Advertising and promotional aspects of Unilever are driven by an ethical code of conduct that helps them act responsibly. They strive for clear and correct communication regarding the products, rather than make false promises and spread biased information. All the advertisements are regulated by their ‘legal, decent and honest’ test criteria. The company also obliges to the World Federation of Advertisers’ guidelines. It has separate guiding principles for internet-based advertising (Unilever, 2012).
In the case of promoting foods and beverages, Unilever has developed norms in 2003. These standards are revised in a timely manner and special code is developed for advertising kids foods. Membership in ‘Pledge Programme’ also regulates the advertising ethics of Unilever for children (Unilever, 2012).
The primary emphasis all the advertising attempts is to sell a single idea that would directly impact the consumer perceptions, taking competitors into consideration. A linking bond is established between the idea and the product. Advertising agencies bear the responsibility until the phase of providing a copy of the advertisement on what is to be communicated, i.e., the concept and message. Copy testing might be conducted if the company doubts the agency’s product. Unilever finalizes the copy and then, hands it over to media agencies to decide on how to communicate the message to the consumers. The most feasible medium to propagate and communicate the idea is selected by the media agencies, bearing the company’s budget in mind. Unilever believes that ‘medium is the message’. This message would create an urge in the consumer to buy the product.
The advertising theory followed by Unilever spells out its idea to stimulate the thought process of consumers. For hygiene, sanitary and health care products, Unilever uses consumer testimonials and competitive product comparison, as the concept of promotion. For personal care and beauty products, the company uses celebrity endorsements and testimonials to advertise their products. Problem-solution and comparative advertising are used in case of detergent and home care products. Unilever is also known to use humoristic and provocative forms of advertising for some products like food brands. The cohesive alternative model of advertising is used in case of Axe, where the product is highlighted as compared to other similar brands from other popular companies (Morgan, 2004). Emotional engagement of customers is aimed at by the advertising theory practiced in case of detergents such as Omo(‘Dirt is Good’ campaign).