Unilever, the world's second-largest advertiser, is experimenting with facial coding technology as part of its efforts to develop more sophisticated forms of advertising.
"Data is increasingly becoming a commodity," SVP Stan Sthanunathan said during an Advertising Research Foundation presentation this week.
The company has more than a dozen projects examining innovative research methods, with some of the research being driven by Unilever’s London-based incubator for ad-tech startups, the Unilever Foundry.
Chief MarCom officer Keith Weed said the company would like researchers within the industry to drive that process, but added that Unilever was more than willing to find answers to its demand for more analytics by going outside conventional channels.
"If we are going to get to a more structured approach to this incredibly fragmented and challenging world, I do think some of these things need to be coming through to the top of your agenda," Weed said. "We'd prefer to find the answers with you guys. But we shall find the answers. And if not, we'll have to look elsewhere."
Data and actionable analytics continue to come to the forefront as brands push for better metrics with which to measure advertising performance.
Procter & Gamble Global Brand Officer Marc Prichard, in a talk at the Association of National Advertisers Media Leadership Conference earlier this month, said it was time for the industry to "break the cycle of addiction to outdated metrics" and move toward measuring sales-based outcomes of marketing.
Sthanunathan said Unilever is rewarding its external researcher partners with an individual bonus program that recognizes innovation and good work, making them part of Unilever’s own team, ostensibly, in the process.
Take a deeper dive into this story at Ad Age.
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