Keith Weed talks Brand Safety; threatens to cut ads on digital platforms

Keith Weed, chief marketing officer Unilever, made the announcement in a speech at the annual Interactive Advertising Bureau conference in California.

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Feb 13, 2018 9:00 AM

Consumer goods giant Unilever, one of the world’s biggest advertisers, has threatened to pull investment from digital platforms such as Facebook and Google that “create division” in society or fail to protect children. In India alone, Hindustan Unilever Limited has an advertising budget of around Rs 3,000 cr, 15 % (Rs 450 cr) of which could account for the company’s digital spends. 
However, soon after the speech, Keith Weed, chief marketing officer Unilever tweeted saying, "Look forward to the continued collaboration with @facebook & @Google to build a digital eco system fit 4 the future"

Earlier in the day, Weed described online networks as "a swamp" mired with fabricated news, racist, sexist and extremist content in a speech Monday at the Interactive Advertising Bureau's annual leadership meeting in Palm Desert, California.

"As a brand-led business, Unilever needs its consumers to have trust in our brands," Weed said in a statement in advance of the speech. "We can't do anything to damage that trust — including the choice of channels and platforms we use. So, 2018 is the year when social media must win trust back."

He Tweeted: 

This announcement comes at a time when social media platform Facebook is being criticised for allowing external forces to influence the US elections. Facebook also recently noted that social media is detrimental to a democracy and is trying to make changes to its News Feed algorithm to give more priority to posts from social circles. Google's YouTube has also taken the brand safety purpose more seriously and has increased the threshold for monetisation of videos on its channels to keep out bad actors.  
Unilever has already been slashing its advertising spend, as it seeks to cut costs across the organization. It has cut the number of ads it makes and the number of agencies it works with.

Google, a unit of tech giant Alphabet, and Facebook are estimated to have taken half of online ad revenue worldwide in 2017 and more than 60 percent in the United States, according to research firm eMarketer.

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