Unilever, the UK’s top TV advertiser, is understood to be considering a
major shift in media strategy by testing direct response TV across a
number of its brands.
Four major divisions within the company, which spends around pounds 230
million a year on TV, are believed to be planning to test a variety of
alternatives to spot advertising on selected brands on Channel 4.
Unilever is to discuss its plans at a private workshop with Channel 4,
Initiative Media, its media agency, and the through-the-line specialist,
Claydon Heeley, next month.
The Unilever divisions - Elida Gibbs, Lever Brothers, Van den Bergh
Foods and Birds Eye - will be offered a range of alternatives to spot
ads as well as DRTV, such as door drops and sampling.
The move marks another radical departure for the soaps-to-food giant
which last year announced it was moving into programme making (Campaign,
25 August 1995).
Unilever has already experimented with DRTV on Pond’s face creams and I
Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, but the latest move could embrace the
Phil Georgiadis, chief executive at Initiative Media, said: ‘It’s
standard practice to inform clients about all areas of media. Our
innovation centre is briefed to explore all areas of communication.’
Fmcg advertisers are among the most recent converts to DRTV, led by
Britvic with its famous Apple Tango helpline ads through Howell Henry
Martini recently started using DRTV as part of its ‘beautiful people’
campaign. Spillers Petfoods used DRTV in a branding campaign for its
relaunch of Purrfect, and McVities is currently running an eight-week
Channel 4 has worked hard to promote the use of DRTV. Last year, in
conjunction with BT, it carried out research into DRTV usage in the UK.
The study showed that 20 per cent of ads carried a telephone response