Unilever’s return on investment from in-store promotions can be as much as 50% higher than campaigns run across Facebook and Twitter, according to sources close to the company.

The brand-owner has invested significantly in social media via the platforms, with brands such as Marmite, Sure and Lynx all promoted through Twitter in recent months.

However, a well-placed source told Marketing that Unilever marketing teams are questioning the logic of shifting big budgets to social media, when the equivalent spent on in-store promotions can deliver an ROI up to 50% higher.

The source claimed that Unilever is likely to skew marketing spend toward in-store prom-otions on brands such as Timotei, Radox and Marmite at the expense of social-media campaigns, in search of better ROI.
However, it will continue to back brands with social activity where it is a ‘good fit’, such as grooming-product brand Lynx/Axe.

Unilever chief executive Paul Polman has previously warned against the overuse of discount promotions, describing them as a ‘zero-sum game’. He predicted that, over time, social media will become a ‘much more effective tool for brand adoption than TV’.

Separately, Unilever has appointed Mark Bleathman, previously brand-building director, hair, to the new role of vice-president, brand-building, personal care.

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