The animated Axe Effect

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Unilever's Axe brand has consistently created adventurous advertising that has helped position it as the world's top male-grooming brand.

When Unilever entered the branded-entertainment realm in Latin America, it was very specific in its goal: to create a TV show for the Axe brand that was fresh, attractive, relevant and, most important of all, that would help the brand's positioning to go even further, unlike anything ever seen before. (Catmandu pitched for the project against Endemol and Buenos Aires ad agency VegaOlmosPonce.) High ratings at any cost were not the objective, but rather creating a show that would be watched by the right target and would live up to the Axe brand standards.

The result was "City Hunters," an animated show that will launch Oct. 23 on Fox in Argentina and in March 2007 on Fox channels elsewhere in Latin America. Since Axe is about the mating game, the show had to be created in a universe where sensuality and seduction were always in the air. It is the story of a master, an apprentice and a secret society called the "X Lodge," whose members are experts in the art of seduction. The main characters are Dr. Lynch, a retired bon vivant rumored to have been one of the inventors of the original Axe fragrance in the late 1970s, and Axel, a street-smart young man who doesn't have trouble meeting women-just understanding them. According to the story, "The Axe Effect" is the compilation of more than 2,000 years of the study of women.

When we approached Fox with the "City Hunters" project, it was an instant match. For starters, the show was an animation concept, which made it easily adaptable to different markets, and Fox has had a long tradition of supporting adult-oriented animation. Second, the format of the show made sense. The series of 10 short films could be aired in sets of two as a regular half-hour show but also could be broadcast individually.

It took almost three years and more than 100 people on four different continents to produce "City Hunters."

Gaston Gorali is chief creative officer of Catmandu Branded Entertainment in Buenos Aires and co-creator of its first project, "City Hunters."
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