Unilever is linking its first Super Bowl commercial for Axe to a chance for one person to win a trip to space.
The effort is part of a global promotion by Axe and Lynx, its U.K. equivalent, promising to send a total of 23 people beyond the Earth's atmosphere as part of what the brand bills as its biggest product introduction ever -- Apollo deodorant and personal-care products.
Unilever has enlisted former U.S. astronaut Buzz Aldrin as pitchman, including for this video from Publicis Groupe's BBH, London.
Most of the 23 potential visitors to space will have to sign up for the Axe Apollo Space Academy, alternately called the Axe Global Space camp, in Orlando, Fla., by visiting AxeApollo.com by Feb. 3. Candidates voted forward by their peers will then compete in a challenge in their home countries. Those that make it to the academy must go through a program and compete in space-simulation exercises to be selected as one of 22 ticket-holders for a ride on the private Space Expedition Corp. Lynx spacecraft.
Contestants for a Super Bowl tie-in in the U.S., who also enter at the website, have a chance to get to space without having to go through local challenges or space camp. But all winners, including the Super Bowl sweepstakes winner, will have to pass physicals.
Space Expedition Corp. plans to begin operating in 2014. With tickets going for $95,000 a pop, that pegs the Axe giveaways at nearly $2.2 million in value, though it's not clear how much of a discount Unilever got for booking a group in advance.
People from the U.S. will also be eligible for the competitive portion of the promotion, which spans 75 countries. At least one "astronaut" each will come from Canada, the U.K. and the Philippines.