CINCINNATI (AdAge.com) -- Not content to let Norelco have the razor buzz to itself, Gillette has launched an offbeat unbranded viral campaign to jokingly scare men clean shaven by showing them hairy consequences of stubble.
The effort, from Digitas, Boston, is the latest in a series of buzz campaigns behind men's shaving products. But Gillette will have to power up considerably to be heard above the chat generated by Omnicom Group's Tribal DDB, New York, for the Philips Norelco Bodygroom electric razor that has made it the best-selling health- and personal-care product on Amazon.com this month.
So far the Noscruf campaign includes paid search ads on Google and other search engines, promotional placement on Heavy.com and a posting on YouTube.com for two viral videos from a fictional advocacy group -- National Organization of Social Crusaders Repulsed by Unshaven Faces -- and its Web site, Noscruf.org.
Won't discuss details
A spokeswoman for P&G's Gillette unit said the company isn't yet prepared to discuss details of the effort, which began earlier this month. A currently inactive link listed by Google ties Noscruf to a site for Braun's E-Razor, the European brand name for a pocket-size battery-operated shaver marketed as Pocket Twist in the U.S. But the spokeswoman said the campaign is for the Gillette brand.
Noscruf.org doesn't appear to be fully functional yet, with buttons on Noscruff.org allowing visitors to sign up or forward videos still not functioning. But placements on Heavy, YouTube and other sites do allow forwarding.
One Noscruf video, "In Your Dreams Stubble Boy," shows a scruffy-faced young man rejected by his mate when he attempts to snuggle. He then nods off to a nightmare featuring females with hairy legs and armpits as clean-shaven but otherwise unappealing men score with beautiful women.
A second video shows a fictional newscast of a Noscruf protest in which the women's group spells out its threat to "end the trend of prickly, scratchy, stubbly faces" by "refusing to shave until men do."
Traffic to grooming sites
Traffic to Noscruff has topped 60 per million daily Web users so far, according to Alexa.com, a Web traffic tracking company, though still short of the 70-plus for Unilever's Gamekillers, also promoted on Heavy.com on behalf of Axe via Bartle Bogle Hegarty, New York. Schick's Thatsthepowerof4.com topped 100 per million Web users last fall in a campaign from Colangelo Synergy Marketing, Darien, Conn., on behalf of Schick Quattro Power that the agency said generated 2.5 million unique visitors total.
Bodygroomer's campaign, driven in part by a mention from Howard Stern on Sirius Satellite Radio, appears to have topped all the viral efforts so far for Web pull. Since its launch early this month, Shaveeverywhere.com has driven more than 1,000 per million Web users and, despite a considerable drop from its first week, still is tracking above 150 per million Web users, according to Alexa.com.
Shaving advocacy aside, Gillette clearly has an interest in men being clean shaven, the company has been hedging its bets lately. The brand's Fusion razor, launched in February, includes a trimming blade for the 50% of men that company research shows have some form of facial hair.
~ ~ ~
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story reported that the unbranded viral effort for Noscruf.org was for Braun, a unit of Gillette.