- Axe is challenging men to show their best gaming skills in a social media contest that will award a free trip to VidCon, the online video conference in Anaheim, California, according to a company announcement. The Unilever brand of male grooming products teamed up with Cizzorz, the influencer and gamer who belongs to the FaZe Clan esports team, on the social promotion.
- To enter the contest, which kicked off this week and runs through May 23, fans must submit a live-action clip of themselves playing a video game to Instagram or Twitter. Each entry needs a caption explaining the player's passion for gaming, along with the hashtags #AXEGaming and #Contest.
- The winner will be featured on Cizzorz's streaming channel and join the influencer and Axe at VidCon for a joint live stream. Axe also is hosting the Find Your Magic Tour featuring the AxeMobile. The bus will be at major festivals and conferences and will stop at select high schools to give out free product samples, haircuts and styling tips.
Axe's contest and bus tour are tapping into the growing popularity of video-gaming and esports among young men and teens. The $134 billion market for video games is forecast to grow 15% this year, while the esports market will surge 27% to $1.1 billion as marketers pile into sponsorships of video game teams and events. The U.S. audience for esports events is set to grow 18% to 30.3 million people this year, per eMarketer.
Axe's latest social contest follows a previously announced sponsorship of esports content and tournament provider Eleague, which is a partnership of Turner Sports and talent agency IMG.
By partnering with influencer Cizzorz, whose YouTube channel has 4.4 million subscribers, Axe can reach a significant audience of gaming enthusiasts. Athletic brand New Balance last month worked with Cizzorz on a contest that challenged players to race their "Fortnite" avatars through a virtual obstacle course. Contestants had to enter a special map code into the hit multiplayer game to gain access to the Cizzorz Fun Run, which offered a chance to win swag and a cash donation to charity.
Brands including Busch, JetBlue and Metro by T-Mobile recently have run similar social media contests that have the power to go viral as fans share their videos on Twitter and Instagram. Axe's parent company, Unilever, also is experimenting with new ad formats. The CPG giant this month announced plans to test ads on audio streaming service Spotify that respond to listeners' verbal commands. By saying "Play now" when prompted by an Axe audio commercial, users can unlock a curated music playlist.
Axe's "Find Your Magic" campaign continues a theme that urges teens to be proud of what makes them unique. The brand two years ago generated significant publicity with a campaign around combating "toxic masculinity" and its negative effects on young men. The marketing push included videos from influencers who tagged their posts with the #isitokforguys hashtag.