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Unilever’s ‘All Things Hair’ provides stellar example of big data in action


Big data might be one of those phrases we’re all now used to hearing, but finding examples of those truly using it effectively (and willing to talk about it) are few and far between.

Enter then Unilever’s All Things Hair, a YouTube channel from the UK that really speaks to real-time relevance thanks to true data insights.

Created in conjunction with agency Razorfish, it is filled with hair styling tutorials from leading video bloggers (vloggers). That content isn’t arbitrary however, rather selected based on Google searches.

Unilever partnered with the search giant to gain real-time insights into what exactly people are looking for knowledge on. There are 11 billion searches about hair on Google every year; 30 million each day – a rich pool to draw from, enabling the company to predict what solutions, problems and styles people care about.

That information is sent to the vloggers – many of whom have several million followers in their own right too – who are paid by Unilever to create the tutorial content incorporating brands including Toni & Guy, Dove and VO5.

Speaking at Cannes Lions this year, Unilever chief marketing and communications officer, Keith Weed, said: “The content is relevant, useful and authentic. It’s a really cool application of big data, based on what is actually big insights.”

It’s also a great example of merging together real-time search data with influencer and content marketing. Cleverly it does so in a way that retains an authentic feel, rather than a hardline promotional one.

Accordingly, the channel has generated over 17 million views and an average viewing time of one minute and 51 seconds, since it launched in December 2013.

Some example content:

By Rachel Arthur

Rachel Arthur is Editor-in-Chief of Current Daily, the leading news source for fashion, retail and innovation, and the co-host of its weekly Innovators podcast. She otherwise serves as Co-Founder and Chief Innovation Officer of Current Global, a transformation consultancy driving growth within fashion luxury and retail. By background she is an award-winning business journalist and consultant, contributing to titles including Wired, Forbes and Business of Fashion.

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