Unilever threatens online ad cuts to clean up internet

Brand calls on tech world to to improve transparency and consumer trust

Unilever logo. Photograph: PA

Unilever logo. Photograph: PA


Consumer goods giant Unilever, one of the world’s biggest advertisers, has threatened to pull investment from digital platforms such as Facebook and Google that “create division” in society or fail to protect children.

Keith Weed, chief marketing officer at the maker of Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream and Dove soap, will announce the company’s plan in a speech later on Monday at the annual Interactive Advertising Bureau conference in California.

Mr Weed will call on the technology industry to improve transparency and consumer trust in an era of fake news and “toxic” online content.

“Unilever, as a trusted advertiser, does not want to advertise on platforms which do not make a positive contribution to society,” Mr Weed plans to say, according to a copy of the speech seen beforehand.

Unilever has already been slashing its advertising spend, as it seeks to cut costs across the organisation. It has cut the number of ads it makes and the number of agencies it works with. – Reuters