Unilever and WPP have launched a first-of-its-kind on-site collaboration with Unilever Foundry and its startup community. The initiative sees the creation of a flexible new Team Unilever model, with specialist expertise from various WPP agencies coming together under one roof at Unilever Foundry’s LEVEL3 co-working space in Singapore to provide innovative solutions for Unilever’s 400+ brands.
Pier Luigi Sigismondi, President of Unilever, South East Asia & Australasia, said: “This exciting collaboration is the first step in laying the foundation of the marketing services ecosystem of the future. When you combine the multifunctional capabilities of WPP with agile startups, you get a strong partnership which can continue to build Unilever’s core business, and at the same time address the huge shift taking place in consumers’ lives due to technological change.”
The new approach draws on talent from multiple agencies including; Burson Cohn & Wolfe, Design Bridge, Geometry, Hogarth, J Walter Thompson / Mirum, Kantar, Mindshare, Ogilvy, Smollan, Verticurl, VML and Wunderman. The WPP community will work alongside Unilever Foundry and over 50 startups, such as; Celtra, Datacraft, Happi, Next Billion, Try & Review, Unruly and Vidsee.
Peter Dart, WPP’s Global Team Leader for Unilever, said: “We wanted to take the opportunity to co-create a structure that allows us to work much more closely with Unilever and focus on all the various services along the consumer journey that can help Unilever and its brands grow. The key is agility and the enhancing ability to respond to disruption in the consumer products market as well as in marketing services offerings.”
Leading the Singapore effort is Sudipta Roy, Managing Director, Team Unilever for the Singapore Hub and SEA. He said: “We have taken a fresh approach to the ‘Team WPP’ design. Instead of designing around the brand or the category, we have designed around capabilities and intelligence in order to solve business problems. We have access to cutting-edge technology and new products across every pillar of the Unilever marketing framework through the startup community in Unilever Foundry. We look forward to collaborating with them to deliver breakthrough models, communications and consumer connections products.”
David Porter, Unilever’s VP of Media for Asia, Africa & Russia, and a key supporter of the initiative, said: “We are looking at a number of ways to bring external marketing services closer to our colleagues inside Unilever. We work more frequently in fluid, multifunctional teams, so it makes sense to bring our key partners physically closer to us and to explore different in-sourcing models. With WPP, we are taking a major step towards in-housing key external services at Unilever. The unique environment of LEVEL3 puts our agency partners much closer to our brands, closer to our data, ecommerce and internal creative resources, and also closer to the digital startups which are transforming our world.”