Between the lines: A balancing act for Unilever

Unilever's share price has been sliding, hovering around 445p as Campaign went to press, since the company's profits warning last month, which came with an admission that key brands need greater marketing support. The unveiling of the company's third-quarter results this week will do little to reassure the City: underlying sales fell 1.3 per cent.

Now Unilever is expected to confirm an increase in its adspend (page 6) and a greater focus on brand-building and price promotion. But details of the boost are likely to coincide with the belated announcement of Unilever's decision on its pan-European media review - MindShare, Carat and Initiative have pitched.

Unilever will require a nifty bit of PR footwork to position these two strategies side by side: the review is designed to slash £40 million from Unilever's media spend. Persuading hostile analysts that such a relentless pursuit of cost-cutting will help drive improved, effective marketing initiatives is a challenge worthy of the country's biggest advertiser.

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