Axe Anti-Hang-Over Campaign - a missed Chance ?

A few days ago I was working on an article about an interesting viral marketing case from Axe USA. While doing this, I accidentally saw a TV-Ad from Axe Germany, which ended with an URL. I quickly checked it out and suddenly realized that Axe Germany is also currently running a viral marketing campaign - only problem: nobody seems to take notice !!

To promote the new Axe Anti-hangover shower gel an agency called Megacult has created a microsite with an online competition: You can win a trip to Ibiza if you send in two pictures of you - the first one taken during a "hard" party-night, the second one on the morning after. Visitors of the site can then vote for the favorite pictures. Quite an appropriate approach to support the launch of an anti-hangover shower gel.

The campaign started in April this year and will end on September 22. Right now, there are just 193 entries. Not many considering the fact that they are running ads on national TV !?

I don't know very much about this campaign - there is no press release or any other promotional material available online, which may be part of the problem - but it looks and feels like a failure. So I wondered what Megacult and Axe could have done differently...

First, they could have built a less flashier website, which for search engines would be possible to crawl. This might come in handy in cases like "Gee, I heard about this hilarious website with hangover pictures... I wonder if Google can find it...". Turns out, Google actually can: just type in "Hangover" + "Fenster mit JavaScript" and boom - there it is... Looks like the agency didn't bother to change the default title of the jump page and that was all Google could find... bad mistake...

They also could have created more viral elements: for instance, the possibility to send around the pictures featured on the website or a different version of the TV ad. That would have lured a lot more people to the site !

But I think the best way to generate real buzz would have been to team up with wireless operators, like T-Mobile or Vodafone, and launch the first German viral campaign using cameraphones and MMS !! Think about it: is there a better tool to take party pictures which are supposed to be spontaneous AND embarrassing than using a cameraphone ?? I am pretty sure, the operators would have seized this opportunity. They are trying everything to push this whole picture messaging thing, so why not put their marketing clout to good use...

Any other ideas ?

Okay, it would be a bit sleazy, but how about topping the whole thing off with a little scandal ? Something like "...the 25 year old student is considering bringing charges against antihangover.com for displaying inappropriate pictures of her, taken during a private party without her consent..." Well, just a thought !? But the press would be all over it and so would be tens of thousands of additional site users - all probably eager to cure their next hangover with a shower gel !!

By the way, can you actually do this ?

Anyway, I think the during-and-after-picture-approach was a great idea. But like always, a good idea is just the beginning...