Prior to this role, Jathanna (pictured) was associate global planning director on Unilever’s OMO account, based at Lowe Singapore. That role is currently vacant.
He has been working for Lowe on Unilever accounts for 12 years in markets including South Asia; Middle East, Turkey and Africa (META); Singapore and Thailand.
In his new role, he will oversee all Unilever business at Lowe China. This will also ease the load of Fanny Yum, MD, so she can focus on developing other Lowe businesses and the Beijing office.
Kitty Lun, chairwoman and CEO of Lowe China, told Campaign Asia-Pacific that Unilever is Lowe China’s biggest client and the agency is handling 19 of its brands.
Lun said that the agency has been looking for a leader to head up the Unilever account in China, but took some time because it wanted someone with knowledge of Unilever's business, China and Lowe.
Jathanna will be based in Shanghai, where the client is based, but will travel extensively around China, as many international brands are moving into tier two and three cites.
“My background of having partnered Unilever in various markets and regions across the globe, helping them land global campaigns with diverse set of consumers will be one of the things I will bring with me on this stint,” Jathanna told Campaign Asia-Pacific.
He added that the biggest challenge is raising the agency's game on the work. "I don't just mean raising the ceiling but also the floor," he said. “We need to take our collective body of work to the next level. This is a challenge because of the diversity that exists in China and the rigorous, albeit necessary, scrutiny we put our work through.”
Lun said that for the Unilever business in China in terms of communication volume, Zhonghua Toothpaste has the largest budget, follow by the OMO laundry brand, while Cornetto ice-cream and Knorr soup bouillon also did very well in China in 2013. Lun added that Lowe China will be helping Unilever to debut two new brands in Mainland China in 2014, although she declined to name them.
Globally, Lowe has been working on Unilever’s creative account for more than a century, as Lintas was originally Unilever's in-house advertising department.