Youth brands go the online way

By , agencyfaqs! | In Advertising | November 22, 2006
After Sunsilk rolled out and Axe launched the Axe Unlimited Academy, another popular brand has joined the 'gang of brands' aiming their TG through the web

A plain & #BANNER1 & # 30-second TVC is just not enough to influence the young consumer today. More and more marketers are now acknowledging this fact, especially the youth brands.

Be it Axe, Sunsilk or Whisper now, brands owners have now realized that a 30-sec TVC can possibly hit the youth's blind spot, but to further involve and engage the consumers with the brand, online communities are the way to go.

Deodorant brand Axe was amongst the first to tread the blog road in India, with the Axe Unlimited Academy on Internet. To mark the launch of Axe Unlimited (a new variant), an online community - the Axe Unlimited Academy - was launched with much fanfare in 2005, for boys and young men to master the art of seduction. This was followed by Sunsilk, which rolled out, an online blog for teenagers and young women.

While Axe was male-skewed, brought together young women, who can air out their views and problems, besides getting makeovers and beauty tips.

Following the footsteps of Axe and Sunsilk, the latest to join the bandwagon is P&G's Whisper. The feminine hygiene brand has rolled out, an interactive online community for teen girls, so that they can share their joys and worries, experiences on relationships, discuss hushed girly topics, and get solutions to growing up concerns that every girl experiences.

The Whisper home page targets 14-19-year-old girls, with four interactive sections in it. The first, 'Your Body', throws light on topics such as changes during puberty and urban myths around menstruation. 'Your Mind' is the second one, and deals with emotional topics such as love, jealousy and friendship. The 'Beauty' section, as the name suggests, gives tips on getting that perfect look, with tips on skin, make-up, fashion and hair. The last one, 'Love & Relationships', delves into issues of the heart.

Sounds suspiciously similar to Sunsilk's community blog?

"While the interactive part may be similar, there's a lot more to", says Isha Narayan, assistant brand manager, Whisper, adding, "The 'Your Body' section in particular has a lot on dating during the days of menstruation, and other personal topics that girls may not discuss with guys or their families".

Explaining what made the web so viable for Whisper, she continues, "As the Internet is a one-to-one medium as opposed to a one-to-many type, this was the perfect platform for a girl's own personal brand, such as Whisper".

"Such kind of blogs help a brand to access an intense population of exactly the kind of people it wants to target," adds Sriram V Iyer, creative director, Lowe, who was on the team for the Axe Unlimited Academy activity. MindShare Fulcrum was also a part of this. Internet provided Lowe and MindShare Fulcrum with 76 per cent reach and the time spent by each guy who visited the website crossed more than 28 minutes. The academy saw eight lakh hits on the website, 1.07 lakh mobile hits and 9,800 downloads. Eventually, there were 2.76 lakh visitors with 46,000 registrations. After the launch of the campaign, Axe deodorants captured more than 45 per cent of the market share, according to executives at MindShare Fulcrum.

So, do these online communities sponsored by brands, only bring in youth audiences? "I'm afraid statistics do say so at this point", says Iyer of Lowe. "However, as the reach and power of Internet expands, it is bound to attract more visitors and, in turn, more brands."

According to Narayan at P&G, that is already beginning to happen. A while ago, HSBC too had launched a discussion forum,, for everyone to air their views/queries on financial matters or even other unrelated topics such as family issues, social topics and the like.

2006 agencyfaqs!

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