Unilever's Axe Deodorant recognised for creative marketing

SAN FRANCISCO: Monthly magazine Business 2.0 has named Unilever's Axe Deodorant, Rheingold Beer and Walt Disney's Buena Vista Pictures recipients of the 2003 Business 2.0 Sweet Spot Awards. The awards recognise the most innovative and successful marketing campaigns of the past year.

The 2003 Sweet Spot Award winners were selected by Business 2.0 editors and a panel of marketing, communications and creative professionals.

The editor of Business 2.0 Josh Quittner said: "We dedicated this year's Sweet Spot Awards to campaigns that were able to harness that squishy concept called inspiration while still achieving a wholly practical goal: results. In addition to celebrating Axe Deodorant, Rheingold Beer and Walt Disney's achievements, we unveil some of the behind-the-scenes thinking that went into these successful marketing initiatives."

Business 2.0 deals with business, technology and innovation. It is published out of The Fortune Group at Time which is an AOL Time Warner company.

Most Innovative Campaign: The Dutch consumer products giant Unilever introduced Axe Deodorant Bodyspray to American consumers last July with a humorous, edgy campaign by New York agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty that focused on the testosterone-addled preoccupations of its male target audience.

Determining that this ad-weary demographic prefers to "discover brands," the agency bypassed conventional television ad saturation in favor of a highly targeted Web initiative. Judges were impressed, declaring that this sense of discovery really works.

Best Brand Relaunch: Tasked with the assignment of relaunching a brand that had been dead for 25 years, and armed with a $500,000 budget and the edict to capture the mercurial "Manhattan hipster" market, branding agency Powell revitalized Rheingold Beer by reviving one of the brand's classic hallmarks: a beauty contest.

Leveraging Generation Y's fondness for nostalgia and enlisting the involvement of East Village and Lower East Side barkeeps, Rheingold promoted the contest through a series of billboards. According to judges, by managing to keep the contest "below the radar enough to tap that tough-to-get New York trendsetter/culture driver crowd," the strategy paid off in hard-won buzz.

Most Bang for the Buck: Walt Disney's Buena Vista Pictures was concerned that 40-something superstar Mel Gibson might be too mature to appeal to the teen market it needed to make Signs into a summer blockbuster.

Therefore, the studio turned to Cornerstone Promotion to create a low-out-of-pocket guerrilla marketing strategy for the eerie flick. The judges described the cost-effective campaign, which included creepy online ads, a downloadable remix of the ominous sound effects from the movie and a reworking of the film's posters into the mysterious shape of crop circles as a great example of the extent of lifestyle immersion necessary for effective viral marketing.

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