How Mondelez implements empathy to get around the ‘creepy chasm’ of personalized marketing

During Advertising Week, Jon Halvorson, Global Vice President of Consumer Experience, highlights that efficiency is driven by smarter advertising and a simpler media plan.

The push and pull between reaching the ladder and displaying more personalized and consumer-relevant ads have long haunted the good marketers who oversee dozens of brands. In 2017, Procter & Gamble’s note removed targeted Facebook ads because they believe it’s an ineffective tactic, even though the posts are informed by more underhanded behavior.

Four years later, the category still faces many of the same problems as it struggles to break through the main ways users view online, which is third-party cookies. At Mondelez, executives have implemented a strategy that seems to go beyond the notion of “custom,” downplaying the concept of empathy — an increasingly common theme in the industry that even competitors, including PepsiCo, have endorsed.


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“If we were going from a $25 billion company to a $50 billion company, marketing should carry a lot of weight,” said Jon Halvorson, global vice president of consumer experience at Mondelez International, during a panel at Advertising Week… moderated by Innovid on Wednesday.

“When we looked at each other, we were very accomplished. We all aim with our mouths and show everyone the same message,” he added. If we think about it, it doesn’t make sense. I think every CPG marketer intuitively knows that it doesn’t make sense.”

Keep it simple

Mondelez’s biggest ‘large-scale empathy’ project was technically launched in late 2020, but the groundwork has been laid over the years and speaks of the often slow change of leading international traders.

“I want to think it’s going to take a year for everything to be on an organizational level,” Halvorson said.

Halvorson said.

The executive said Mondelez oversees 852 reference combinations, with about nine brands accounting for 50% of sales and another 45 for the other half. In terms of marketing, these products produce exceptionally large amounts of resources, giving a greater mandate to automation tools that can help speed up the execution process.

“In all of your marketing models, you can have some degree of complexity somewhere; you can’t have complexity everywhere, otherwise you’re average everywhere,” he said.