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Unilever aims to use mobile as its primary marketing channel within ten years, in a strategy that includes covering mobile data charges for those interacting with its brands.

The FMCG giant is paying for the mobile data charges incurred by people who download and use the mobile app for its Lynx Stream campaign in a bid to bolster reach.

The app lets users share photos and updates of a night out via their social networks. Unilever has struck a deal with Openmarket to minimise the cost for those using the app.

Lynx and mobile are a perfect match, for the reasons discussed by Josh Dean. But what will be interesting is how Unilever uses mobile to build engagement with brands like Lyon’s Tea or Vaseline.

What it does have right is that mobile is the most-used channel globally. Despite the challenges involved, it’s vital to keep that in mind, especially when entering markets like India and Brazil, where many people will have their first internet experience on their phone.

Ronan Shields

Josh Dean, senior brand manager at Unilever, said the brand paid for the cost of interacting with the app so its appeal wasn’t limited to those with unlimited mobile data plans.

“The app has already launched and the feedback so far has been really good,” he said. “The retention and use of those who have downloaded the app has been really high.

“One thing that’s important to our audience is their phones. Lynx’s audience spends more time on their phones than any other media, plus they go out a lot,” Dean added.

Andrew Darling, Openmarket’s associate director for marketing and communications, said, “We have a shortcode that lets users send a free SMS and get free web access to complete registration with the service. This helps facilitate the conversation between the brand and the consumer over mobile.”

Unilever has also been proactive in using O2 Media’s SMS-based ad service You Are Here to promote its Lynx brand among mainstream mobile users (nma 21 April 2011). Speaking last week at the IAB Mobile Engage event, Jay Altschuler, Unilever’s global communications planning director, said mobile would be its primary engagement channel over the next decade in a bid to double its business by 2020.

“Mobile is the most-used channel in growth markets,” he said, adding that Unilever will place mobile advertising, couponing and commerce at the core of its strategy in these markets over the next ten years.

It’s also employing more upmarket mobile executions, such as on Apple’s iAd network, for which it’s a global partner, having launched campaigns for Knorr, Magnum and Lynx.

Altschuler said so far the company was seeing average engagement of 1-2 minutes for its iAd campaigns.

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Published 24 June, 2011 by NMA Staff

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