Unilever (US)

Selected Unilever advertising

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 and Hellmann's alongside a dwindling group of local jewels like Promise and Degree. Several more, such as Skippy, Ragu and Wish-Bone, 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 no longer markets any home care products in the US. Instead, it bolstered its personal care profile with the acquisition of Alberto Culver in 2010, and other brands. See also main Unilever profile. 

Recent stories from Adbrands Weekly Update:

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.

Adbrands Weekly Update 21st Jul 2016: Unilever is to expand its male grooming portfolio, and also open a new battle front with P&G, with the purchase of Dollar Shaving Club for a reported $1bn. California-based DSC shook up the wetshave market with the launch of cheap razor blades ordered online and delivered direct to the customer on subscription. It claimed a 16% share of the US blades market last year, to around 65% for P&G's Gillette. The business has also expanded aggressively into men's personal care, launching Wanderer personal wash products, Big Cloud skin care and the Boogies hair styling range. The club now has 3.2m members, with current year revenues expected to top $200m. DSC will continue to operate as a separate standalone unit within Unilever, under the command of founder & CEO Michael Dubin. It is Unilever's first step into the razor market, building on its already commanding presence in male grooming through Axe/Lynx and Dove Men+Care. First item on DSC's new agenda will be international expansion. So far it operates only in the US, Canada and Australia.

Adbrands Weekly Update 9th July 2015: Unilever added another brand to its prestige skincare portfolio, snapping up high-end clinical range Murad for an undisclosed sum. The range is sold mainly through spas and other professional outlets, but also has limited distribution through upscale department stores and specialist retailers. "As an expert 'Doctor brand', Murad offers products in a differentiated clinical and holistic well-being segment," said Unilever CEO Paul Polman. "It has a loyal following that gives it excellent potential for expansion, and wonderfully complements the [other] brands recently acquired [by Unilever]." These include Dermalogica, REN and Kate Somerville.

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Adbrands Company Profiles provide a detailed analysis of the history and current operations of leading advertisers, agencies and brands worldwide, and include a critical summary which identifies key strengths and weaknesses. Adbrands Account Assignments tracks account management for the world's leading brands and companies, including details of which advertising agency handles which accounts in which countries for major markets. See also

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Unilever USA website


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