Unilever: Huge and Expanding Global Reach

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Unilever’s mission statement is ‘meeting the everyday needs of people everywhere’, and the multinational definitely has a huge and expanding global reach. Unilever proudly declares that every day 150 million people are choosing their brands ‘to feed their families and clean their homes’. Unilever is one of the world’s top makers of packaged consumer goods and moves countless products like deodorants, fragrances, soap, margarine, tea and frozen foods all over the world. The corporation sells products in over 150 countries and has annual sales of approximately $ 46 billion (£31,5bn). Unilever controls subsidiaries in at least 90 countries and employs 295,000 (in 2000) people [1]. Unilever is one of the world’s top three food firms -after Nestle and Kraft- and the world’s second largest packaged consumer goods company –behind Procter & Gamble. However, in spite of Unilever’s vast size and presence worldwide, the company’s actual visibility is surprisingly low. Anonymity hides the company’s importance. Unilever does not retail under its own name, preferring brand names to create the illusion of diversity. Who does not know brand names like Magnum, Omo, Dove, Knorr, Ben & Jerry’s, Lipton, Slim-Fast, Iglo, Unox, Becel, and Lever2000? They’re all part of the ‘Unilever armada of brand names’. To make sure the brand names do not go unnoticed, Unilever spends huge amounts of money on marketing and advertising. Advertising has always been a keystone of Unilever’s businesses. The Dutch-Anglo company is likely to be the world’s number one advertiser. (Advertising Age estimate a 1999 global media spend of $3.7bn (£2,539bn), of which $3.1bn (£2,127bn) was outside the US, making Unilever the world's #1 advertiser)[2].
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