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February 4, 2004

UK: Unilever Bestfoods: life begins at 60 (COMMENT)

Unilever has unveiled its latest UK television advertisement for Bertolli. By using images of active ageing and making associations with the Mediterranean diet, the forthcoming advertisements bear many similarities to the preceding Olivio campaigns. As well as continuing the rebranding drive that saw the Olivio name replaced by Bertolli, the adverts will specifically appeal to the growing number of UK seniors.

Unilever has unveiled its latest UK television advertisement for Bertolli.

By using images of active ageing and making associations with the Mediterranean diet, the forthcoming advertisements bear many similarities to the preceding Olivio campaigns. As well as continuing the rebranding drive that saw the Olivio name replaced by Bertolli, the adverts will specifically appeal to the growing number of UK seniors.

Olivio was renamed Bertolli in August as part of Unilever’s attempt to boost the profile of the olive oil based range in the UK market. The renaming and consolidation formed part of its ‘path to growth’ strategy to focus on its core brands, which entails reducing its portfolio from 1,600 to 400 core brands.

The forthcoming advertisement incorporates the theme ‘Poor Pietro’ and features an elderly gentleman who, after appearing to be struggling to make his way around an Italian village with a walking stick, soon breaks into a run when he sees a pram containing a small baby in freefall down the street. The advertisement then finishes with the strapline, “People in the Mediterranean stay active longer, thanks to a diet rich in fresh fruit, vegetables and olive oil”.

The fact that Ugo Sansonetti, the 84 year-old runner who plays the elderly gentlemen, can still run 100 meters in 15 seconds certainly helps to reinforce the health angle as Unilever seek to reinforce the message that Bertolli spread is made from Bertolli olive oil.

The latest TV activity follows a flurry of marketing activity in 2002 when Unilever first revamped the packaging of its Bertolli range. Posters have already played on the name change theme and feature sprightly elderly Italians and families associated with both brands.

The renaming transition has already been facilitated by the fact that the products and brand values were inherently similar. Now, using a similar theme to successful Olivio advertisements of recent years, Unilever will be relatively confident that the reminder campaign will not have alienated any previously loyal Olivio consumers.

The advertisements should also capitalise on favourable consumer perceptions of the Mediterranean diet’s health benefits. This, together with the aspirational portrayal of senior lifestyles, will help ensure that the product remains highly relevant to the UK’s senior citizens; a consumer group of growing importance in terms of both numbers and wealth.

(c) 2004 Datamonitor. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without prior written consent. Datamonitor shall not be liable for errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

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