Exclusive: Unilever Joins E! For ‘Fabulist’ Launch

Unilever has signed up as the launch sponsor of E!’s new series The Fabulist, and its hair-care products will be making fashionable appearances in the show.

The Fabulist premieres Monday night, and looks at trends in fashion, beauty and lifestyle. The show is hosted by reality star Kristin Cavallari and designer Orly Shani.

Unilever products are integrated into on-location pieces in the show, into custom vignettes that will appear on E! and in co-branded tune-in spots for the program. In the first episodes, Shani’s hair gets styled with products in Unilever’s TRESemmé line.

Dove and Suave, two other Unilever brands, will also be integrated into episodes of The Fabulist.

Online, Unilever is represented as the exclusive sponsor of the beauty section of The Fabulist’s web page at Eonline.com for the show’s first four weeks. The companies will also do cobranded promotions on social platforms including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

David Rubin, VP of marketing, U.S. hair, for Unilever, said The Fabulist was attractive because the series appeals to consumers interested in the latest in beauty and fashion and who want to learn how those trends translate into their daily lives.

“It’s a great opportunity for our Unilever beauty brands to play a role in guiding women on how to get the look,” Rubin said. "We were able to provide our renowned celebrity stylists to demonstrate how to get the look or trend. For example, TRESemmé stylist Tyler Laswell helped transform The Fabulist host Orly Shani’s hair into big volume. Suave celebrity stylist Marcus Francis will also be featured in the show."

He said Suave, TRESemmé and Dove were chosen to integrate into the series because they were the company’s biggest hair brands. 

“As industry leaders, it is important for Unilever to be part of the trend dialogue and help consumers learn how to recreate on-trend, modern hair styles at home,” Rubin said. “Seeing a sales lift would be one tangible way to chart effectiveness of this type of integration, but equally important is strengthening our professional hair, salon and beauty credentials in consumers’ minds.”

Mindshare, Unilever’s media agency, helped put the deal together. “E!’s platform allows Unilever to extend the conversation about hair and beauty beyond one platform to multiple touch points: TV, digital and social,” said Matt Denerstein, managing director, national broadcast at Mindshare. “By integrating Unilever’s multiple hair brands into a broader dialogue about the hottest trends in fashion and beauty, we are able to tap into consumer passion points and create meaningful, long-term connections with the brands’ target audiences."

Jen Neal, executive VP of marketing for E!, said more clients are looking for high profile marketing partnerships, as opposed to just buying spots or planting simple product placements.

“Yes, clients come to E! to be associated with the latest in pop culture and to reach our coveted and influential audience in a 360 way,” she said. “The partnership with Unilever is a perfect example of aligning their business goals with our unique content and connected fan base to motivate consumer action.”

Neither Unilever nor E! would comment on how much Unilever is spending on the project. "Partnerships that are ideas led and incorporate a 360 approach are more valuable to clients, E! and our shared customers. I can't discuss the specific financials of our deals but these partnerships are created to drive unique engagement,” Neal said.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.