Unilever strikes digital ‘soap opera’ deals
28 May 2012
FMCG giant Unilever has reached international, multimillion-dollar partnerships with both Viacom and News Corp, in a bid to reinvent ‘soap opera’ sponsorship digitally.
As part of the deals, Unilever’s ice-cream brand Magnum is to launch a ‘Magnum Mini Moments’ Facebook app, that features clips from Viacom-owned Paramount’s popular films Grease, Top Gun and The Godfather. The film clips will have branding from Unilever.
Unilever’s Simple soap brand and Bertolli meals are among the first sponsors of YouTube channel WIGS, which features original female-centric content created by News Corp-owned Fox. Unilever’s deodorant brand Rexona will be the global sponsor of new drama Touch.
“In reality it’s going back to the early days of TV channels, when the likes of Persil and Omo and others were sponsoring the 30-minute soap opera, but now we are doing it in the digital space,” Unilever chief marketing officer Keith Weed told the Financial Times. “What digital has enabled more than anything else is the globalisation of the media world.”
Soap operas earned their name back in the 1950s when household goods companies including Procter & Gamble and Lever Bros, before it merged with Margarine Unie to form Unilever, would sponsor long-running drama series in the US.
Jenni Baker, London