Guardian Labs launches with Unilever sustainable living partnership

Guardian News and Media (GNM) has launched Guardian Labs - its branded content and innovation agency - which offers brands bold and compelling new ways to tell their stories and engage with Guardian audiences.

The official launch of the new commercial proposition is marked by the announcement of a pioneering seven-figure partnership with Unilever, centred on the shared values of sustainable living and open storytelling.

Guardian Labs is built around the unique philosophy of Open Ideas that reflects the Open Journalism proposition of the Guardian as a whole, says the Guardian. At its heart is a collaborative and participative approach to developing brand stories that resonate amongst the highly engaged communities across all the Guardian platforms.

Guardian Labs co-creates bespoke ideas, content and products with a 133-strong team, including creatives, strategists, designers, video and content specialists working with the Guardian’s editorial, multi-media, digital development and marketing divisions.

The new Unilever partnership will create a bespoke engagement platform to increase awareness of, and foster debate about, sustainability issues, and ultimately encourage people to live more sustainable lives. The platform, which will initially focus on engaging with a UK-based audience, will provide interactive and cross-media content, as well as live events, from the beginning of March 2014.

Anna Watkins, managing director, Guardian Labs said: “It’s an incredibly exciting time to formally launch Guardian Labs as brands look for more engaging ways to tell their story. A combination of our top class editorial, creativity and digital innovation means we can offer something truly different, inspiring and effective.

“Our partnership with Unilever is a fantastic example of collaboration based on our shared values. Right from the start we brainstormed ideas, working across the whole of the Guardian, and built the campaign together. It represents a truly original way of working.”

Jon Goldstone, VP Brand Building Foods & Refreshment Unilever UK & Ireland said: “Sustainable living is at the heart of Unilever’s purpose. We have made great progress to reduce the environmental impact of our own operations and are now focusing on helping the millions of consumers who use our products every day to live more sustainable lifestyles. Our partnership with Guardian Labs presents us with an innovative and unique way of engaging with a greater number of consumers than ever before, in their homes and on the move, on a subject which is core to both Unilever and the Guardian’s values - sustainability.”

According to the publishers, Guardian Labs’ Open Ideas proposition works hand in hand with a multi-disciplined team, and builds on GNM’s track record of innovation and ‘digital first’ approach. A recent example is the multi award-winning EE Guardian Witness citizen journalism app which crowd-sources images, videos and stories from readers around the world.