CES 2012

Unilever's Keith Weed: We Must 'Get to the Future First'

Global CMO Talks About New Technologies and Why Apple's iAd Is Still In Unilever's Plans

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Unilever, the world's second-largest advertiser, brought more than 30 marketing executives to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas to meet with tech partners and immerse themselves in the technologies shaping the way people interact with content and one another.

Ad Age sat down with global CMO Keith Weed to talk about the impact of connected TVs, the cloud, mobile, computers in cars and the other emerging technologies on Unilever's ad spending plans. The megatrend that Mr. Weed is watching closely: the move to an on-demand world of content and what it will mean for the billions Unilever spends on TV advertising worldwide.

"The cloud is important to us because now people can select what they want to view when they want to view it, and as an advertiser there are consequences for that ," Mr. Weed said. "There might be an opportunity for the brand to be a filter; using Axe, say, to get male programming, or with a beauty brand or food."

Unilever is also forming what it calls a Digital Advisory Board and filling it with outside execs to help the packaged-goods giant navigate the future. Board members include former Microsoft VP-marketing Mich Matthews, former Yahoo EVP Hilary Schnieider and Dan Gill, CEO of Huddler, a startup that creates media properties out of message boards. The goal, Mr. Weed said, is to "get to the future first."

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