How far does Unilever actually go with ‘marketing aimed at children’?

An escort like a pre-university literature list full of depressed Russians, fateful eighties and angry feminists?

Quite remarkable, but not entirely surprising, was the news on April 21 that Unilever no longer focuses its food marketing on children under 16 years of age. The treasure chest and the pear ice disappear. Liuk probably. Because ‘marketing’ is marketing.

Unilever is serious about its mission to make the world a better place, and they should be commended for that. Of course. In an editorial office full of marketing geeks, such news leads to the question of how much consequence such a decision actually has. If you take a look at the entire Unilever brand family, you quickly come to the conclusion that there are actually very few brands that immediately think of children as a potential sales channel. Which products are (still) aimed at children?

Note that the press release literally says: ‘Unilever will stop marketing food and beverages to children under the age of 16 across both traditional and social media.’

It does not say ‘advertising’, ‘communication’ or ‘promotion’ of F&B. Media is mentioned, but one can of course interpret it quite broadly. A package is a medium. Also a product in itself.

peanut butter technically

Lucky for Ax – once legendary with its flawed slightly sexist commercials (see below). The Unilever brand is mainly looking for teenagers, but of course it is not food, and in the light of the general interest, it is nice that they continue to push for it among boys. food and drinks.

Conimex and Unox are not in a danger zone, although care must be taken not to hand out Unox hats to young people under 16 during the New Year’s dive. In any case, there was football: We read somewhere that ‘Calvé tried to reach children (action around ball boys / girls), young people (clinics with Jumbo-Visma Academy) and adults (commercial with a bread-spreading boy) with his campaigns.


It is striking that Unilever in its announcement mainly makes statements about advertising, but thus promises something about marketing. We dwell on that thought for a while. Matt Close, President Ice Cream:

“We recognize the power that social media and influencer marketing can have on children’s choices, and we believe it is important to raise the bar for responsible marketing to a minimum age of 16, both on traditional and social media (…. “Our goal is to continue to reduce children’s exposure to the food and beverage industry’s advertising and instead support parents in seeking appropriate treats that they can enjoy from time to time.”

Responsible marketing is much more than marketing communication. Few companies in the world understand this better than Unilever. P for product with its B for brand is the most important. There is nothing to do without a product advertise† Lipton in all its manifestations appears to be mainly an adult product, although children drink it with hectoliters of course, including the version with sugar. Unilever knows that too, but Unilever can do nothing about it. Be careful not to sponsor a youth tournament here or there, stay away from the promotional bag during the evening for four days. Warning on the bottle, however, seems justified. Not for children under 16.

Liuk with his licorice stick

The real effect, of course, is in the ice cream, hence the quotes from Matt-the-iceman in the cover. And Ben & Jerry’s and Duke do not play the youthful lead roles. It is probably eaten by lots of young people, but the products are not primarily made for children. With ‘ice’, things are a little more complicated. A glance at the Ola card shows you with a glance that the festivity is still there. That landing page may not be aimed at children, but it is also not entirely aimed at adults. What do Ola and its countless brand variants sell? Okay Solero and Magnum are real adults. Cornetto, Cream Cup and Vienetta too, but Liuk with his licorice bar?

‘Adults eat pear ice cream, but especially if they have a hangover’

The treasure chest disappears. Can not do anything else. One can not with dry eyes maintain that it is intended for seniors who give themselves a moment of pampering. A shame, because it has been a big favorite in the Ola range for many years. The rocket performs really well at dance festivals, but is it not a product for children under 16? And the Festini pear ice creams – very popular with toddlers – may need to be provided with a warning text and black glossy wrap. Adults will eat them, but be honest. Especially if they have hangovers. Product for children. Unilever is not shady about the Party Mix: ‘The ice cream is made according to Ola’s guidelines for responsibly made for children’. They’re going out. ‘Unilever wants to stop marketing to children’, it reads. A product made for children’s consumption. marketing.

P for Place is also interesting. And also a Marketing-P, which Unilever understands well. The freezer on the beach, in the supermarket and hardware store. And in the sports canteen. There he will disappear, for that is where marketing is aimed at children (or he goes out in the morning when the students are playing and enters again in the afternoon when the corpulent fifth team enters the meadow).

The most beautiful marcom product that Ola delivers: the annual ice cream

And finally there is the price. It forgot the P. P that plays a major role in perhaps the most beautiful marcom product that Ola delivers: the annual Ola ice cream. We have several even at home, including the following. The last one – from the summer season 2001 – that paid in gold, cut from a MarketingTribune from 2008.

It will be a somewhat gloomy, but perhaps very stylish price state. Unilever will at all costs prevent children (up to 16 years old) who will only look at it, let alone click on it, as they pass the campsite. Maybe something in the layout of a math exam or a dental call. Or just in the look and feel of a pre-university literature list full of depressed Russians, fateful eighties, and angry feminists. We look forward to the conversations between Efteling and Unilever, even though we do not get anything from them (or do they have Nestlé there?).

Yes, we understand too: Unilever says marketing and means advertising. But if anyone can do anything about the poor state of ‘understanding of marketing’, it is the largest marketing factory in Northwestern Europe. And if you are serious, you will agree to the above ‘spread’ of the effect, because that pear ice cream is a big lump of sugar for toddlers. Loved by parents, feared by dentists and dietitians. The mountain wave confusion does not change that.


And of course, all this applies not only to the Dutch Ola, but to all the brands with the same logo, (usually) the same ice cream and the same ice cream menu. All Unilever: Algida, Bresler, Eskimo, Frigo, Frisko, GB Glace, Glidat Strauss, Good Humor, HB, Helados La Fuente, Holanda, Inmarko, Kibon, Kwality Wall’s, Langnese, Lusso, Miko, Olá, Pingüino, Selecta, Streets , Ten and Walls.

It’s called Helados La Fuente in Colombia. That Treasury goes off the map even though we are not sure if it is on it.

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