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Unilever Threatens to Take Ads Down From Facebook, Google

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Unilever has placed Facebook, Google and other tech platforms have been placed on noticed regarding advertising.

The consumer goods giant is the second largest marketing spender in the world and has threatened to pull ads.

Putting its Foot Down

Unilever has expressed significant concern about having its brands’ ads displayed alongside advertising for dubious, illegal or morally bankrupt causes. The company’s chief marketing officer, Keith Weed explained that they and their customers both “care when they see their brands being placed next to ads funding terror or exploiting children.”

As the second-largest spender on digital marketing, Unilever’s threat is not a light one. It has stated that it will remove its advertising from online platforms such as Google and Facebook if they continue to promote hate, fail to protect children or “create division.”

Weed spoke on behalf of Unilever earlier this week explaining that he would be placing the tech giants on notice. The speech was made to major media groups, tech firms and advertisers while in attendance of the Interactive Advertising Bureau conference.

Using its Influence

The company explained that it is in a position in which it can demand greater responsibility among advertising platforms receiving its marketing funds.

“As one of the largest advertisers in the world, we cannot have an environment where our consumers don’t trust what they see online,” said Weed’s speech. “We cannot continue to prop up a digital supply chain — one that delivers over a quarter of our advertising to our consumers — which at times is little better than a swamp in terms of its transparency.”

Huge Brands

Unilever owns more than 400 brands. Among them are some that are the focus of major campaigns, including Dove soap and skin care, Hellman’s mayonnaise and condiments and many more. Last year alone, the company spent around €7.7 billion on advertising.

This year, it has been working on improving its advertising budget. It has been working hard to cut costs and has looked to its marketing to ensure that every ad it places is appropriate and worth the money spent on it.

That said, digital ad platforms such as Facebook and Google are now finding themselves in a very tough position. They have already faced heavy scrutiny over their ad policies and processes. The pressure from Unilever will certainly make things far more intense for those platforms.

Note: The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the view of Alvexo on the matter.