Unilever taps consumers for creative ideas

  • Business
  • Wednesday, 19 Sep 2012

SINGAPORE: Consumer product giant Unilever has begun to tap consumers for creative ideas as part of its marketing communications strategy.

Its global managers revealed at a seminar during the Spikes Asia Festival of Creativity on Sunday that the company had used consumer creativity in campaigns for two of its top brands, Closeup and Pond's. It did this by issuing challenges online to the eyeKa co-creation community which comprised over 200,000 creative people from 146 countries.

Global brand manager (Closeup) Ishita Sharma said the Closeup oral care brand, which targets young adults (age 18-24 years old), issued a single-minded brief to the community: show how confidence creates a better choice in “the moments that matter” such as when trying to get close to someone else.

Among the creative videos received was one showing a man stranded on an island who failed to attract the attention of a passing ship as he frantically waved a big branch. He then used Closeup toothpaste and got the ship captain's attention by flashing SOS using his bright set of teeth.

“What traditional marketers do today is storytelling; the agency's creative team comes up with three to five ideas which are then put into testing. What we (Closeup) increasingly have started doing is move towards a situation of storybuilding,” Sharma said.

“When we briefed the larger community of eyeKa, we had access to creative juices from 200,000-plus creative minds sitting across 146 countries. So we now got hundreds of ideas to put into research testing.

“Importantly, through a single process now, we are able to get both stimulus (insights) and content (creative output), which didn't happen before.”

Besides leading to an idea explosion, this new model would make the company become a better listener to consumers, she added.

The consumer content received was used not only on its Internet sites but to create content for traditional media.

Unilever global marketing manager (Pond's) Neil Trinidad said love and romance had played a key role in the brand storytelling of Pond's, a 166-year-old face care brand.

Changing with the times, the company acknowledged that today's women were no longer just passive recipients of love, but could initiate love and romance if they wanted to.

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