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Unilever calls on industry to increase trust, transparency and measurement in influencer marketing

Cannes, France - Unilever CMO, Keith Weed, today announces that the company is pushing for greater transparency in the influencer marketing space to combat fraud in the digital ecosystem; create better experiences for consumers; and improve brands’ ability to measure impact.

The scale and scope of influencer marketing is growing at pace and holds increasing importance in the marketing mix as a way for brands to reach consumers given influencers’ deep and direct connections with their audiences. At the same time, we as an industry need to put in place all possible controls to avoid bad practices such as fake followers, bots, fraud or any dishonest business models that will erode trust in the whole ecosystem.

Marketers currently have limited visibility to accurately measure influencer programming and track authentic engagement. As the influencer marketing space grows, we are looking to work with social platforms for increased visibility and transparency.

Today Unilever announces three commitments:

  • Transparency from Influencers: We will not work with influencers who buy followers.
  • Transparency from Brands: Our brands will never buy followers.
  • Transparency from Platforms: We will prioritise partners who increase transparency and help eradicate bad practices throughout the whole ecosystem.

Unilever is one of the world’s largest advertisers with an annual brand and marketing investment of over €7bn. Weed pledged in February not to work with platforms that incite hate, spread division or fail to protect children, as another clear commitment to partnering with responsible platforms which create a positive impact on society.

At this year’s Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, Keith Weed will convene a group including the World Federation of Advertisers, Instagram and Richard Edelman to partner in leading the industry to bring increased trust, transparency and integrity in the influencer space.

Commenting, Keith Weed, Unilever CMO said

“In February, I said we needed to rebuild trust back into our digital ecosystems and wider society. One of the ways we can do that is to increase integrity and transparency in the influencer space. We need to address this through responsible content, responsible platforms and responsible infrastructure.

“At Unilever, we believe influencers are an important way to reach consumers and grow our brands. Their power comes from a deep, authentic and direct connection with people, but certain practices like buying followers can easily undermine these relationships.

“Today we are announcing clear commitments to support and maintain the authenticity and trust of influencer marketing.

“The key to improving the situation is three-fold: cleaning up the influencer ecosystem by removing misleading engagement; making brands and influencers more aware of the use of dishonest practices; and improving transparency from social platforms to help brands measure impact.

“We need to take urgent action now to rebuild trust before it’s gone forever.”

ENDS

Unilever PLC

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mediarelations.rotterdam@Unilever.com

Safe Harbour

This announcement may contain forward-looking statements, including 'forward-looking statements' within the meaning of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as 'will', 'aim', 'expects', 'anticipates', 'intends', 'looks', 'believes', 'vision', or the negative of these terms and other similar expressions of future performance or results, and their negatives, are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are based upon current expectations and assumptions regarding anticipated developments and other factors affecting the Unilever Group (the 'Group'). They are not historical facts, nor are they guarantees of future performance.

Because these forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, there are important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. Among other risks and uncertainties, the material or principal factors which could cause actual results to differ materially are: Unilever's global brands not meeting consumer preferences; Unilever's ability to innovate and remain competitive; Unilever's investment choices in its portfolio management; inability to find sustainable solutions to support long-term growth; the effect of climate change on Unilever's business; customer relationships; the recruitment and retention of talented employees; disruptions in our supply chain; the cost of raw materials and commodities; the production of safe and high quality products; secure and reliable IT infrastructure; successful execution of acquisitions, divestitures and business transformation projects; economic and political risks and natural disasters; financial risks; failure to meet high and ethical standards; and managing regulatory, tax and legal matters. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this announcement. Except as required by any applicable law or regulation, the Group expressly disclaims any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statements contained herein to reflect any change in the Group's expectations with regard thereto or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based. Further details of potential risks and uncertainties affecting the Group are described in the Group's filings with the London Stock Exchange, Euronext Amsterdam and the US Securities and Exchange Commission, including in the Annual Report on Form 20-F 2017 and the Unilever Annual Report and Accounts 2017.

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