A Report on Unilever and its Brands

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A Report on Unilever and its Brands

Unilever is a multi-national corporation, formed of AngloDutch parentage that owns many of the world’s consumer product brands in foods, beverages, cleaning agents and personal care products. Unilever employed 174,000 people and had aworldwide revenue of 40.5 billion in 2008.

Unilever is a dual-listed company consisting of Unilever NV in Rotterdam, Netherlands and Unilever PLC in London, England. This arrangement is similarto that of Reed Elsevier, and that of Royal Dutch Shell prior to their unified structure. Both Unilever companies have the same directors and effectively operate as a single business. The current non-executive Chairman of Unilever N.V. and PLC is Michael Treschow while Paul Polman is Group Chief Executive.

Unilever’s main competitors include Procter & Gamble, Nestlé, Kraft Foods, Mars, Reckitt Benckiser and Henkel.


Unilever was created in 1930 by the merger of British soapmaker Lever Brothers and Dutch margarine producer Margarine Unie, a logical merger as palm oil was a major raw material for both margarines and soaps and could be imported more efficiently in larger quantities.

In the 1930s the business of Unilever grew and new ventures were launched in Latin America. In 1972 Unilever purchased A&W Restaurants’ Canadian division but sold its shares through a management buyout to former A&W Food Services of Canada CEO Jeffrey Mooney in July 1995. By 1980 soap and edible fats contributed just 40% of profits, compared with an original 90%. In 1984 the company bought the brand Brooke Bond (maker of PG Tips tea).

In 1987 Unilever strengthened its position in the world skin care market by acquiring Chesebrough-Ponds, the maker of Ragú, Pond’s, Aqua-Net, Cutex Nail Polish, and Vaseline. In 1989 Unilever bought Calvin Klein Cosmetics, Fabergé, and Elizabeth Arden, but the latter was later sold (in 2000) to FFI Fragrances.

In 1996 Unilever purchased Helene Curtis Industries, giving the company “a powerful new presence in the United States shampoo and deodorant market”. The purchase brought Unilever the Suave and Finesse hair-care product brands and Degree deodorant brand.

Global employment at Unilever 2000-2008

Black represents employment numbers in Europe, light grey represents the Americas and dark grey represents Asia, Africa, and Middle East. Between 2000 and 2008 Unilever reduced global workforce numbers by 41%, from 295,000 to 174,000. Note: Europe figures for 2000-2003 are all Europe; from 2004 figures in black are Western Europe. For 2004-2008 Figures for Asia, Africa and Middle East include Eastern and Central Europe.

Source: Unilever Annual Reports 2004, 2008

In 2000 the company absorbed the American business Best Foods, strengthening its presence in North America and extending its portfolio of foods brands. In a single day in April 2000, it bought, ironically, both Ben & Jerry’s, known for its calorie-rich ice creams, and Slim Fast.

The company is fully multinational with operating companies and factories on every continent (except Antarctica) and research laboratories at Colworth and Port Sunlight in England; Vlaardingen in the Netherlands; Trumbull, Connecticut, and Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey in the United States; Bangalore in India (see also Hindustan Unilever Limited); Pakistan; and Shanghai in China.

The US division continued to carry the Lever Brothers name until the 1990s, when it adopted the parent company’s moniker. The American unit now has headquarters in New Jersey, and no longer maintains a presence at Lever House, the iconic skyscraper on Park Avenue in New York City.

Unilever has recently started a five year vitality company initiative in which it began to converge the marketing of disparate arms of their business, including personal care, dieting, and consumables into an umbrella function displaying the breadth of their contributions to personal vitality. This plan has been implemented because of the lack of recognition that the Unilever brand wields, despite its ubiquitous presence. In 2006 it concluded with the sell off of the global frozen foods division, excluding the ice cream business and the Italian frozen vegetables businesses.

Unilever’s Lipton brand certified by the Rainforest Alliance

The company promotes sustainabilityand started a sustainable agriculture programme in 1998.In May 2007 it became the first tea company to commit to sourcing all its tea in a sustainable manner, employing the Rainforest Alliance, an international environmental NGO, to certify its tea estates in East Africa (this did not apply to tea estates in India as Unilever sold all its plantations in India in 2005, although the company still sources from India). It declared its aim to have all Lipton Yellow Label and PG Tips tea bags sold in Western Europe certified by 2010, followed by all Lipton tea bags globally by 2015.

Covalence, an ethical reputation ranking agency, placed Unilever at the top of its ranking based on positive versus negative news coverage for 2007.

In 2008 Unilever was honoured at the 59th Annual Technology & Engineering Emmy Awards for “Outstanding Achievement in Advanced Media Technology for Creation and Distribution of Interactive Commercial Advertising Delivered Through Digital Set Top Boxes” for its program Axe: Boost Your ESP.


Unilever owns more than 400 brands as a result of acquisitions, however, the company focuses on what are called the “billion-dollar brands”, 13 brands which each achieve annual sales in excess of €1 billion. Unilever’s top 25 brands account for more than 70% of sales.The brands fall almost entirely into two categories: Food and Beverages, and Home and Personal Care.

List of Unilever brands

This is a list of brands opertated by the Anglo-Dutch multinational Unilever

Billion-Euro brands

Brands with annual sales in excess of €1 billion.



Food and beverages

 Fruco — ketchup, mayonnaise and condiments

 Peperami — Sausage snacks


Partial list of national brands variants of the Heartbrand

Kwality Wall’sIndia


Home and personal care brands

 Dove – skin, hair, and deodorant

  • Fair & Lovely – skin care product (available in India and Malaysia)
  • Finesse – shampoo and conditioner (sold in 2006 to Lornamead Brands, Inc.)
  • Gessy (Brazil)
  • Glorix (Netherlands)
  • Good Morning (Soap Egypt)
  • Impulse – deodorant
  • Lever 2000
  • Lifebuoy (Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Indonesia)
  • Linic – dandruff shampoo
  • Lynx – deodorant, men’s
  • Lyso Form – home care (Italy)
  • Lux – women’s soap, shower gel, and lotions (Caress in the United States)
  • Minerva – laundry and dishwasher detergents (Brazil)
  • Mist (Soap Egypt)
  • Pears Transparent Soap
  • Pepsodent – dental
  • Persil (IE/UK/FR/NZ)
  •  Pond’s
  • Quix – dishwashing liquid (Chile)
  • Q-Tips
  • Rexona deodorant
  • Rinso
  • Robijn softener
  • Sedal (known in Brazil as Seda) shampoo and conditioner
  • Signal (dental care)
  • SR -Dental
  • Skip – laundry detergent
  • Snuggle (Fofo in Brazil) – fabric softner
  • Suave
  • Sun – dishwasher
  • Sunil
  • Sunli
  • Sunsilk (Sedal in Latin America, Seda in Brazil) – shampoo and conditioner
  • Sure
  • Omo (Bolivia) – laundry detergent
  • Surf – laundry detergent
  • Swan (defunct)
  • Thermasilk – shampoo and conditioner
  • Timotei – shampoo and conditioner
  • Vaseline body lotion, shower gel, deodorant (Vasenol in Portugal, Brazil, Italy and Spain)
  • Vibrance – shampoo and conditioner
  • Vim (Bangladesh, India, Pakistan)
  • Vinólia – soap (Brazil)
  • Viso – laundry detergent (Vietnam)
  • Wisk – laundry detergent
  • Xedex
  • Zhonghua Toothpaste
    • Ala – laundry detergent (Argentina-Brazil)
  • Andrelon
  • Aviance
  • Axe – deodorant,shower gel,bodyspray (Lynx in the UK, Ireland and Australia)
  • Ayush (India)
  • Baba (East Europe)
  • Brilhante – laundry detergent (Brazil)
  • Brut – cologne
  • Caress – soap
  • Cif – cleaning
  • Clear – anti- dandruff shampoo (Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Pakistan, Poland, Hungary)
  • Close-Up – Toothpaste
  • Comfort
  • Cream Silk – conditioner (Philippines, Brazil, Kenya)
  • Degree
  • Domestos (Poland, Czech Republic, Romania, Hungary, Spain, Germany, Italy, Israel, France, Turkey)



The Heartbrand logo accompanying various brands of Unilever ice creams.

Unilever is the world’s biggest ice cream manufacturer, with an annual turnover of €5 billion. Except for Popsicle, Klondike, Ocean Spray ice cream, Slim Fast ice cream, Breyers and Ben & Jerry’s, all of its ice cream business is done under the “Heartbrand” brand umbrella, so called because of its heart-shaped logo. Unilever currently operates eleven ice cream factories in Europe; the biggest include factories at Heppenheim in Germany, Caivano in Italy, St. Dizier in France and Gloucester in the United Kingdom.

The Heartbrand was launched in 1999 (and slightly modified in 2002) as an effort to increase international brand awareness and promote cross-border synergies in manufacturing and marketing (“centralisation”). It is present in more than 40 countries. Although the logo is common worldwide, each country retained the local brand so as to keep the familiarity built over the years, one notable exception being Hungary where the previous Eskimo brand has been replaced with Algida in 2003.

In 2005, Glidat Strauss received special permission from Unilever to export their brand of ice cream to the United States because of the strict kosher certification the products in Israel have. Under terms of the agreement, Strauss ice cream and krembo may be sold only in kosher supermarkets and import shops. It is distributed in North America by Dairy Delight, a subsidiary of Norman’s Dairy.

A freezer in Queens, NY filled with Strauss ice cream from Israel with the Heartbrand

Prior to the heart logo, each country could choose its own logo, although the most common one consisted of a blue circle with the local brand’s name over a background of red and white stripes; second most common old logo, used by Wall’s in the UK and other countries, was a yellow logo with Wall’s in blue text.

Unilever generally manufactures the same ice-cream with the same names, with rare occasions of regional availability, under different brands. Some of these ice-creams include Carte D’Or, Cornetto, Magnum, Solero and Viennetta.


Unilever has produced many advertising campaigns, including:

  • PG Tips Monkey and Al
  • Flora London Marathon
  • Knorr global brand
  • Calve Pindakaas (peanut butter) in the Netherlands
  • Comfort Pure recommended by mothercare
  • Clear Anti-Dandruff shampoo and conditioner with the entertainer Rain

Corporate governance

Unilever’s highest executive body is called the Unilever Executive which is led by the Group Chief Executive (Paul Polman). It is responsible for delivering profit and growth across the company.

Executive and non-executive directors at Unilever are:

Members of the Unilever Executive include:


Unilever has attracted a variety of criticisms from political, environmental and human rights activists. For example, it has been criticised by Greenpeace for causing deforestation, for testing products on animals by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, and for making use of child labour, among others.


Unilever was briefly targeted by Greenpeace UK in 2008, who criticised the company for buying palm oil from suppliers who are destroying Indonesia’s rainforests. Unilever, as a founding member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, responded immediately by revealing its plans to source its palm oil from sources that are certified as sustainable. In Ivory Coast one of Unilever’s palm oil suppliers was accused of clearing forest for plantations. Their activities were threatening the extinction of a primate species, Miss Waldron’s Red Colobus, whose last few specimens live in an area that was targeted for clearance. Unilever intervened and halted these activities subject to the result of a thorough environmental assessment.


Unilever has been criticised by international commentators such as Corpwatch for failing to live up to the environmental standards it proclaims especially when operating in developing countries such as India. In India Unilever operates through its subsidiary Hindustan Unilever.

Involvement in race issues

According to The Telegraph, Hindustan Unilever, an Indian company that is majority owned by Unilever, was forced to withdraw television advertisements for its women’s skin-lightening cream, Fair and Lovely. Advertisements depicted depressed, dark-skinned women, who had been ignored by employers and men, suddenly finding new boyfriends and glamorous careers after the cream had lightened their skin.

Dumping of mercury at Kodaikkanal

Unilever was accused by Greenpeace of double standards and shameful negligence for allowing its Indian subsidiary, Hindustan Lever, to dump several tonnes of highly toxic mercury waste in the densely populated tourist resort of Kodaikanal and the surrounding protected nature reserve of Pambar Shola, in Tamilnadu, Southern India.

Greenpeace activists and concerned residents cordoned off a contaminated dump site in the centre of Kodaikanal to protect people from the mercury wastes that have been recklessly discarded in open or torn sacks by Hindustan Lever which manufactures mercury thermometers for export, mainly to the United States. According to Hindustan Lever, from there, the thermometers are sold to Germany, UK, Spain, USA, Australia and Canada. The factory, set up in 1977, imported from the United States, after the US factory was shutdown for ‘unknown reasons’.


The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood criticized Unilever for the 2007 Axe marketing campaign, which they considered sexist. Unilever’s response is that the Axe campaign is intended as a spoof and “not meant to be taken literally”. Critics noted that at the same time Unilever launched the contradicting Dove “Real Beauty” marketing campaign, which encouraged women to reject the underfed and hyper-sexualized images of modern advertising.

Trade unions

Trade unions representing Unilever employees around the globe have registered a number of complaints about the company, including tens of thousands of job losses in recent years. Many former Unilever employees are now outsourced, leading unions to write about “the vanishing Unilever worker”. In one example of such a dispute, in September 2008 Unilever Pakistan called in police and paramilitary as a union protested job transfers to a third party. In December 2007 a global trade union day of action against Unilever was called. In early October 2008, the global union federation representing food workers, the IUF, launched a new global website focusing on these issues called UnileverWatch. Occupied Territories

Unilever owned 51% of Beigel and Beigel, a bakery in the Barkan Industrial Park which employs Israeli and Palestinian workers. It is in an Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank. In 2008 it announced it would be divesting its ownership in the factory.


Popular media

The band Chumbawamba has a song critical of Unilever, simply named after the company.

Product groups


In its online product catalogue, retailer Sears, Roebuck and Company divides its products into departments, then presents products to shoppers according to (1) function or (2) brand. Each product has a Sears item number and a manufacturer’s model number. The departments and product groupings that Sears uses are intended to help customers browse products by function or brand within a traditional department store structure.

Sizes and colors

A catalog number, especially for clothing, may group sizes and colors. When ordering the product, the customer specifies size, color and other variables. example: you walk into a store and see a group of shoes and in that group are sections of different colors of that type of shoe and sizes for that shoe to satisfy your need.

Product line

A product line is “a group of products that are closely related, either because they function in a similar manner, are sold to the same customer groups, are marketed through the same types of outlets, or fall within given price ranges.”

Many businesses offer a range of product lines which may be unique to a single organization or may be common across the business’s industry. In 2002 the US Census compiled revenue figures for the finance and insurance industry by various product lines such as “accident, health and medical insurance premiums” and “income from secured consumer loans”. Within the insurance industry, product lines are indicated by the type of risk coverage, such as auto insurance, commercial insurance and life insurance.

Service types

National and international product classifications

Various classification systems for products have been developed for economic statistical purposes. The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) classifies companies by their primary product. The European Union uses a “Classification of Products by Activity” among other product classifications. The United Nations also classifies products for international economic activity reporting.

The Aspinwall Classification System (Leo Aspinwall, 1958) classifies and rates products based on five variables:

    1. Replacement rate (How frequently is the product repurchased?)
  • Gross margin (How much profit is obtained from each product?)
  • Buyer goal adjustment (How flexible are the buyers’ purchasing habits with regard to this product?)
  • Duration of product satisfaction (How long will the product produce benefits for the user?)
  • Duration of buyer search behaviour (How long will consumers shop for the product?)

The National Institute of Governmental Purchasing (NIGP)developed a commodity and services classification system for use by state and local governments, the NIGP Code.

The NIGP Code is used by 33 states within the United States as well as


For the tax agency in Ireland of the same name, see Revenue Commissioners. For the tax agency in the United Kingdom of the same name, see HM Revenue and Customs.

In business, revenue or revenues is income that a company receives from its normal business activities, usually from the sale of goods and services to customers. Some companies also receive revenue from interest, dividends or royalties paid to them by other companies.<href=”#cite_note-0 title=””>[1] Revenue may refer to business income in general, or it may refer to the amount, in a monetary unit, received during a period of time, as in “Last year, Company X had revenue of $32 million.”

In many countries, including the UK, revenue is referred to as turnover.

Profits or net income generally imply total revenue minus total expenses in a given period. In accounting and financial anal