01_June_AP_Unilever awarded the Creative Marketer of the Year 2024

Campaigns that Proved Why Unilever Deserved the Creative Marketer of the Year 2024

International brand giant Unilever won the 2024 Creative Marketer of the Year at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. An honorary accolade Unilever received again after a decade and four years of marketing innovation via subsidiaries- remember Dove’s #RealBeauty campaign? 

Throughout its journey to its second win, Unilever was on a roll, amassing hundreds of Lions with its groundbreaking, innovative, and powerful marketing artistry that brought about meaningful change. Many of those awards went to Dove.  

From heartwarming inclusivity to eye-opening equality, Unilever’s campaigns are not just ads—they’re experiences. And let’s face it, they’ve made the numbers game look like a fun, creative ride. While we celebrate Unilever’s humane and innovative brand persona, which has worked wonders globally, let’s dive into their iconic Cannes Lion winners to witness its ingenuity. 

Dove – #TurnYourBack

Imagine this: 24 hours, a borderless brief, and 250 slides worth of ideas. That’s what it took for Dove to launch its influencer-led #TurnYourBack campaign in June 2023.  

When TikTok’s heavily filtered, face-altering “Bold Glamour” filter started raising concerns among youth and mental health experts, it became clear that it was damaging self-esteem and setting a terrifying beauty standard. Dove swooped in on time, turning that moment into their biggest 360-degree campaign.  

Real. Empowering. Friendly. The ad did not highlight the brand’s product or services. The goal was to motivate young women and digital natives to accept their beauty without filters.  

Influencer-led campaign led young individuals to start turning away from their camera and walking-off screen to demonstrate that no filters should tell them how to look. In just the first seven days, the hashtag racked up an astounding 365 million views on social media. Videos using the hashtag #TurnYourBack gained 54 million views and over 567K engagements, with a 94% positive sentiment rate in key markets. Women’s Health, WWD, PopSugar, Vanity Fair Italia, and 174 other publications covered the campaign. Talk about making waves.  

Hellman – Mayo Cat

A cat, a comedian, and an actor walked into a Hellman’s pitch meeting, and the rest became an award-winning campaign. Hellman stepped up to ignite a conversation on food waste and introduced the famous Mayo cat. What would a cat answer the age-old question: what to do with the leftovers in the fridge? Maybe a meow, or perhaps… “Mayo”?

Sure, what the cat actually said might be up for debate, but let’s face it—nothing beats the charm of a cute, adorable talking cat. Who wouldn’t be entertained by that? Whether it’s offering culinary advice or just adding a touch of whimsy to your day, a talking cat is always a hit with the audience. 

The brand shaped the #MakeTasteNotWaste campaign by teaming up with frequent cat collaborator and award-winning actress Kate McKinnon, Chipmunk (the cat), and even threw in a cameo by resident heartthrob-bad-boy-actor-comedian Pete Davidson.  

Magnum – Get Old or Get Classic

The genius marketers of Magnum, the world’s leading delicious ice cream brand, took an unusual marketing strategy by featuring a population locked away in some metaphorical basement. Older folks. Who still love ice cream.  

This all started when the brand’s brains spread data on their table and discovered that people over 60 make up 20% of the population, but only 6% of ads cater to them. That little insight gave the brand its most significant push to create something unique.  

In most TV ads, you’ll find old folks either wooing their grandkids or worrying about pension plans. Magnum tackled the ageism by flipping the script.  Welcome to “The Pleasure Residence,” where folks in their 60s are living their best lives. 

Think elegant strolls through lush gardens, lounging by the pool with style, getting pampered like royalty, and sharing cheeky jokes with pals. Who said pleasure was just for the young?  

Launched in 1989, Magnum’s ad campaign offers that it has become classic and not old. It signifies elegance, richness, and sophistication. Who could fit the bar of being classic? People above 60. 

Magnum proves that age is just a number when it comes to enjoying the sweet life.  

If you can be classic, then why be old? 

Vaseline – See My Skin 

Equality. Equity. Action.  

Vaseline’s See My Skin campaign took a politically charged approach to spotlight racism and healthcare inequalities in the digital and real world.  

Did you know that according to the American Academy of Dermatology, less than 6% of image-based search results show skin conditions in people of color?  

Latinos and Black people are often unseen in searches and less likely to visit a dermatologist. As a result, they face a 25% higher mortality rate for life-threatening skin conditions.  

As a brand image of Equitable Skin Care for All, Vaseline set out to rewrite the narrative. Teaming up with VisualDx and HUED, Vaseline brought together thousands of images showcasing hundreds of skin conditions in Black and Latin people. Together, they created the world’s most diverse medical image library.  

The campaign hit the ground, earning over 900 million impressions within 2 weeks of launch, and saw a 1500 percent increase in people seeking dermatological care.  

Vaseline not only broke biases and boundaries but also sparked a fundamental transformation in the digital and real worlds. 

Marmite – Baby Scan

Marmite’s baby scan ad echoed the marketing genius we saw above– blending humor with a dash of science. When the world discovered that babies in the womb can respond to taste, Marmite wasn’t about to miss out on the fun. 

Would your unborn child be Marmite’s #1 fan or a hater? The ad promised reactions ranging from big grins to half-made giggles to disgusted winces from the babies. The impact was immediate, as new couples immediately had a new fun fact to ask their OBGYNs – perpetuating the marketing buzz with by sharing results online. 

Marmite spread the word about their iconic product and highlighted the fascinating new science of babies and their responses to different tastes. It was a masterstroke of marketing that left everyone talking (and laughing) about Marmite. 

Cut to the chase

Unilever has done something truly outstanding: they’ve redefined what it means to create ads in the digital age. Winning the badge of Creative Marketer of the Year again after 14 years proves that storytelling, laughter, and a sense of social justice and purpose prevail in Unilever’s marketing strategies for Hellmann’s, Dove, Marmite, Vaseline, and Magnum.

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