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Unilever to pull ad spend from platforms that are divisive

Unilever will halt investment on platforms that fail to tackle the issue of fake news, adding that brands should take charge in confronting the “deep systematic issue”.

The company also said that it will not invest in platforms that are divisive and encourage anger or hate as social media “should build social responsibility,  global media reported. This comes amid backlash from the public against social media companies such as Facebook and Twitter, which have struggled with various scandals involving their platforms being used to spread misleading and politically-charged news reports.

Read also: Facebook clamps down on fake news shares

Unilever’s CMO Keith Weed said in a statement ahead of his speech at the IAB Annual Leadership Meeting that Unilever needs consumers’ trust in its brands, and 2018 is a year for social media to win back the trust, according to AdAge.

The statement added that research indicate trust in social media is “at an all-time low” globally, as consumers are under the impression that there is a lack of focus among technology companies in curbing “illegal, unethical and extremist [behaviour] and materials on their platforms”.

Weed’s speech will also touch on Unilever’s intention to only collaborate with other companies that are dedicated to forming a better digital infrastructure. This includes adhering to one measurement system and improving consumers’ experiences. He will also elaborate on a new partnership between Unilever and IBM to spearhead blockchain technology for the advertising industry. According to Unilever, the technology can potentially “drastically reduce” advertising fraud by keeping track of how media is purchased, delivered and interacted with the company’s target audience.

This news follows Unilever’s recent announcement that it allocated about US$300 million of its productions savings in 2017 to media and in-store marketing. This comes after it saved approximately US$700 million from production costs in 2017, by producing fewer ads and relegating more work in-house. The move mainly affected work done or overseen by agencies.

Meanwhile, in an earnings call with investors last October, Unilever chief financial officer Graeme Pitkethly revealed that brand health measure remains “very strong”. However, less money is being spent creating  advertising and more money is being spent showing advertising in a more effective way to our consumers.

Following its Q2 results last July, the company said its analysis found that it was producing too many “new” pieces of advertising, with more than 95% of its advertising films being replaced before it had reached maximum effectiveness. Pitkethly added that a result of this was the creation of “a lot of wasted work”, both internally and for Unilever’s agencies.

Read also:
Unilever moves global comms planning account from PHD to Mindshare
Unilever to spend less money on creating ads, but more on showing them
Unilever CFO says company ‘overexposed people to advertising’ in SEA
Kraft Heinz pulls US$143 billion offer to merge with Unilever
Mark Zuckerberg vows to ‘fix’ Facebook’s problems in 2018
Twitter unveils plans to ‘dramatically’ boost ad transparency
Facebook’s ad transparency move will let you check up on your competitors
Repeat sharers of fake news, will not be allowed to advertise on Facebook

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