Axe Dry sponsors a TV show – with no product placement

If the Axe brand were a guy, he'd likely be full-on with the ladies. And so wouldn't he be best to teach guys 18-24 about how to dodge the 'Gamekillers'? The iconic personal care brand is set to launch the Gamekillers campaign in Canada in support of the launch of new antiperspirant, Axe Dry. Gamekillers is based on the notion that there are characters in life that keep guys from hooking up with girls. Visit Gamekillers.com and you'll be introduced to characters such as the One-Upper, or the Mother Hen or the Mess. The site also features downloadable ringtone, mini-movies and desktop backgrounds. Central to the campaign is a branded Gamekillers reality TV special originally produced for MTV in the U.S. by Bartle Bogle Hegarty and @radical.media (both of New York). In Canada, Gamekillers will air on Saturday, April 22 at 10 p.m. on the Comedy Network. And while the show is sponsored by the brand, don't bother searching for Axe Dry to make its expected appearance in the background. Instead, two TV spots (called 'show-mercials') were created around the program to mimic the look and content of the show - animated vignettes that detail the do's and don't's when confronted with a Gamekiller, followed by the tag line: 'Keep your cool. Axe Dry.'

If the Axe brand were a guy, he’d likely be full-on with the ladies. And so wouldn’t he be best to teach guys 18-24 about how to dodge the ‘Gamekillers’? The iconic personal care brand is set to launch the Gamekillers campaign in Canada in support of the launch of new antiperspirant, Axe Dry. Gamekillers is based on the notion that there are characters in life that keep guys from hooking up with girls. Visit Gamekillers.com and you’ll be introduced to characters such as the One-Upper, or the Mother Hen or the Mess. The site also features downloadable ringtone, mini-movies and desktop backgrounds. Central to the campaign is a branded Gamekillers reality TV special originally produced for MTV in the U.S. by Bartle Bogle Hegarty and @radical.media (both of New York). In Canada, Gamekillers will air on Saturday, April 22 at 10 p.m. on the Comedy Network. And while the show is sponsored by the brand, don’t bother searching for Axe Dry to make its expected appearance in the background. Instead, two TV spots (called ‘show-mercials’) were created around the program to mimic the look and content of the show – animated vignettes that detail the do’s and don’t's when confronted with a Gamekiller, followed by the tag line: ‘Keep your cool. Axe Dry.’

As part of the Canadian promo, a live comedy tour is in the works re-enacting the TV special. The tour, starring Canuck comedian Ryan Belleville, travels through Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver and kicks off mid-May. Mixed media performances in downtown bars in a tutorial format will bring the program to life. Promo teams will hit the streets in search of the Axe audience, and live performances will be interspersed with video from the Gamekiller show. Online, Axe is at work building communities, as well. David Allard, brand manager for Axe sees a great fit between experiential marketing and the online community element. He says: ‘As programs get executed [off-line], the online community likes to post [blogs] about it, and give feedback.

‘It’s [about being] part of their lifestyle overall,’ he says, adding that the brand is number-one in the male antiperspirant/deodorant category, and that ‘people in the target consider Axe to be one of the coolest brands in Canada.’

In Canada, Axe’s promo agency is Segal Communications, with media buys done by PHD.

With files from Lisa D’Innocenzo.