Until the early 2000s, Unilever's operations in the US consisted of several separate businesses operating more or less independently from one another. During that decade, however, the group steadily streamlined its structure to create a single operating entity, better able to negotiate effectively with retailers. Unilever's unified US portfolio now houses mainly global giants such as Dove, Axe, Tresemme, Hellmann's and Ben & Jerry's alongside a dwindling group of local jewels like Suave haircare, Degree deodorants and Breyers and Popsicle ice creams. Numerous other brands - including Slim-fast, Skippy, Ragu and Wish-Bone and most recently the entire margarine portfolio - have been sold, along with what were once two core businesses. Oral care products including Pepsodent and Mentadent were divested in 2003; followed by the laundry division, including All, Wisk and Snuggle, in 2008. The group has mostly exited the US home care sector in the US altogether, although it acquired the Seventh Generation eco-friendly home cleaning business in 2016, which still operates as a standalone entity. Instead, it has focused primarily on bolstering its personal care profile with the acquisition of Alberto Culver in 2010, and more recently a succession of different premium and prestige beauty and skincare brands. Amanda Sourry succeeded Kees Kruythoff as CEO, Unilever North America in 2018. See also main Unilever profile.
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Historical profile information for Unilever USA
Adbrands Weekly Update 21st Dec 2017: Unilever added yet another brand to its increasingly voluminous US-based beauty portfolio. Specialist deodorant and body wash manufacturer Schmidt's Naturals uses - as the same suggests - only natural ingredients in its products, no chemical additives. This has become one of the US market's hottest segments; P&G acquired rival natural deo producer Native last month. Schmidt's sells sold mostly direct to consumer online or through selected outlets of Target and Kroger. No terms were disclosed, but Schmidt's is expected to hit $90m in revenues next year. Unilever has been on a buying streak in the beauty market recently. This year alone, it has completed deals for beauty and personal care manufacturers Sundial Brands, Carver, Hourglass Cosmetics and Living Proof, and launched a string of new brands and line extensions.
Adbrands Weekly Update 14th Dec 2017: Unilever's latest move in the US beauty sector is not another acquisition - it has made several in the past couple of years - but two brand new launches developed inhouse. Love Beauty and Planet is a line of hair care, styling and body-care products made with sustainable packaging and ingredients, rolling out early next year through mass and drug retailers. Meanwhile, botanical-based hair and body cleansing line ApotheCare Essentials, is already on-sale through CVS pharmacies and will be extended to other drugstore retailers and e-commerce channels in January. Both have been overseen by Piyush Jain, Unilever’s VP, North America hair care, and are being given a soft launch with only limited advertising. "The consumer we're talking to would rather discover a brand like this," said Jain. "She likes the sense of journey around discovering the brand, instead of [us] screaming out loud to her. We want this brand to be discovered on a treasure hunt that she shares with her friend, versus a big manufacturer announcing it big on TV."
Adbrands Weekly Update 9th Mar 2017: Hershey's incoming CEO Michele Buck raided Unilever USA to recruit its EVP, customer development Todd Tillemans as president. Hershey is also looking to appoint a chief growth officer to oversee strategy and marketing excellence. Tillemans' move sparked a round of musical chairs at Unilever. Current UK & Ireland leader Gina Boswell will move back to the US to succeed Tillemans. She is replaced in turn as UK CEO by Sebastian Munden, previously EVP, global marketing operations. Separately, Unilever's EVP global haircare Laurent Kleitman is moving to Coty to become president, consumer beauty.
Adbrands Weekly Update 22nd Dec 2016: Unilever added to its fast-growing portfolio of premium beauty products with the acquisition of Living Proof, the haircare brand part-owned and promoted by actress Jennifer Aniston. No terms were disclosed, though it was reported that Aniston has now ended her relationship with the brand. Living Proof joins Kate Somerville, Dermalogica, Murad and REN in Unilever's prestige collection. Its HPC division has had a busy year this year: other acquisitions have included Seventh Generation and Dollar Shave Club.
Adbrands Weekly Update 22nd Sep 2016: Unilever announced the acquisition of green cleaning goods company Seventh Generation for an undisclosed sum. Fortune magazine, quoting an insider source, estimated a price tag of between $600m and $700m, roughly three times Seventh Gen's annual sales. The company makes a wide range of environmentally friendly household and personal care products including laundry and dish detergents, diapers and fem care products, surface cleaners and trash bags. Earlier in the week, Unilever had been reported to be in talks to acquire Honest Co, a larger green manufacturer which sells a similar range of products, for a rumoured $1bn. It's not clear whether talks with Honest, co-founded by actress Jessica Alba, have ended, but it's possible that Unilever decided to go with the smaller of two potential deals in the same segment.
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