The coronavirus pandemic is affecting millions of people all over the world in many different ways. Many communities are in lockdown. Frontline medics, factory staff, delivery teams and key workers are working tirelessly. Families are balancing teaching, parenting, caring and careers. And common to us all is regret at lives and livelihoods at risk, or lost, as a result of the outbreak.
There’s no question that these are incredibly challenging times. That’s why across Unilever we’re determined to use our reach and scale to help wherever we can. We’ve shared to provide free soap, sanitiser, bleach and food to the value of €100 million. We’re offering €500 million of cash flow relief to suppliers across our value chain. And as part of our local responses, we’ve committed to covering pay for everyone who works for Unilever until the end of June.
We believe our individual brands also have a vital role to play during the pandemic – and in our Beauty & Personal Care division, helping people safeguard their hygiene and enhance their wellbeing remains a key priority.
We’re shifting plans so we can develop and launch new hygiene products in days. We’re trading in advertising spots so we can air reminders urging audiences to keep up the habit of regular handwashing. And we’re coming up with new campaigns that are designed to keep consumers entertained and inspired through lockdown and beyond.
Every single team across Unilever is doing things differently, and we’re extremely proud of the resilience and creativity of the people making that happen.
Here’s how six of our brands have taken action so far
Clear’s purpose is to help people keep a clear head while maintaining a clear scalp, and the brand has launched a campaign to help consumers manage their mental wellbeing during these unprecedented times.
The Clear 14-day Resilience Challenge is an online platform designed to help users feel more confident physically, creatively and mentally, so that when the world opens up again they can come back stronger. Every daily activity is supported by an exercise and a short film, featuring experts and special guests.
“We know that we need both emotional energy and a rich world of support to build our resilience and drive us towards making the most of this time. Even if we were in top form physically and mentally before this crisis, we are going to feel emotional strain,” explains Dr Michael Ungar, Director of the Resilience Research Centre which helped design the challenge.
“As we work hard to make each day count, this 14-day plan can offer us clues, showing us new ways to find different aspects of resilience such as focusing on our strengths, reflecting and building networks, being mindful, expressing gratitude and establishing routines that will make it easier to resist anxiety and other mental health problems,” he adds.
Our Smile toothpaste brands – Signal, Pepsodent, Mentadent, Aim and P/S – know that care-givers and children are facing new daily struggles with misplaced routines through the pandemic. To help make brushing routines more fun, Smile added to its longstanding Little Brush Big Brush campaign with online tools to encourage regular toothbrushing. These include 21 online stories to take children on an adventure every time they brush, along with daily brushing calendars, an Alexa skill, memory games, colour sheets, e-books and more.
As visiting dental clinics can prove difficult during the lockdown, Pepsodent has launched online virtual clinics for consumers in Bangladesh and Indonesia via Facebook and WhatsApp, connecting consumers with dental professionals and helping to maintain their oral health.
Smile has also created an uplifting, emotive film called ‘The First Smile’, which sends a message of hope, gratitude to frontline workers, and Smile’s commitment to protect these smiles through donations and community efforts.
Rexona’s brand purpose is to inspire confidence in everyone to move more, however and wherever they want to. As the pandemic hit and millions were asked to stay indoors, Rexona kicked off its purpose by inspiring and motivating consumers to enjoy the benefits of exercise within the safety of their home – aiming to improve their mental and physical wellbeing and helping to stop the spread of Covid-19.
Rexona committed over €1 million to supporting fitness experts and communities around the world and has partnered with Movement Champions and partners, including pop group Now United, Chelsea and Manchester City football teams in the UK, and US basketball star Kevin Durant to provide creative and fun ways to stay active – from daily challenges to seven-day workouts and ten-minute exercise routines.
As lockdown restrictions in markets are easing, Rexona’s campaign has evolved from #MoveMoreAtHome to #KeepMovingMore, a rallying cry to everyone to keep moving as they did inside, no matter how, where and when they want to.
For this new phase of the campaign, Rexona’s role is to reignite category consumption and brand teams have therefore created assets that drive both purpose and product, while celebrating all the ways people can #KeepMovingMore. The brand is also launching multiple series across social channels, promoting messages across a range of themes to ensure the conversation remains fresh and engaging. To join the movement, follow #KeepMovingMore
Even before Covid-19 took hold, soap brand Lifebuoy had helped more than 1 billion people improve their handwashing habits through education programmes in schools and communities.
During the pandemic, the brand’s first response was to share public service announcements across 17 key markets simultaneously, encouraging people to use any soap to wash their hands – not just its own – to help prevent the spread of the disease. In an effort to further the message, Lifebuoy has also been working with more than 190 international influencers who are sharing TikTok challenges and social media posts encouraging people to #DoTheLifebuoy and wash their hands thoroughly with soap.
Lifebuoy teams have since worked tirelessly to expand the brand’s portfolio and availability to meet a tremendous increase in demand for hand-hygiene products. As well as donating more than 20 million products to frontline workers, the brand has launched new sanitiser formats in record time, serving people across more than 40 markets.
New partnerships are in place too. In the UK, Lifebuoy has teamed up with Uber to provide sanitisers for drivers and passengers. In Indonesia and India, the brand is partnering with food delivery apps to ensure delivery teams and customers can keep hands germ-free on the go. And in South-East Asia, Lifebuoy has been collaborating with e-commerce giant Lazada to meet unprecedented demand for products via online sales.
“Our focus hasn’t changed at all,” says Parnil Sarin, Global Brand Director. “For over 100 years Lifebuoy’s purpose has been to prevent infections and to save lives. As we learn to live with Covid-19, the most effective way we can stay protected remains to be through the simple act of washing hands with soap.”
The brand’s Vaseline Healing Project supports vulnerable communities around the world through partnerships with frontline clinics. This presence on the medical frontlines meant that when the Covid-19 pandemic hit, Vaseline was ready to double down on its commitment. Globally, the brand has now donated more than €5 million in funds, products and PPE to frontline workers and communities in need.
Due to overwhelming consumer demand for protection, Vaseline has also added to its portfolio with a new range of germ-killing products launched in record time. The team has activated ten different production sites to increase manufacturing capacity, and the range has already been launched in more than ten markets, with roll-outs planned in 20 more this year, helping millions of people to keep their hands moisturised and germ-free.
The brand has stayed connected with consumers via social media too, sharing co-ordinated communications across 30 markets. Its latest campaign – The New Touch – aims to keep the human connection alive in a world of social distancing.
Dove has always been inextricably linked with care – and it’s a message that resonates now more than ever.
All brands within the Dove family are donating products and funds as part of the global emergency response to help deliver care and support to those most in need.
Dove’s advertising and digital content has changed during lockdown too. Dove is recognising the heroic daily acts of healthcare workers, with its ‘Courage is Beautiful’ film, which launched in the US and Canada in April. It features the mask-marked faces of health professionals who are fighting for our safety every day.
To help care-givers at home, the Dove Self-Esteem Project (DSEP) is continuing to support the mental wellbeing of young people while schools are closed by partnering with a leading body-positive influencer and using platforms including Instagram Live to share advice on staying safe on social media and body confidence. All the DSEP’s educational tools are also available to download for free any time at .
Plus, knowing that for many parents managing childcare responsibilities alongside work has been a challenge, Dove Men+Care has been sharing how its international rugby player ambassadors care for their families while keeping to training commitments. The #DadsCare films show they all have their own unique way of caring for their partners and children, even more so in extraordinary times.