From Animal Crossing to Netflix: Unilever and P&G Seek Young Consumers During Pandemic


CHICAGO, Oct. 4 (Reuters) – Unilever Plc (ULVR.L) and Procter & Gamble (PG.N), the world’s top two advertisers, are seeking a younger audience by reallocating some 2021 spending from traditional TV to video games, streaming services and multimedia programs operated by retailers like Walmart (WMT.N) and Tesco (TSCO.L).

As they continue to watch their digital advertising budgets and try to woo young buyers – who gathered during the pandemic around Nintendo Switch game consoles and in front of Netflix screens – the two consumer giants have turned to ties to popular services like Hulu and HBO Max and games like Fortnite and Animal Crossing.

Shoppers of all ages have also avoided big box retailers’ stores and placed orders through online platforms. After increasing 25.7% in 2020, global e-commerce retail sales are expected to reach $ 4.92 trillion in 2021, according to data company eMarketer.

Unilever is “rethinking” how it spends its advertising budget as the protracted pandemic has accelerated a shift in the way people shop and play, Luis Di Como, executive vice president of global media, told Reuters. ‘Unilever. He said digital marketing at Unilever, which makes Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and Dove soap, now accounts for around 45% of its total media budget from around 40% before the pandemic.

Unilever holds monthly games “master classes” for members of its marketing team, inviting professional video game players and industry experts to keep the company in touch with consumers, said Di Como.

A representative for P&G, which makes Tide detergent and Gillette razors, said its “plans are evolving” to reach people “where they are – including places like streaming and gaming.”

“It sounds a bit riskier – I mean it’s about testing and learning at this point,” said Elizabeth Marsten, senior director of data marketing firm Tinuiti. “But at the same time, how will you know if you don’t try? You have to go where the people are and 20 year olds don’t have linear TV.”


Unilever’s total marketing budget is 7.5 billion euros ($ 8.85 billion). Di Como declined to say how much he spends on media, but said Unilever was spending “a lot more” on e-commerce advertising platforms in addition to gaming and streaming platforms.

“We are investing in retail media. So not only pure-players like Amazon, but also – when you think of omnichannel – players like Walmart, Tesco, Target, Carrefour who are also becoming media companies”, Di Como said.

Unilever is also offering new products to attract people who stream more TV and movies during blackouts. In a nod to the heavy use of streaming entertainment by buyers, for example, Ben & Jerry’s released an ice cream flavor called “Netflix and Chill’d,” a play on the millennial internet meme ” Netflix and Chill “.

Late last year, Unilever’s Hellmann’s condiment brand teamed up with Nintendo’s farming video game “Animal Crossing: New Horizon,” pledging to donate to a food waste charity each year. once a player has donated a virtual vegetable to an in-game charity.

According to data firm Newzoo, there are more than 2.7 billion players worldwide and the size of the video game market will exceed $ 200 billion by 2023.

In Britain, Ax, Unilever’s deodorant brand, sponsors a handful of top players, including Calfreezy. In China, which contributes around 6% of overall sales, Di Como said the company supports celebrities and esports leagues, which are rapidly gaining popularity among the wealthy younger generation in Asia. The company has an Apple TV + documentary on paternity leave sponsored by its Dove Men + Care brand.

P&G is also linked to Animal Crossing through its brand of women’s razors Venus. The company told Reuters it measured nearly a billion impressions when it created more skin types for the game’s characters, which represent characteristics such as freckles, acne, cellulite, hair scars, stretch marks and psoriasis.

Reporting by Richa Naidu; Editing by Ken Li, Vanessa O’Connell and Steve Orlofsky

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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