Unilever's alliance with JCDecaux, which spreads across 22 countries, is a reflection of its increased commitment to outdoor and will enable it to co-ordinate campaigns for all of its brands across JCDecaux's range of advertising formats. The deal will cover street furniture, billboard and transport advertising.
Unilever's worldwide head of media, Alan Rutherford, said: "As a communication channel, outdoor is becoming increasingly important in helping Unilever connect with its customers."
Edwina Sharpe, Unilever's UK media manager, together with other local media managers, will co-ordinate the relationship. The poster specialist the Alban Group will handle poster buying. Xavier Dupre, the managing director of JCDecaux One Stop Shop, will manage the alliance from London.
Jean-Francois Decaux, the chairman and chief executive of JCDecaux, said: "It is excellent news that Unilever, the world's largest advertiser, recognises the role of the outdoor advertising medium as a vital part of its communications strategy. JCDecaux has the infrastructure to deliver a cohesive campaign across all of Europe and beyond."
The alliance is a boost to JCDecaux a fortnight after unveiling results that showed net profits halving to £6 million last year. In the UK, however, its revenues rose 12.8 per cent. It hopes to extend the relationship with Unilever to a global basis as it expands in the US and Asia.
JCDecaux's rival outdoor company, Maiden, has also announced a fall in profit from £13 million in 2000 to £6.7 million last year. This was despite its sales remaining steady at £80.3 million.