Unilever and AMC team for ad vignettes with


Credit Unilever’s pioneering “reverse upfronts,” in which brand managers work with media companies (in this case was Mindshare Entertainment) to develop ideas on how to best showcase brands across well ahead of the annual upfronts. So, with a nod to nostalgia, Unilever has joined AMC’s Mad Men for a unique season-long sponsorship that takes product integration to a whole new level. The campaign incorporates six iconic Unilever brands, including Dove, Breyers, Hellmann’s, Klondike, Suave and Vaseline, into a series of 13 vignettes. The spots are airing during season four of the hit show as well as online, including a dedicated YouTube channel–http://www.youtube.com/smithwinter.

Kathy O’Brien, Vice President of Personal Care, Unilever U.S., tells RBR-TVBR: “Unilever has a history of engaging consumers through innovative marketing campaigns, and our Mad Men sponsorship is just a recent example. In this instance, the historical angle of the vignette series echoes the setting of the popular show and connects with consumers in a contextually relevant way.”

Adds Greg Manago, Senior Producer, Mindshare Entertainment: “We were inspired by Mad Men’s ability to take real marketing history and make it relevant in a modern day context.  We took the historical brand positioning of these six Unilever brands and used a little creative license to imagine how these characters could have come up with these concepts.  The real trick was in connecting historical positioning with current positioning in order to make it relevant to today’s consumer.”

The Unilever vignettes offer a behind-the-scenes look at the creative partners of a fictional 1964 ad firm, Smith Winter Mitchell. This week’s upcoming vignette features the agency brainstorming a new campaign for Hellmann’s mayonnaise.

Designed to celebrate the heritage of the brands that are as popular today as they were in the 1960s, this campaign combines witty historic parody with modern ad footage back-to-back.

In each vignette, Smith Winter Mitchell’s founding creative partners, copywriter Phil Smith and art director Tad Winter, are tasked with developing ad campaigns for big-name brands such as Dove, Breyers, Hellmann’s, Klondike, Suave, and Vaseline. Smith Winter Mitchell is a boutique shop not afraid to take on the big names of Madison Avenue and the big brands of Unilever.

The vignettes air during Mad Men, Sunday nights at 10 p.m. ET.

RBR-TVBR observation: These are well-done, humorous, and sure to rivet viewers to the screen. Of course, Mad Men is made for this sort of campaign, but still illustrates how brand managers, producers and media agencies can work together to come up with something different – something that stands out from the other :60 second ads. We noticed that in each of them, the nostalgic side of the ad takes up about :45 of the entire ad.