The Australian reports that CPG giant Unilever is establishing new internal teams to help fill the void that “struggling” traditional marketing agencies are not filling.

The consumer products group set up communications planning and digital advertising operations last year, as part of efforts to respond to the declining impact of television advertising.

Unilever’s global media director Alan Rutherford said television now accounted for about 65 per cent of the Anglo-Dutch company’s global advertising budget, down from about 85 per cent at the start of the decade.


This shift of emphasis has put a premium on “holistic” campaigns that make use of a wider range of marketing tools. But Mr Rutherford indicated that Unilever was less than thrilled with the input it was receiving.

Wow, that’s a very powerful message to the traditional agencies out there. But don’t take it from me. take it from Alan Rutherford, Unilever’s global media director:

“The ad industry is struggling at the moment in … pulling all the components of brand communication together. There is a struggle to have traditional media and digital and content and public relations all brought under one roof under the agency side….I think there is a disconnect between creative thinking and communications channel management at the moment.”

He’s not alone. The other CPG behemoth, P&G, has similar intentions. In fact, the article says Jim Stengel, global marketing officer of Procter & Gamble, agrees with Rutherford that “the job of media planner – the person who decides where to place advertisements – should be combined with that of creative planner, who helps decide what kind of ads to run.”

Uh oh. What’s going op here? Is this the first shot across the bow…or the hundredth one?


  1. Hey, I just saw this (so much for the power of my Google Alerts). Excellent piece. We’re fighting this battle everyday from inside a small branded – or as we prefer to say, immersive — entertainment company, Campfire.
    It’s extraordinalily difficult to created multi channel, engaged marketing projects when the agency, media buying, PR, promotion, etc. partners are separate, because each has it’s own methodology and agenda.
    I know this is a big duh, and that everyone blames the clients and large agency networks for creating this situation. But the fix will only occur when clients like Unilever and P&G put their foot (or is it feet?) down.
    You’ve either got to put the pieces back together again or turn to small boutiques that fly in the face of the normal way of doing things.

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