Unilever has inked a multi-million dollar cross-platform advertising and marketing partnership with AOL Time Warner, covering its online, on-air and print media.
The multi-year deal, which follows an earlier online alliance between the two in 1998, incorporates four main strands of cooperation.
They are: cross-platform consumer ad programs; the use of AOL Time Warner's custom publishing capabilities to develop consumer relationship marketing campaigns; information sharing on emerging technology and media platforms, and the establishment of a multi-disciplinary team to develop new business opportunities across platforms.
The alliance will approach international marketing opportunities under a similar strategic framework.
AOL Time Warner properties involved in the agreement include various America Online interactive brands, Turner Broadcasting System media, such as TBS, TNT and The WB Television Network, and the Time Inc. print titles.
According to industry sources, this alliance with AOL Time Warner will accelerate the process of squeezing more value from Unilever's media spend across the globe.
"This is a groundbreaking agreement that goes beyond simply agreeing to a traditional multi-platform media deal," says Charles Strauss, president and CEO of Unilever U.S. "Our two companies will work together, both in the U.S. and Europe, on customizing brand growth and marketing strategies to drive our leading brands."
Ad programs have already been developed with AOL Time Warner for Unilever brands Snuggle and Dove, and for Unilever Bestfoods' multi-brand effort for Hunger-free America.
The new partnership will incorporate knowledge sharing in platform innovation to help shape future technology and standards. Unilever's main contribution to this area will be work conducted in its Digital Futures laboratory, based in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, which aims to develop mobile and inhome technology solutions for consumers.