Deodorant brand Axe is known for its cheeky, in-your-face campaigns that end up generating buzz, and its new thematic brand campaign, 'Call Me', is no different. Targeted at the young urban male, the cool, sexy, youthful brand is positioned as one that helps guys get ahead in the mating game.
The new campaign, launched in early March with two international TVCs ('Mist' and 'Ketchup'), showed girls swooning over Axe men and giving them their telephone numbers. Both films end with the girls giving the boys the number 09987333333.
Even before the campaign broke, there were teaser print ads that ran talking about the 'Numberitis' disease, based on reports were released by Axe Research Labs. The lab conducted a study of 750 girls across six cities in India about phone conversations.
The research gave out details on women who were open to flirting over the phone and gave out their phone numbers to guys who they liked. Statics included factoids like ninety two per cent of girls confessing that they are willing to exchange phone numbers with a guy if they like him in the first meeting. This was the insight that drove the new Axe 'Call me' campaign idea.
When someone calls the Axe number the caller gets to talk to an Axe angel Tanya, who asks him some simple questions to check if he has the "Axe effect". The caller hears messages like, 'Hi, My name is Tanya. If I think you have the Axe effect you could win some great prizes like an iPod or, hey, even the latest iPhone.', 'If I say I'm cold, would you give me a hug? Yes or no? Press 1 for yes, press 2 for no', 'If I ask you to take me for a ride on your bike, would you?' etc. As part of the 'Wake Up' service, Tanya would also call the person back at the pre-determined time he has set for the next five days.
Priya Nair, GM, oral care & deodorants, HUL, says, "The response has been phenomenal, with over 30 lakh calls being received and over seven lakh wake-up alarms being set, and still counting." Also, close to 40,000 'Hey Axe Man' ringtones have already been downloaded.
The Lowe team that has worked on the campaign includes Tasneem Ali, Rajesh Doraiswamy, Rajaram Kavatkar, Vineetha Nair and Ameya Kovale from creative, and Virat Tandon, Vincent Panangadon, Geetika Thakur and Ishita Mehar from client servicing. Photographer Senthil shot the pictures that have been used in print and outdoor.
Interestingly, Axe has also done an on-ground activation in the form of postcard branding where it has tied-up with Lee stores in Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Bangalore and Kolkata. When someone - ideally a guy - tries on a pair of jeans or a shirt in the store, he will find a Polaroid picture in his pocket of a sexy girl with her phone number, or a visiting card with the number and the message 'Call me'. The activity was done in 24 stores in where approximately 1300 Polaroid's and 500 visiting cards were placed per store. The activity in the Lee Stores started mid-April and continues for a month.
The postcard branding has been handled by Gotcha! Impact Media, part of the popular postcard advertising company, Cards4U. The creative agency Lowe had made an activation plan based on the international campaign, and a guerilla activity was one of the ideas. Gotcha! picked it up and proposed it to the client.
Axe postcards were also placed at youth hang outs, coffee shops, etc. Noreen van Holstein, director and creative head, Gotcha! Impact Media, says, "The cards ensure guaranteed interaction with a focused target audience as our cards are placed in youth hang outs and cards - and thus the brand message - are being picked up voluntarily."
Tasneem Ali, creative director, Lowe says, "It's wonderful how Axe campaigns are always very integrated. Also Axe campaigns, if you notice, are not linked to sales directly; you don't have to buy a product to participate in a contest. It's always a fun interaction between brand and consumer, so this time too, people are not hesitant to call in."
With the 300 million plus mobile subscriber base in India, the mobile engagement model allows a scalable and personalized engagement activity. Axe has smartly leveraged this opportunity, allowing for a fun interaction between brand and buyer.