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