Tea Bag Kingpin Threatens Facebook and Google With Billion-Pound Boycott

By Gary Cutlack on at

Unilever, manufacturer of three-quarters of the things in your cupboards, fridge and large intestine, is joining the battle for online trust, and has warned the tech giants that it could pull its internet advertising unless drastic steps are taken to protect kids from fakers and weirdos.

And that ought to have Google and the rest more than a little bit worried, as Unilever spends around £7bn each year on advertising for its brands, a loss of income that could quickly put an end to all the fun developments Facebook and Google fund with their neverending flow of advertising money.

The menaces are coming from Unilever's marketing boss Keith Weed, who plans to deliver a speech to the Interactive Advertising Bureau today outlining his demands. Weed is expected to say that: "As one of the largest advertisers in the world, we cannot have an environment where our consumers don’t trust what they see online. And we cannot continue to prop up a digital supply chain — one that delivers over a quarter of our advertising to our consumers — which at times is little better than a swamp in terms of its transparency."

Chances are we wouldn't stop buying tea bags or washing powder if their respective ads disappeared from the internet either, so let's give it a go, Keith. Nuke us back to the Ask Jeeves era. [Guardian]