Unilever's Axe already dominates the men's body spray market with a 74 percent share in the U.S., according to market-search firm SymphonyIRI Group, the New York Times reports, and to capitalise on this success, the brand has recently launched a fragrance line aimed at women.
Axe has 2.3 million 'likes' on Facebook and research revealed that about a quarter of them are from women. The new range, dubbed 'Anarchy', has products aimed at both sexes.
To promote 'Anarchy', Axe has launched an interactive graphic novel, crowd-sourced via social marketing channels. The project is now live on its YouTube channel where visitors can see the storyline evolve, and on Facebook, where fans can participate in shaping the storyline.
TVCs show men and women falling for one another amidst total chaos coupled with the crowd-sourced digital comic project. Every few days, new chapters will be put up online with plot turns based partly on consumer suggestions and votes, and with some fans being depicted in the comic.
The graphic novel is being written by former DC Comics scribe Scott Lobdell and created by digital agency Razorfish along with Aspen Comics, and follows the adventures of the Anarchy Girls. It will be a limited edition for the women's version of Axe with future sales being based on initial success.
As a medium, the graphic novel is growing in popularity, thanks in part to the popularity of the Japanese Manga releases. The graphic novel market in the US has been growing slowly but steadily since the 1990s, The US retail market in 2007 stood at $375million.
Full results to follow. As of 18/1/2012, more than 46,000 fans were talking about Axe on Facebook.
Axe Anarchy YouTube channel
Why is this on Cream? For a product on aimed at women, Axe has been forced to abandon its usual tactics of male-orientated humour or cheeky sexy ads. Fan involvement in the graphic project is a smart way of encouraging consumer buy-in to the new Axe venture.