Anglo-Dutch consumer goods giant Unilever is seeking its first
dedicated UK public affairs agency.
The firm is in the early stages of the tender process and has not
invited agencies to pitch for the account yet. It expects to reach a
shortlist of about three or four and to appoint within a month.
Unilever’s global agency of record is Burson-Marsteller, whose brief so
far has included an element of public affairs. B-M will automatically
have a place on the pitch list.
The move follows the appointment last year of Cliff Grantham as
Unilever’s first dedicated government relations head (PR Week, 22 May
1998). The selected agency will report to Grantham.
The public affairs brief involves raising Unilever’s profile within
government and among trade bodies, non-governmental organisations and
industry bodies like the Confederation of British Industry.
Policy areas on Unilever’s public affairs agenda include food, the
environment and competition.
Unilever’s main UK companies are: Lever Brothers, which makes products
including Persil; Van Den Bergh Foods, whose brands include Flora
margarine, Coleman’s of Norwich and PG Tips; and Elida Faberge, which
manufactures beauty products including Sure deodorant.
The firm is jointly headquartered in London and Rotterdam. Last year it
registered a pounds 33.5 billion turnover, making it the world’s second
largest consumer goods business after Philip Morris.