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Unilever Calls on Content Creators and Distributors to Eradicate Stereotypes

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Unilever is calling on content creators and distributors to act now to eliminate outdated stereotypes. The move marks the latest step in the company’s industry-leading Unstereotype initiative, which launched two years ago with the aim of eliminating harmful and diminishing portrayals of people across advertising.

As part of its Unstereotype commitment Unilever is expanding that initiative across all forms of content and branded entertainment, and today announces a three-year multi-million-dollar deal with Rexona, the world’s biggest deodorant brand, and Simon Fuller’s XIX Entertainment. Rexona (also known as Sure, Degree and Shield depending on the country) will partner with NOW UNITED, the first ever global pop group comprised of 14 artists from 14 countries including Brazil, China, Germany, India, Philippines, Senegal, US and UK. Together, will co-create content across multiple channels that unites different cultures through the joy of dance, celebrating movement and inspiring people to move more. The campaign will reach millions of young people with positive, progressive messages around equality and tolerance and inspire young people that they can proudly be who they are, wherever they are.

Aline Santos, Unilever Executive Vice President Global Marketing and Head of Diversity and Inclusion, says “Through our ongoing advertising assessment against Unstereotype criteria we already know that progressive advertising creates 25 percent more branded impact and new data now tells us that progressive ads are also 16 percent more relevant, 21 percent more credible and can drive purchase intent by 18 percent. The economic case is just as tangible as the social case for change, which is why we are expanding the Unstereotype initiative to drive unstereotypical content at scale through new partnerships and mainstream content.”

Simon Fuller comments: “As one of the most socially conscious and largest consumer goods companies today, Unilever brands like Rexona continue to cut through the clutter when it comes to making bold statements with real actions. With Now United I also want to embrace this pioneering spirit, defining new ways to interact with entertainment, celebrating diversity and inclusion with a powerful message of unity and positivity. Through the passionate engagement of music and dance, with Rexona as our partner, we will share all of this positive energy and excitement with our audience on a global scale.”

In another previously announced collaboration, Dove – the world’s largest provider of self-esteem education – revealed a multi-year deal with Cartoon Network’s hit television show Steven Universe. This partnership sees Dove collaborate with the show’s creative lead to create original programming using the characters of Steven Universe to educate and build body confidence amongst the next generation, helping to expand Dove’s reach to provide 40 million young people with self-esteem education by 2020.

“It has always been important to us that our content resonates with our audience and empowers them,” says Christina Miller, president Cartoon Network. “This partnership is unprecedented in its scale, reach and ambition to make a difference in kids’ lives around the world.”

Today, minorities remain underrepresented in film leads (13.9%) and female directors are widely overlooked (6.9%), despite audiences making it clear they prefer diverse film and television content1. Unilever believes progressive collaborations between brands and content creators will therefore be key to meeting audience’s expectations and tackling harmful stereotypes around gender, race, sexuality and more.

Aline Santos adds: “As marketers, we have talked for decades about reaching as many people as possible; it’s time we place equal emphasis on representing as many people as possible. That means prioritising greater authenticity in our characters and storylines, and doing more to accurately capture the richness and diversity of the world we live in. From films and TV programmes, to web series and podcasts, we have to work with the entertainment industry to co-create content we’re proud to support with our media investment.”

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ABOUT UNILEVER

Unilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of Food, Home Care, Personal Care and Refreshment products with sales in over 190 countries and reaching 2.5 billion consumers a day. It has 169,000 employees and generated sales of €52.7 billion in 2016. Over half (57%) of the company’s footprint is in developing and emerging markets. Unilever has more than 400 brands found in homes all over the world, including Persil, Dove, Knorr, Domestos, Hellmann’s, Lipton, Wall’s, PG Tips, Ben & Jerry’s, Magnum and Lynx.

Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan underpins the company’s strategy and commits to:

  • Helping more than a billion people take action to improve their health and well-being by 2020.
  • Halving the environmental impact of our products by 2030
  • Enhancing the livelihoods of millions of people by 2020.

The USLP creates value by driving growth and trust, eliminating costs and reducing risks. The company’s sustainable living brands are growing 50% faster than the rest of the business and delivered more than 60% of the company’s growth in 2016.

Unilever was ranked number one in its sector in the 2016 Dow Jones Sustainability Index. In the FTSE4Good Index, it achieved the highest environmental score of 5. It led the list of Global Corporate Sustainability Leaders in the 2017 GlobeScan/SustainAbility annual survey for the seventh year running. Unilever has pledged to become carbon positive in its operations by 2030. For more information about Unilever and its brands, please visit www.unilever.com. For more information on the USLP: www.unilever.com/sustainable-living/

1 Five Years of Progress and Missed Opportunities from the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies. February 2018

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Kah Yee The
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