"As a world we are connected, but disconnected and fragmented as an industry", said Keith Weed, global CMO, Unilever, prior to explaining the three things that keep him up at night, on day five of the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity.
Joining the digital dots
"Digital is not new media anymore. 3.9 billion people are on the internet. 2.9 billion are on social media and 4.9 billion are on mobile. But there are issues - ad fraud, transparency, fake news are more. We have tunnel vision and are looking at solving these separately," said Weed.
He then took upon the '50 per cent pixel view-ability' notion on digital by running a TV ad with cut out parts. He said, "I don't know how 50 per cent pixels are considered a view. We wouldn't pay for such an ad on TV. It just doesn't sound right."
Next up, was a call for third party verification. "It's moved from the time when digital ad spends were small. Digital spends are almost half of all advertising spends now. We need third party verification," said Weed. He also showed displeasure about ad frauds. "We want the eye balls of humans, not bots."
He added, "We buy a billion ads every day. You need to buy the best, most suitable ads. If you're buying ads on news sites, you need better placement of inventory. You don't want to place your ad at an insensitive spot."
He called for a uniform measurement system for the digital space and likened it to calories. "In the end of the day, it's one consumer and one budget."
Weed re-emphasised the point he made last year at the festival about 'Unstereotyping Advertising'. He showed an example of the same, a film for Axe.
He explained, "We have been doing this (unstereotype advertising) across countries. We want to do this across our mainstream advertising. In India, we did this through our 6-pack band, which consisted of transgenders. In India, transgenders are shunned not only from society, but from their families too. We have been doing this with Dove too. We have also tied up with UN Women for the 'Unstereotype Alliance'.
Quoting legendary ad man Bill Bernbach, he said, "It may well be that creativity is the last unfair advantage we are legally allowed to take over our competitors."
He explained "All the rules have been remade, but old rules work too. There are multiple ways we can get attention now, but we need to have an unifying idea across the brand. We have it across our company where we want to push sustainable living brands. People want to spend more time with a brand that cares. Eighteen of our top 40 brands are sustainable brands and 60 per cent of our growth comes from such brands. They are growing 50 per cent faster too."
He then showcased an ad from 7th Generation, a brand the company recently acquired in the United States.