No tablet-phablet! Axe to offer free ride to space!!!

15 Jan,2013

By Namrata Singh


Space expedition is the new paradigm in the world of marketing. Several consumers would have won laptops or a holiday tour through marketing contests, but here’s one that will take people from across the world to travel into space, where few men have ventured before.


In what is being considered to be one of its biggest promotional events so far, Axe, a Unilever brand, has partnered with Space Expedition Corporation (SXC) to send 22 men and women from across the world into space. SXC is a private company, which is planning to kick-start its daily commercial flights into space next year.


None other than Buzz Aldrin , the second man to walk on the moon, has been roped in as the ambassador to promote the Axe Apollo Space Academy , or AASA, to rhyme with NASA, which will shortlist men and women through an online competition . The winners will be sent into space on board the Lynx, a two-seater suborbital reusable launch vehicle, in 2014.


So what does the man whose space vision is to generate the next wave of human exploration, have to say about AASA? “It brings into effect the things I have been waiting for where more people can learn about space. It’s an opportunity that has been given to the youngsters and they must avail of the same and learn more about space. They should avail of the opportunity to be selected early on pioneering flights,” Mr Aldrin said in an exclusive interaction.


Across 90 countries, about a hundred people would be selected to go to a three-day space camp this year. They would experience the training astronauts undergo. From this group, 22 people would be selected to go into space. SXC is the launch customer of the space vehicle XCOR Aerospace’s Lynx vehicle that takes off and lands like a normal airplane from regular airports.


The Curacao airport in the Caribbean is expected to be the first location.


According to SXC’s website, the tickets to go to space are priced at $100,000, which means Axe, which has annual sales of over 1 billion euros, would be pumping in large sums of money into this promotion. The amount that would be required to send 22 people into space itself would cost around $2.2 million.


“It is meant to be big. Big brands need to behave in a big way. Clearly, we believe this is something worth spending on. We are absolutely convinced that it is the right thing for the brand and the benefits would outweigh the costs. Our target of young men needs to be engaged and entertained. The essence of what we are really doing is to surprise in many ways,” said Russell Taylor, Unilever’s global brand VP for Axe (called Lynx in some markets). Mr Taylor, however, did not reveal the promotional spend numbers.


The objective behind launching AASA is to recruit a new generation of consumers into the brand’s fold as also to retain existing consumers with new propositions. “We genuinely believe that people usually approach a brand for the first time and leave. This is a brand we want people to be a part of and that’s the business model that a brand like Axe would be following,” said Mr Taylor.


According to him, Axe is one of the brands that would be contributing to Unilever’s larger goal of doubling its turnover.


“The trick with young consumers is to always give something different as compared to what you have done before. It should be something that would surprise. Last year, we created exciting (versions) for ‘him’ and for ‘her’ . We did the female version to surprise and to generate conversations and debate. Space travel is the next big thing that is rapidly approaching. We decided to build something exciting around space and we launched a new variant called Axe Apollo,” said Mr Taylor.


Axe is a leading global deo brand whose marketing proposition is to give young men the edge in the mating game. The brand figures among Unilever’s top 10 brands. It has a strong footprint in the developed world and is said to be growing fast in the emerging markets as well.


(This writer was in New York on an invitation by Axe)


Source:The Economic Times

Copyright © 2013, Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All Rights Reserved


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