From ‘Animal Crossing’ to Netflix: Unilever and P&G search for young consumers in a pandemic

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CHICAGO, Oct 4 (Businesshala) – Unilever plc (ULVR.L) and Procter & Gamble (PG.N), the world’s top two advertisers, are seeking younger audiences by reallocating some 2021 spending to traditional TV and video games. Streaming services and media events operated by retailers such as Walmart (WMT.N) and Tesco (TSCO.L).

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As they continue to watch their digital advertising budgets and try to appeal to younger shoppers — who have convened around Nintendo Switch game consoles and in front of Netflix screens during the pandemic — the two consumer giants tie-up with popular services. Hulu and HBO Max and games like Fortnite and Animal Crossing.

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Shoppers of all ages also avoided the stores of big box retailers and placed orders on online platforms. According to data firm eMarketer, worldwide retail ecommerce sales are expected to grow to $4.92 trillion in 2021, after growing 25.7% in 2020.

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

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Di Como said Unilever holds monthly gaming “master classes” for members of its marketing team, inviting professional video game players and industry experts to help connect the company to consumers.

A representative for P&G, which makes Tide detergent and Gillette razors, said it has “plans being developed” to reach people “where they are — including in places like streaming and gaming.”

“It sounds a little risky — I mean it’s test-and-learn at this point,” said Elizabeth Marston, a senior director at marketing data firm Tinuity. “But at the same time, how do you know if you don’t try? You have to go where there are people and 20-year-olds don’t have linear TV.”

2.7 billion gamers

Unilever has a total marketing budget of 7.5 billion euros ($8.85 billion). Di Como declined to say how much he spends on media, but he said Unilever is spending “too much” on ecommerce advertising platforms in addition to gaming and streaming platforms.

“We’re investing in retailer media. So not only pure-players like Amazon but — when you think about omni-channel — players like Walmart, Tesco, Target, Carrefour are also becoming media companies,” said Di Como. he said.

Unilever is also branding new products to appeal to people looking to stream more TV and movies during the lockdown. For example, to heavily exploit buyers of streaming entertainment, Ben & Jerry’s launched an ice cream flavor called “Netflix & Chill”, a play on the popular millennium Internet meme “Netflix and Chill”.

Late last year, Unilever’s Hellman’s spice brand tied up with the Nintendo Farming video game “Animal Crossing: New Horizons,” promising each time a player donates a virtual vegetable to charity within the game.

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

In the UK, Unilever’s deodorant brand X sponsors some of the top gamers, including CalFreezzi. In China, which accounts for about 6% of total sales, Di Como said the company supports e-sport celebrities and leagues, which are rapidly gaining popularity among the affluent younger generation in Asia. The company has an Apple TV+ documentary on paternity leave sponsored by its Dove Men+Care brand.

P&G has also tied up with Animal Crossing through the Venus Women’s Razor brand. The company told Businesshala that while it created more skin types for in-game characters, it measured nearly 1 billion impressions, showing features including freckles, acne, cellulite, hair marks and stretch marks, and psoriasis. represent.

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

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