Edelman, Weber support Unilever's 'Sunlight' effort

Global communications efforts are supporting Unilever's Project Sunlight initiative, with the aim of inspiring people around the world to live more sustainable lives.

NEW YORK: Global communications efforts are supporting Unilever's Project Sunlight initiative, with the aim of inspiring people around the world to live more sustainable lives.

The long-term, consumer-facing initiative, which is part of Unilever's plan to make sustainability commonplace around the world, launched last Wednesday in five markets – Indonesia, India, the UK, Brazil, and the US – at sunrise. The company chose that date to begin the campaign because it is Universal Children's Day.

At the time of launch, each region's digital hub came alive with earned, owned, and paid components, said Christine Cea, senior marcomms director at Unilever North America.

Edelman is working with Unilever on global efforts for the campaign, such as its global toolkit, research, and strategy, she added. The firm's global CEO, Richard Edelman, also wrote a blog about the effort on the day of its launch.

Edelman conducted research for the program in each market to see how parents feel about the ways their children view sustainable living. The objective was to get people to “see a bright future for children by looking at the world through their eyes,” explained Cea.

Weber Shandwick is handling PR, social media, and digital work for Project Sunlight in the US, said Cea. Mindshare is serving as Unilever's media buying agency for the campaign.

Going forward, real-time marketing and looking at “editorial in conjunction with social and paid” will play a large part in how Unilever and its PR agency partners continue to build buzz for the program, said Cea.

In New York, the initiative kicked off at 6:48 am EST last Wednesday with the ProjectSunlight.US hub going live. The company also seeded stories by the Associated Press, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal. Cea said the AP story was picked up more than 300 times.

The Black Eyed Peas' vocalist Fergie, who has partnered with Unilever on the effort, was on Ellen on November 20 to discuss the campaign and get consumers involved using the hashtag #BrightFuture.

Cea said Fergie will continue to promote the sustainability program on her own social channels.

Unilever's individual brands have also tried to bring the story to life on their own social platforms, helping consumers connect their favorite brands to the parent company.

From an internal communications perspective, Cea said every one of Unilever's offices and sites in the US had campaign-related activities on the day of the launch. She added that the company's agency partners also held activities, such as communal viewing parties of the Project Sunlight short film.

At Weber's New York office, Cea said Unilever, the agency, and representatives from Twitter and Google participated in the opening of the firm's “command center” as a multi-stakeholder convergence platform of paid, earned, and owned media.

Budget information for the campaign was not disclosed.

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