Watch the Video: Unilever Wades Into Interactive TV

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NEW YORK ( -- Unilever’s Axe brand, recognizing the appeal of the fake news format, is testing the emerging field of interactive TV with a two-and-a-half minute 'breaking' news report. Axe hopes to sniff out yet another venue where its young, male target resides.
Presented as a news documentary, the 2.5-minute Unilever promo tells a tall tale of a remote Alaskan town that sprayed itself with Axe in order to attract droves of women from the lower 48 states.

The ITV campaign video is promoted with a “breaking news” line that appears on-screen during regular programming. When the viewer clicks through, they see a fake news report that appears quite real about the town of Ravenstoke, Alaska, whose elders have found a solution to the dearth of women in their burg. They spray Axe Body Spray over the land with a crop-duster. Naturally, the women pour into town -- with amusing results.

Adult Swim
The “report,” which launched last week, will be available to the 13.5 million Time Warner and Comcast subscribers nationwide who have ITV. The content appears for three months during the Cartoon Network's Adult Swim block of programming. Some 75% of the audience for that time frame is 18- to 24-year-old men, Axe’s prime target.

Despite the media-fragmentation statistics about this demographic abandoning TV, “these guys still spend 15 hours a week watching TV,” said Kevin George, director of marketing for deodorants business at Unilever. “How they are watching TV is changing. They are the 'Me TV' generation. They are personalizing TV with TiVo and video-on-demand. So if you can put out really interesting content that consumers want to watch, it’s a great way to build your brand and build brand love.”

'Seamlessly integrated'
The ITV campaign has an edginess Axe is known for and the on-demand feature Axe customers prefer, said Jacquie Corbelli, CEO of BrightLine Partners, the on-demand and interactive TV ad firm that handled the campaign. Viewers will “not be able to detect this piece of content as advertising,” she said. “It’s seamlessly integrated into the other programming.”

BrightLine will collect measurement data from the cable providers and provide reports for Axe that will include how many viewers watched the Axe content and how long they watched it for. The deal is a cost-per-click arrangement with a guaranteed number of views.

Axe, which has performed many outlandish campaigns to promote its products, including a reality show on the Web about picking up women and a game on the same theme, has seen its edgy ad content pay off. For the 52 weeks ended Oct. 30, Axe was the No. 2 men's deodorant/body spray brand, behind Old Spice.

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