Unilever taps auto start-stop mobile video ads for billing transparency


Unilever brands Knorr, Rexona and Magnum are pushing out mobile video ads with an auto start-stop function that are less intrusive for consumers while enabling the marketer to only pay for visible impressions.

Ad transparency is a heated topic in digital marketing these days, with brands increasingly expressing frustration over not having a clearer picture of what they are paying for. Unilever, working with media agency Mindshare, has adopted YOC’s inline video ad format, which plays only when the video is in the user’s line of vision.

“There is a shortage of mobile video inventory and inline video offers an excellent solution to this problem,” said Adam Gilsenan, chief media consultant at YOC. “FMCG clients tend to favor AV creative, so mobile video is a great way to amplify existing creative assets.

“Unilever is running campaigns for its brands Knorr, Magnum and Rexona,” he said. “In the video you can see a Knorr campaign ‘Naturally delicious.’

“The product video was embedded in the content of an Austrian news site and the surfer’s normal action are not interrupted at all. If the video is in the user’s field of view the video will start running.”

Inline video

29528Unilever chose the inline video ads for a number of campaigns in support of its brands.

The videos were embedded within the editorial context of different publications. As a result, the surfing activities of users were not interrupted. The ads do not activate until the video appears in the user’s line of vision. If the user scrolls the video out of his or her line of vision, the video is paused.

The ads also feature “mute” and “sound” buttons. Clicking on an ad takes the user to the advertiser’s landing page.


The auto start-stop feature on the ads enables billing on the basis of visible impressions, meaning that Unilever only pays for video plays that have actually been seen.

Billing transparency

The ad unit contains the Video Ad Serving Template tag, which enables videos to be played and measured across platforms.

The format was developed European mobile advertising company YOC. The format complies with standards put forth by the Media Rating Council and the Interactive Advertising Bureau.


By making mobile ads more transparent, marketers can improve the accuracy of their measurements and get a clearer sense of mobile’s return-on-investment, which could lead to higher budgets when the results are strong.

29173As consumers spend more time on mobile, big marketers such as Unilever are looking for ways to effectively and efficiently transfer the branding activity that has typically taken place on televisions in the past and moving them over to smartphone screens.

The campaign is the latest example of Unilever’s strong commitment to mobile.

Unilever is leveraging The Weather Company’s dynamic Watson Ads unit, which lets users ask questions about the promoted product via voice or text.

Unilever’s Maille mustard brand is using beacon marketing to help it target foodies in Los Angeles and Chicago grocery stores, driving sales at the point of purchase while gaining earned media for the brand’s first digital campaign in the United States.

Unilever’s Axe brand calls out ads built around always-sexy guys in an irreverent mobile-first effort delivering surprise customized videos and showcasing how Axe can make users cool, even when they are not.

“Clients are increasingly asking to bill on visible impressions, it’s not unreasonable to ask to get what you pay for,” Mr. Gilsenan said. “This combined with the quality of viewable impressions is starting to separate Quality sources of Inventory and blinder more open buys.”

Source: Mobile Marketer

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