ORLANDO, Fla. (AdAge.com) -- When a New England Patriots fan last month was irritated at his inability to get tickets to a game against the New York Jets, he tweeted his issues to the Edge shaving gel brand.
Within days, the fan, Matthew DeCoste, an interactive designer at Euro RSCG, New York, had tickets to the game as part of an "anti-irritation" campaign in which the Energizer Holdings brand is seeking to soothe some of the many gripes lodged in social media.
Mr. DeCoste had heard of the promotion from a friend at a time when Edge was giving out iTunes and Starbucks gift cards, and he thought he'd try upping the ante, he said in an email.
Of course, Edge can't solve every problem. Mr. DeCoste, who said he got tickets 20 rows back in the end zone, tweeted friends jokingly about the goal post blocking his view. "As the game started getting away from the Pats, I was getting text messages from the same Jets fans about the train schedule back to Manhattan in case I wanted to leave the game early," he said. "So, that was kind of irritating. That being said, I'm still appreciative."
Via its @EdgeShaveZone Twitter handle and #soirritating hashtag, Edge is slowly developing a following of gripers like Mr. DeCoste as part of a long-term campaign with big aspirations to own the position of irritation prevention.
Jeffrey Wolf, Edge's senior brand manager, terms it "the anti-irritation platform," which started last month via Edelman. It included releasing a ranking of the 50 most-irritated U.S. cities (Atlanta was first, thanks largely to traffic) and the Twitter campaign, which is backed by promoted tweets and e-cards to brand fans. Edge also has an "anti-irritation community" at its website, EdgeShaveZone.com.
Ultimately, the brand has bigger things in store for the effort, including as-yet undisclosed work coming later this year under development by WPP's JWT, New York, promo shop Ryan Partnership and media shop MEC.
The social-media effort has started slowly, with still fewer than 900 followers since it launched last month. But the following is likely to swell once more of the Twitterverse, a veritable cauldron of gripes, catches on to the chance of getting problems solved by adding the #soirritating hashtag in a sweepstakes for the social-media age.
Edge last month also sent a megaphone to a University of Alabama professor who said her husband wasn't listening to her and a Blu-ray disc player and the movie "Office Space" on DVD to ease the irritation of an employee annoyed by a coworker.
A few irritations are harder to tackle, such as recent ones about a neighbor's barking dog, a UPS package stolen from a porch, a ham-handed blood drawer, high Ticketmaster fees and a "power-mad boss" who's made employees cry for eight straight days.
Mr. Wolf is part of a panel of Energizer and Edelman employees who review the irritations and then decide which to address and how.
He's not sure what tangible effect the effort has had on brand sales just yet, but notes that it's part of a shift from a heavy focus on promotion under former Edge owner SC Johnson to more brand-equity-building activity since Energizer bought it last year. Energizer and Edge have continued to gain share in shave preparations since the sale (up 5.1 points for the four weeks ended Sept. 5, thanks in part to sibling Schick entering the fray earlier this year, but despite a new push by rival Procter & Gamble Co.'s Gillette Fusion ProSeries products).
"What I'm most encouraged about is where we're going to take this brand moving forward with this robust campaign we'll roll out within the next year," Mr. Wolf said.
Edge led the category with the introduction of shave gels 40 years ago, he said. "What I'm hoping to do with this brand is be the innovator or thought starter in marketing communications as well."