Unilever follows you home via GPS


In a high-tech twist on promotional prizes, Unilever’s Omo detergent will hide GPS devices in 50 two-pound boxes for Brazilian consumers to buy and take home. The campaign seeks to boost sales of a new stain-fighting version of Omo. It also has elicited privacy concerns from online readers.

The tracking devices are activated when shoppers lift the boxes from the supermarket shelf, and Omo’s agency Bullet – who came up with the innovative promotion – can then track buyers to their doorstep. Each “winner” will be given a pocket-size video camera and invited to an all- expenses-paid day of Unilever-sponsored family fun. The promotion builds on the brand’s international “Dirt is Good” positioning by adding, “Try Something New With Omo.”

The fifty boxes are spread around Brazil in 35 cities and according to Fernando Figueiredo, Bullet’s president, “the nearest team can reach the shopper’s home “within hours or days,” and if they’re really close by, “they may get to your house as soon as you do.” If a box is tracked to an apartment building, the device enables the team to go floor by floor in search of the unwitting consumer.

A dedicated website, experimentealgonovo.com.br (Portuguese for “try something new”) launches in August and will post photos of the winners, their locations, (approximately), and video of the Bullet-Omo teams in pursuit – arriving at unsuspecting consumer’s doors.

Some analysts have criticized Unilever and Bullet for pushing the privacy envelope.

“Anything can happen,” commented Figueiredo. “We have to be innovative, but we don’t know what reaction to expect from consumers. It costs more than a traditional promotion and is riskier because it’s never been done before, but it’s worth it. We believe in using new technology for promotional marketing.”

Whether this will go down as a successful use of technology or a creepy stalker moment remains to be seen. What’s your take?