Breaking News
Get Actionable Insights with InvestingPro+: Start 7 Day FREE Trial Register here
Investing Pro 0
Ad-Free Version. Upgrade your experience. Save up to 40% More details

From 'Animal Crossing' to Netflix: Unilever and P&G search for young consumers in a pandemic

EconomyOct 04, 2021 02:26AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Tide laundry detergent, a product distributed by Procter & Gamble, is pictured on sale at a Ralphs grocery store in Pasadena, California January 21, 2014. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni 2/2

By Richa Naidu

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Unilever (NYSE:UL) Plc  and Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG), the world's top two  advertisers, are seeking out younger audiences by reallocating some 2021 spending away from traditional TV and into video games, streaming services and media programs operated by retailers like Walmart (NYSE:WMT) and Tesco (OTC:TSCDY).

As they continue to look at their digital ad budgets and try to appeal to younger shoppers - who have during the pandemic convened around Nintendo Switch (NYSE:SWCH) game consoles and in front of Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) screens - the two consumer giants have turned to tie-ups with popular services like Hulu and HBO Max and games like Fortnite and Animal Crossing.

Shoppers of all ages also avoided big box retailers’ stores and placed orders on online platforms. Following a 25.7% increase in 2020, retail ecommerce sales worldwide are expected to rise to $4.92 trillion in 2021, according to data firm eMarketer.

Unilever is “rethinking” how it spends its advertising budget as the prolonged pandemic has accelerated a shift in the way people shop and entertain themselves, Luis Di Como, Unilever’s executive vice president of global media, told Reuters. He said digital marketing at Unilever, which makes Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and Dove soap, now accounts for roughly 45% of its total media budget versus about 40% prior to the pandemic.

Unilever holds monthly gaming "master classes" for members of its marketing team, inviting professional video game players and industry experts to keep the company attuned to consumers, Di Como said.

A representative of P&G, which makes Tide detergent and Gillette razors, said its “plans are evolving” to reach people “where they are – including in places like streaming and gaming."

"It seems a little riskier - I mean it's test-and-learn at this point," said Elizabeth Marsten, a senior director at marketing data firm Tinuiti. "But at the same time, how will you know if you don't try? You've got to go where the people are and 20-year-olds don't have linear TV."


Unilever's total marketing budget is 7.5 billion euros ($8.85 billion). Di Como declined to break out how much of that it spends on media, but  he said Unilever is shelling out “much more” on ecommerce advertising platforms in addition to gaming and streaming platforms.

"We are investing on retailer media. So not only the pure-players like Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) but also - when you think about omni-channel - players like Walmart, Tesco, Target (NYSE:TGT), Carrefour (PA:CARR) that are also becoming media companies," Di Como said.

Unilever is also branding new products to appeal to people who stream more TV and movies during lockdowns. In a nod to shoppers' heavy use of streaming entertainment, for instance, Ben & Jerry's launched an ice cream flavor called "Netflix and Chill'd," a play on the popular millennial internet meme "Netflix and Chill."

Late last year, Unilever’s Hellmann's condiment brand tied up with Nintendo farming video game "Animal Crossing: New Horizon," promising to donate to a food waste charity each time a player donated a virtual vegetable to charity within the game.

According to data firm Newzoo, there are more than 2.7 billion gamers worldwide, and the size of the video game market will surpass $200 billion by 2023.

In  Britain, Unilever's deodorant  brand Axe sponsors a handful of top gamers, including  Calfreezy.  In China, which contributes  about 6%  to overall sales, Di Como said the company backs e-sport celebrities  and leagues,  which are rapidly gaining popularity among the affluent younger generation in Asia. The company has an Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) TV+ documentary on paternity leave sponsored by its Dove Men + Care brand.

P&G also has a tie-up with Animal Crossing through its Venus women's razor brand. The company told Reuters that it measured nearly 1 billion impressions when it created more skin types for in-game characters, which represent features including freckles, acne, cellulite, hair scars and stretch marks and psoriasis.

From 'Animal Crossing' to Netflix: Unilever and P&G search for young consumers in a pandemic

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with other users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:  

  •            Enrich the conversation, don’t trash it.

  •           Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed. 

  •           Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically. Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user. Racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination will not be tolerated.

  • Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases. Comments that are written in all caps and contain excessive use of symbols will be removed.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and comments containing links will be removed. Phone numbers, email addresses, links to personal or business websites, Skype/Telegram/WhatsApp etc. addresses (including links to groups) will also be removed; self-promotional material or business-related solicitations or PR (ie, contact me for signals/advice etc.), and/or any other comment that contains personal contact specifcs or advertising will be removed as well. In addition, any of the above-mentioned violations may result in suspension of your account.
  • Doxxing. We do not allow any sharing of private or personal contact or other information about any individual or organization. This will result in immediate suspension of the commentor and his or her account.
  • Don’t monopolize the conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also strongly believe in giving everyone a chance to air their point of view. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
Post also to:
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.
Continue with Google
Sign up with Email