13 May 2024 – The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity has announced Unilever as the 2024 Creative Marketer of the Year. The honorary accolade is presented to a marketer that has amassed a body of iconic, Lion-winning work over a sustained period of time, with Unilever establishing a reputation for producing brave, creative and innovative marketing solutions. 

CANNES, FRANCE – JUNE 20: iHeartMedia’s fireside chat about driving creativity and success with Ryan Seacrest and Halsey on the main stage at Lumiere Theater, Palais during the Cannes Lions Festival>> on June 20, 2017 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Toni Anne Barson/Getty Images for iHeartMedia)

Unilever was last honoured as Creative Marketer of the Year in 2010 and in the following years has amassed hundreds of Lions. At last year’s Cannes Lions, Unilever was awarded Lions across a number of its brands including Dove, Hellmann’s, Dirt Is Good (known as Persil, Skip and OMO), Magnum, Vaseline, Marmite and Pot Noodle. 

In 2023, Unilever’s largest brand, Dove, was awarded the Media Lions Grand Prix for its ‘#TurnYourBack’ campaign by Ogilvy, London / DAVID, Madrid. ‘#TurnYourBack’ was deemed by Media Lions Jury President, Christian Juhl, to be “a timely example of how our industry can use the power of media to protect young people and empower them to reject the pressure they feel to conform to artificial standards and be confident in their true, unfiltered selves.”

Dove’s inclusive beauty mission was first launched through its 2004 campaign ‘Real Beauty’, which celebrates 20 years this year. Since then, the brand has been a trailblazer in demonstrating how marketing can drive impressive commercial results. Building on this platform in 2013, the ‘Dove Real Beauty Sketches’ campaign set out to give striking proof that women are more beautiful than they think – picking up 16 Lions, including the highly coveted Dan Wieden Titanium Lion Grand Prix as well as the Gold Creative Effectiveness Lion the following year. 

Today, Dove is a €6bn brand that continues to champion real-world change for DEI, including through the introduction of the CROWN Act in the US which makes race-based hair discrimination illegal. First passed into law in 2019, there are now 24 states with legislation in place. 

Unilever brand Hellmann’s also continues to stand out in culture through the brand’s ‘Make Taste, Not Waste’ creative platform, highlighting its long-standing mission to help people tackle food waste in the kitchen, most recently with the help of ‘Mayo Cat’ at the Big Game. With the same humorous tone, Hellmann’s ‘Mayo McHack’ campaign taught Brits how to ‘hack’ the missing mayo item on a famous restaurant chain’s menu, picking up two Silver Lions in PR and Brand Experience & Activation last year. 

These Award-winning campaigns are testament to the company’s commitment to creativity, underpinned by its marketing philosophy, ‘Get on the Frontline’, and delivered by its Creative Excellence program focused on effectiveness education, increasing creative ambition, nurturing creative talent, and eliminating barriers to creativity. This dedicated programme is championed by Unilever’s Creative Council, which brings together its Chief Marketing Officers and creative agency leaders and is chaired by Unilever’s Chief Growth & Marketing Officer, Esi Eggleston Bracey. 

About Unilever’s award, Simon Cook, CEO, LIONS, said: “This award is about recognising and celebrating those brands that are consistently delivering work that raises the bar for creative excellence across the global creative communications industry. Unilever is pushing the creative boundaries consistently and continuously across a wide range of brands from different markets, in collaboration with a breadth of agency partners, demonstrating a clear understanding and commitment to the power of creativity as a driver for progress and growth. Congratulations on this much deserved win.”

Esi Eggleston Bracey, Chief Growth and Marketing Officer, Unilever, commented: “Thank you, Cannes Lions, for recognizing our brand leaders and agency partners who are always pushing creative boundaries. Our commitment to bold, brave, and more creative marketing is unwavering. Creativity that starts with inspiration, connects to commerce at every moment and resonates with people to build desirable and unmissably superior brands. It is a huge honor to accept this award on behalf of our exceptional team that truly grasps the power of human connection to serve people and grow our brands.”

The Creative Marketer of the Year award was Introduced in 1992, with past recipients including AB InBev, Apple, Burger King, Coca-Cola, Google, Heineken, IKEA, Mars, McDonald’s, Samsung and Microsoft, each of which have demonstrated that consistent and world-class creativity underpinned by a culture of creativity drives business performance – and have won multiple Lions at the Festival as a result. 

Esi Eggleston Bracey will deliver Wednesday’s opening keynote during Cannes Lions and will collect this Award on behalf of Unilever at the final Awards Show of the Festival on Friday 21 June. Further information on Cannes Lions including Pass options can be found at www.canneslions.com