Gurjit Degun
Jul 9, 2015

Unilever marketing strategist: Startups are inventing adland's future

LONDON — Agencies need to engage with startups because they are "inventing the future" of the industry, according to Jeremy Basset, global marketing strategy director at Unilever.

Jeremy Basset
Jeremy Basset

At the Innovation Stories conference held in east London earlier today, Basset said Unilever took 50 startups to the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity last month to pitch to the industry.

Basset oversees Unilever Foundry, the CPG giant’s in-house startup program that nurtures new businesses with an eye to eventually partnering.

He said: "The world’s second-biggest advertiser has realized that startups are inventing the future in the advertising industry. … It’s about time that the industry engaged with them.

"The future has already been invented. At Unilever, it’s easy for us to build our own capabilities, but there’s no need because you can partner with what has already been developed. Our role is to help start-ups to scale up. That’s why in May last year we launched Unilever Foundry."

The company launched Unilever Foundry with the help of Karmarama and has had 3,000 applications, with $6 million invested into pilot startups.

Basset told the conference delegates that people need to embrace the idea that failing is part of the journey through "launching and learning, rather than plan and perfect".

He also called for more collaboration in the industry which he believes will fuel innovation.

Lawrence Weber, managing partner for innovation at Karmarama, said: "[Agencies] have got to embrace these types of relationships and think you add value through curation and collaboration and not worry too much about who is going to build something.

"If you’re worried that you’re the one that’s going to get paid for something, such as coding or making content, then you’ll stumble over the opportunity that I think is there to work in different ways."

This article first appeared on

This article is part of the Campaign Innovate series, a collection of articles that examine the way innovation, startups and technology are affecting the advertising and marketing industry.

Campaign Asia-Pacific has also launched the Campaign Innovate competition, an event that aims to provide a platform for Asia-Pacific's startups to pitch to some of the world's biggest brands. 


Related Articles

Just Published

3 hours ago

Havas Media extends social equity marketplace to the UK

After reporting success with a similar scheme in the US, the group wants to make it easier for advertisers to buy digital media that targets underrepresented audiences.

10 hours ago

Luxury labels must avoid the sales promotion trap ...

Companies greatly underestimate the damage that promoting a luxury brand can cause, with many brands assuming that the only way to survive in the short term, is to lower prices.

12 hours ago

Twitter launches an OOH campaign to combat mask-fatigue

Major landmarks, including Times Square in NYC and Millennium Park in Chicago, will be plastered with billboards of Tweets that make light of mask life.

21 hours ago

All of STB’s multi-faceted marketing initiatives so far

Perhaps no government department in the region has been as aggressive with its marketing than the Singapore Tourism Board, whose domestic tourism push has kicked into high gear in the last few weeks.