Unilever's return on investment from in-store promotions can be as much as 50% higher than campaigns run across Facebook and Twitter, according to sources close to the company.
The brand-owner has invested significantly in social media via the platforms, with brands such as Marmite, Sure and Lynx all promoted through Twitter in recent months.
However, a well-placed source told Marketing that Unilever marketing teams are questioning the logic of shifting big budgets to social media, when the equivalent spent on in-store promotions can deliver an ROI up to 50% higher.
The source claimed that Unilever is likely to skew marketing spend toward in-store prom-otions on brands such as Timotei, Radox and Marmite at the expense of social-media campaigns, in search of better ROI.
However, it will continue to back brands with social activity where it is a 'good fit', such as grooming-product brand Lynx/Axe.
Unilever chief executive Paul Polman has previously warned against the overuse of discount promotions, describing them as a 'zero-sum game'. He predicted that, over time, social media will become a 'much more effective tool for brand adoption than TV'.
Separately, Unilever has appointed Mark Bleathman, previously brand-building director, hair, to the new role of vice-president, brand-building, personal care.
He will oversee the marketing for TRESemme, Vaseline and Radox, among other brands.
Bleathman joined the company in 2011, having previously worked at hair brand Alberto Culver before its acquisition by Unilever.
The post of vice-president, brand-building, personal care, was created after the role cov-ering both hair and personal care, previously handled by Iain Potter, was split into two.
Potter is on sabbatical while Unilever hunts for a vice-president, brand-building, for its hair products.
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