Raahil Chopra
Jun 22, 2016

Cannes Lions 2016: "It's not a moral issue, it's a creative one. We want to un-stereotype": Keith Weed

Unilever's chief marketing and communications officer took stage on 22 June to reflect on the future of brands

Cannes Lions 2016:
"Brands are an integral part of our life", said Keith Weed, chief marketing and communications officer of Unilever, as he took stage on 22 June at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2016. 
Professing his love for magic (creative) and logic (data) as an engineer-turned-CMO, Weed proposed a 3-i formula for marketers: 'individuals', 'influencers' and 'impacts'.
Calling for CMOs to play the role of both chief micro and chief macro officers, Weed said, "Technology has allowed us to move from mass to massive customisation. Marketing is about individuals now.” 
Noting that the FMCG giant needed to connect with billions of people but also different kinds of people, he added, “We need to be both chief micro and chief macro officers. We have to engage people locally and globally. When you combine both, that's where the magic is."
He cited the example of a film for Axe's repositioning. 
"76 million people have seen this film. We've done films like this for years and will continue doing this. But, we will also do stuff for individuals. If data is used for programmatic buying by media agencies, then why can't we use it for creativity," questioned Weed, before showcasing a case for Axe in Brazil titled Romeo Reboot, a film which has 1,00,000 versions. 
"This film that got a 170 per cent increase in tension, showed that if you show stuff that people are interested in, they watch it for longer," said the speaker.
The second 'I' he proposed was influencers, be it a celebrity, social media expert or thought leader.
Magnum Double launch
He explained, "We had to engage people to launch Magnum Double. The film engaged people. Then we got Kendall Jenner to magnify this with on Twitter. If you use influencers on Twitter there's a 5.2x increase in engagement." 
Moving to the next example, he added, "It's not just celebrities. We have power users in categories. Identify power users and topics people are discussing about." 
Knorr Love at First Taste 
In the first 24 hours, people saw this 5 million times, revealed the speaker.
He spoke about brand advocates with a video message from educationalist, Sir Ken Robinson. The message stated that children weren't spending enough time playing in the open. Weed said, "We work on the 'Dirt is Good' brand. Playing is good for children. Playing outside is especially good for children."
Weed pointed to three types of impacts.
(i) Campaigning brands: "We should campaign brands if it makes good economic sense. This film was one of the most engaging films we've made," said Weed, before showing a film for Unilever's corporate brand.
He showcased how Ben & Jerry's, an ice cream brand, voiced its view on climate change.  
The third example was from Dove. The brand has been campaigning about 'real beauty' for a while, and the latest example was a radio spot from the UK promoting self-esteem. 
(ii) Challenging stereotypes: Weed explained how women are portrayed in advertising with some statistics. He said, "We sampled 1,000 ads, 50 per cent of which had women stereotyped. Only 1 per cent of the ads showed women funny. 2 per cent showed them intelligent, and 3 per cent showed them as leaders. Then we looked at Unilever ads. Progressive ads from the company had an impact of 12 per cent more than normal ads. It's not a moral issue. It's a creative one. We want to un-stereotype. We want to start moving from aspirational women to personalities of authentic women."
(iii) What consumers want: The chief marketing and communications officer underlined that brands should start looking at what consumers want. He explained, "A lot of people say that people are only interested in products that help sustaining the environment. That's true. But products need to be priced at a parity and should have the same quality (of a product that doesn't do this). 54 per cent people have said that they will buy a product if it saves the environment. Our Unilever brands that did that grew faster in 2016 than they did in 2014."
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