Poke greases the wheels of romance

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With Valentine's Day just around the corner, paramours have a newfangled avenue to express their love thanks to K-Y and agency Poke, New York. Promoting the Johnson & Johnson brand and its product line including the newly-introduced variety Intrigue, Poke developed the "Keep Life Sexy" site that lets visitors submit their definition of sexy and broadcast it to the web-surfing world. "This is a Valentine's effort, which is their biggest period of the year as you could imagine," says Poke, NY partner Michael Kantrow. "The concept for keeplifesexy.com and all the digital marketing that's surrounding it—there's some interactive advertising and social media outreach that connects to it—was part of an effort to reach out to people in a very friendly and non-traditional way to say You guys tell us what sexy is during a romantic time of year rather than vice versa. This is more about K-Y as a brand, which to a degree is to help committed couples keep their romantic lives friendly and sexy."

According to Kantrow's partner Tom Ajello, the undertaking needed some market research prior to the site launch. "The traditional process is going and doing research under the auspices of some sort of discovery phase and influential outreach," Ajello says. "We looked at it as why not take this entire ramp-up period you're doing as a business—you've got some new product launches and opportunities to start talking to the market in a new way about K-Y—and actually turn our research into an idea. It's the first phase of a creative/research project focused on just understanding the consumer and the business more carefully."

Along with the interpretations of sexy the site also offers a contest to send a lucky couple to wine country in Napa Valley, California. But for Ajello, the message of the campaign is to alleviate the scrutiny that surrounds the product. "We've all seen the spots that are weird, uncomfortable and thinly-veiled TV ideas as well as mashed-media where the couple sashays into a room and the door closes and the curtain billows. We're taking all the basics and calling bullshit on that. We have this really great running list of stuff on the wall here in the studio of the number one thing people think that sexy is and it boils down to the least thing. Funny enough, an interesting note, by far, the number one thing people think is sexy is "me." It follows up with really meaningful stuff. That's where our heat is, is figuring out we have that and there's a bunch of new opportunities with K-Y and how we leverage that."

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