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GILLETTE OFFERS TEENAGE BOYS DATE WITH CARMEN ELECTRA

Promotional Stunt Bidding Reaches $17,200 on eBay

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CINCINNATI (AdAge.com) -- In its latest bid to attract teenage males, Gillette Co.'s Tag body spray is offering them a date with a 33-year-old married woman -- MTV reality star Carmen Electra -- with bidding so far topping out at $17,200 on eBay.
Photo: AP
A Gillette spokeswoman said the company picked Carmen Electra to offer to teenagers because the 33-year-old was a 'perfect example' of a young boy's dream date.
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Ages 15 to 20
Males ages 15 to 20 are eligible for the date with Ms. Electra, born Tara Leigh Patrick near Cincinnati before heading to Los Angeles for a recording and acting career that has included starring in the TV series Baywatch and a Playboy photo spread. Teens under 18 must get a parent or other adult to do the bidding on their behalf, per eBay rules.

Winner of the auction receives an all-expense-paid trip to Los Angeles to have dinner with Carmen Electra at "one of Hollywood's hottest restaurants," according to Gillette -- but nothing more. Gillette in March launched Tag, which bears a strong resemblance to Unilever's fast-growing Axe body spray. Tag scents such as "Lucky Day" and "First Move" are backed by risqué ads from Havas' Arnold Worldwide, Boston, including one with a mother coming on to her daughter's date.

Proceeds of the auction benefit the National Prostate Cancer Coalition.

Cleared with eBay
"You can more or less post anything on eBay," a Gillette spokeswoman said. "There's no ad buy or anything with eBay. ...We did clearly before we posted it confirm that it would be OK with them, and they were very interested in the charity element, too."

An eBay spokesman said the company has no policy against auctioning dates as long as the seller makes no explicit or implicit offer of sex. "Basically, if it's illegal to sell off of eBay, you can't sell it on eBay," he said. "Where we would draw the line, this would be on the good side of that line. It involves a celebrity. It's being done for charity. And it spells out exactly what you get. I don't think there's any risk, though I don't know Carmen Electra, of any sexual activity here."

Ms. Electra clearly was doing better than the only other date or escort auction that could be found on eBay yesterday, a 1994 UCLA graduate who offered to serve as an escort to weddings or other events but didn't get her minimum bid of $500.

Leading the bidding, which began April 27 supported by public-relations efforts by Gillette and Omnicom Group's Porter Novelli, is a Brazilian collector of heavy-metal memorabilia with a stellar eBay feedback rating both as buyer and seller. He would appear to share an interest in common with Ms. Electra, who has been a collector of heavy-metal rock stars, with past love interests that include Tommy Lee Jones, Cypress Hill's B-Real and Limp Bizkit's Fred Durst.

Former wife of Dennis Rodman
She was also once married to former basketball star Dennis Rodman. But she's now married to Dave Navarro, a former member of the bands Jane's Addiction and Red Hot Chili Peppers. The two co-star in the MTV reality series Till Death Do Us Part: Carmen & Dave.

Ms. Electra has previously worked with Gillette, promoting the launch of a red-handled Mach 3 Turbo razor last year, but the date was not part of a multi-appearance package, the Gillette spokeswoman said.

"When we were trying to think of someone who could really fit the bill for us, who is absolutely adorable and really epitomizes the dream date for a guy, she came to mind as a perfect example," the spokeswoman said. "She's so fun. She was willing, and she's a good sport about it, too."

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