Women to Watch 2007

Laura Klauberg


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NEXT: Elizabeth Ross

To see how media are changing, Laura Klauberg, who oversees Unilever's media efforts across the Western Hemisphere, need look no further than home.

Laura Klauberg, VP-media, Americas, Unilever

She has daughters ages 16, 19 and 21. They're huge fans of series such as "The Office," "24" and "Grey's Anatomy," though they've seldom watched any of them on live TV, preferring TiVo or boxed DVD sets they've collected avidly.

Ms. Klauberg also discovered it's hard to get too close to her daughters' media habits. That became clear when she set up a Facebook profile last fall and "friended" them.

"I think I caused a riot among 200 kids," she says. "The response I got was, 'Mom, get off Facebook. It's really creepy.' " Ms. Klauberg, 53, spent about six months friendless on Facebook until she enlisted Unilever colleagues to join.

Unilever's VP-media for the Americas admits to scorning such "grandmother research," as she calls it, during her days in brand marketing. She worked in that area for most of her two-decade career at Unilever. But knowing that media have changed for good, she switched from brand marketing in 2005.

"If I had had this opportunity five or six years ago, I wouldn't have been interested," she says. "I guess what attracted me to the role is that everything is changing so dramatically."

Unilever, she believes, has been close to the forefront of those changes, with such efforts as the "Dove Evolution" viral video that has generated more than 3 million views or a recent consumer-created ad on the Oscars for Dove Cream Oil.

Ms. Klauberg also has been pondering a pullback in Unilever's participation in TV's upfront, a ritual she considers outdated and ill suited to the company's planning cycle.

"We've been willing to take some risks I'm not sure others have been willing to take," she says.
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