1960 - 1969

The 1960s brings optimism and new ideas as the world economy expands and standards of living continue to rise.

Cornetto advertisingA time for growth

As a result Unilever expands and diversifies through innovation and acquisition, setting up advertising agencies, market research companies and packaging businesses. In 1968 it tries to merge with Allied Breweries in a truly ambitious acquisition bid. But maintaining profit stability is difficult as the gap widens between best and worst performing operations, and funds are invested to maintain low-yield businesses. 

In the mid-60s, a restructure increases opportunities to grow brands internationally. Control and European profit responsibility for the biggest brands are subsequently moved from individual operating companies to category-focused teams called Co-ordinations. 

Highlights

1960   

All washing-related brands are placed under the control of a single company, Lever Brothers and Associates. Becel, the pioneering 'health' margarine, is launched after the medical community asks Unilever to develop a cholesterol-lowering food product. Initially it's only available from pharmacies.

1961

Good Humor ice cream is acquired in the US. 

1963

Cornetto, the first packaged and branded ice cream cone, launches in Europe. Becel is repositioned as a diet margarine and distribution is widened to include the grocery sector.

1965

Unilever forms its own specialist packaging business, the 4P Group, turning an internal service provider into a profit earning business. Cif is launched, starting in France. 

1967

Captain Birds Eye/Iglo/Frudesa makes his first appearance in TV commercials.

1968

Unilever attempts unsucessfully to merge with Allied Breweries, one of the UK's largest brewing companies.

1969

Unilever airs the UK's first colour TV commercial, which is for Birds Eye peas.