ARCHIVES: This is legacy content from before Marketing Dive acquired Mobile Marketer in early 2017. Some information, such as publication dates, may not have migrated over. Check out the new Marketing Dive site for the latest marketing news.

Unilever?s Axe runs mobile marketing campaign with MTV

Unilever's Axe brand of male grooming products has launched a mobile marketing campaign that includes a mobile Web site, ringtones, text alerts and an extensive TV ad campaign with SMS calls-to-action.

Viacom's MTV Networks has launched a massive on-air programming drive in support of Unilever's Axe Hair Crisis Relief campaign across MTV, Comedy Central, VH1 and Spike. The effort is the largest on-air integrated marketing campaign MTV and Unilever have ever executed, encompassing nearly 50 original pieces that total more than 40 minutes of co-branded creative content developed across the channels.

"Axe is always looking for ways to take advertising beyond the traditional 30-second spot and we're very proud of this content," said David Rubin, marketing director for Axe Hair, Chicago.

The entire series of short-form and interstitial Axe programming will ultimately drive to a culminating viewing event during MTV's "See You Sunday" programming block on March 15.

The Axe TV spots ask viewers to text keyword AXE to short code 56376. Those who do so receive the following text message in response:

"Thx 4 supporting Axe Hair Crisis Relief efforts. Guys -- Get girl-approved hair; Girls -- Help guys get good hair. Reply GUY or GIRL. Txt X 2 quit. Std msg chrgs aply."

Consumers who double-opt-in receive Hair Crisis Relief SMS alerts. Each text message contains a URL linking to the Axe mobile site.

"These include statistics regarding the epidemic proportions of the crisis," said Kristen Fox, spokeswoman for Edelman Mobile, New York. "Guys receive information and updates that will help end their hair crisis, girls receive updates that will help them help others."

Edelman Mobile developed the mobile strategy and mobile communications overlay for the Axe Hair Crisis Relief Campaign, which includes integration with Axe in-cinema advertising, the Axe Hair Crisis Fan Page within Facebook, Axe in-store point-of-purchase displays, Axe on-air integration across MTV Networks, the Axe Hair Crisis Relief Web site and on-campus "Relief activities."

"This mobile program is the connective tissue between these disparate media platforms, creating an anytime-everywhere, centralized communications platform for the Hair Crisis on the audience's primary communications channel," Ms. Fox said.

In addition to the SMS alerts, this Axe mobile experience includes a mobile Web site at, where guys can solve their hair dilemma and girls can get tools for a hair intervention.

The mobile site also has video clips from the Axe Hair Crisis Relief campaign.

Unilever will deploy Axe mobile banner ads across select sites to drive traffic to the mobile Web site.

Consumers can also get mobile wake-up calls from Mayleen, host of the Axe Hair Crisis Relief Telethon on MTV, which they can send to a friend in need by texting keyword CRISIS to short code 56376 or by going to

Consumers can get a downloadable mobile ringtone to notify others that they are part of the Hair Crisis Solution by texting keyword SONG to short code 56376 or by going to

The target demographic for the Axe Hair Crisis Relief campaign is males and females ages 18-24.

"At the Axe Hair Crisis Relief mobile web site you can access tips on how to solve your hair crisis dilemma, watch videos clips from the AXE Hair Crisis Relief campaign, sign up to receive text alerts from the AXE Hair Crisis Relief team, download the Hair Crisis Relief anthem ringtone or send a friend a Wake Up Call," Ms. Fox said.

"We felt mobile engagement was critical to the AXE Hair Crisis Relief campaign, as it serves to exemplify the urgency of the Crisis message within the creative elements, and extends the conversation regarding the Hair Crisis Relief onto this demographics' most personal communications channel," she said.

"Working with the brand and agency partners, we wanted to ensure that we were using the mobile channel wisely, so the brand enabled opportunities to segment the opt-in audience by gender thereby allowing us to message each differently."

For instance, a guy might receive a message with statistical feedback from girls about why hair is important, while girls might receive a message about mobile tools they can use to help guys get a clue.

"The mobile web site was designed to be a type of 'rehab center' -- a mobile destination for all the content and features one might need to solve a hair crisis," Ms. Fox said. "Strategically, the mobile web site enables the brand to have a deeper, more robust relationship with the community while protecting the integrity and urgency of the text messaging."

MTV partnership
MTV Networks, a division of Viacom, is a leading creator of entertainment content, with brands that target diverse audiences across television, online, mobile, games, virtual worlds and consumer products.

The company's portfolio spans more than 150 television channels and 350 digital media properties worldwide, including MTV, VH1, CMT, Logo, Harmonix, Nickelodeon, Nick at Nite, Noggin, The N, AddictingGames, Neopets, Comedy Central, Spike, TV Land, Atom, GameTrailers and Xfire.

The partnership with MTV Networks is designed to help Axe Hair to provide the consumer value in the form of entertainment and humor, creating numerous touch-points, talkability and excitement about the new Axe Hair line and Axe Hair Crisis Relief campaign.

As an outgrowth of the upfront, Unilever and ad agency Mindshare challenged MTV Networks to communicate Axe's messaging in a unique and differentiating way.

MTV created more than 15 original short-form pieces on MTV, MTV2 and mtvU, including vignettes of success stories, a custom song and ringtone, an exclusive Axe Hair Crisis Relief music video and the finale telethon, all airing March 15.

Over the next several weeks, Comedy Central will air spoof news vignettes on the crisis, VH1 will air micro-episodes developed around its "Best Week Ever" and "Best Day Ever" series and Spike will feature the Axe Hair Crisis Relief campaign in its "Men of Action," "Star Wars Roommates," "Playbook," "Weekend Pre-Game" and "Late Night Strip" properties.

All of the creative across MTV, Comedy Central, VH1 and Spike will drive viewers to tune in to MTV on March 15.

Additionally, an Axe Hair Crisis Relief ringtone spot, produced by MTV with the assistance of AXE Hair, will run on more than 13,000 screens in more than 1,300 theaters across 48 states, also driving viewers to tune in to MTV on March 15.

"MTV Networks was able to realize this vision across complementary networks, each in their own authentic voice, while staying true to the brand. We have partnered with MTV before on our launch of Dove Fresh Takes and saw this as an opportunity to take innovation and our partnership to the next level," said Melissa Shapiro, managing director of Mindshare, in a written statement.

Axe is a personal care brand manufactured by Unilever that is available in a line of deodorant body sprays, deodorant and antiperspirant sticks, shower gels and hair care products.

Unilever claims that Axe is the No. 1 male antiperspirant/deodorant brand in the U.S.

The shower gel, launched in 2005, reached No. 1 status five months after hitting shelves, according to Unilever.

Unilever has a stable of nutrition, hygiene and personal care brands.

In the United States, its portfolio includes brand such asBen & Jerry's, Bertolli, Breyers, Caress, Country Crock, Degree, Dove personal care products, Hellmann's, Klondike, Knorr, Lipton, Popsicle, Promise, Q-Tips, Skippy, Slim-Fast, Suave, Sunsilk and Vaseline.

Unilever generated nearly $11 billion in sales in 2007. Its 2008 numbers are not available yet.

"There's still a lot of focus within the industry on testing mobile with one-off tactics," said Dan Cornell, managing director of Edelman Mobile, New York. "Edelman Mobile's role is to help brands such as Unilever discover the long-term strategy for mobile engagement, and to work with them on ways in which they can earn the right to be on their consumer's handset today, and tomorrow.

"This often starts by educating brands regarding the entire mobile channel, and determining how best to enter the arena based on their target demographic and the ways in which it is currently using the mobile device to engage with news, information, entertainment and social networking," he said.