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Crossing the Boundaries of Creativity in Advertising

A Glimpse at AXE Black Night Campaign A memorable enjoyment at a memorable night

Not long ago, the AXE Black Night campaign was launched in a broad sense; a campaign, which caused too much commotion in social networks. Each year, the AXE brand with a new product launches a worldwide campaign: A campaign that is screened in Iran in a naturalized form due to the market of this brand.

We at dnaunion decided to conduct a more accurate survey about the campaign which was planned and held by the Magnolia advertising agency. To this end, we held a roundtable discussion with the executive team of the Magnolia Agency. Those present in the roundtable were Pouya Sabbagh, Executive Manager of the Magnolia Advertising Agency project; Arash Afshin, Customer Service Manager; and Ms. Ramina Naqiyoun, Creativity Manager of the Agency.

dnaunion: Tell us about the method of cooperation and the reason for selecting Sirvan Khosravi as the AXE brand ambassador?

Pouya Sabbagh, the Executive Manager of the project of Magnolia Advertising Agency and the executive of AXE Night Campaign:

“Sirvan Khosravi’s cooperation with AXE brand goes back to the last year when AXE Black was launched in Iran with a different message. In its previous campaign, the AXE brand conveyed the message of being minimal and calm to its audience, namely the gentlemen. This message had good coordination with Sirvan Khosravi’s features and personality. This issue encouraged the AXE brand to go after this artist and nominate him as its ambassador in its new campaign. The outcome of Sirvan Khosravi’s cooperation with the AXE brand was holding the first concert in Iran dubbed as “Unplugged”. This concert was welcomed by many media outlets and had extensive coverage among the audience.

“In continuation of this advertising process, the AXE brand launched its new product called AXE Black Night in line with the message of its previous campaign. This issue encouraged our group to continue cooperation with Sirvan Khosravi and seek his help in the new campaign under the theme “a memorable aroma, a memorable night”. Sirvan Khosravi had good cooperation with the brand, and during this period he behaved in a way that the audience would fully notice his relationship with the brand. For example, in the poster of his last single song he darkened his face, similar to the color of AXE Black Night. This measure sparked huge feedbacks in social networks and a great number of the audience by raising questions followed up the reason for the cause of this event.

“In his Instagram page, Sirvan Khosravi regularly reminded his audience of the message of the new AXE brand campaign in different shapes and this further empowered the campaign’s message in the mind of the audience. Of course, the trend of the movement of AXE brand ambassador was directed by the advertising consulting group in order to be put exactly in the course of the brand’s movement.”

Ramina Naqiyoun, Creativity Manager of the Magnolia Advertising Agency:

“In the AXE Black campaign many of Sirvan Khosravi fans had been attracted to the campaign due to the presence of the artist but in this campaign we made efforts to broaden the circle of the audience and absorb a bigger number of audience in addition to Sirvan Khosravi’s followers. To this end, we had to look for a common point which both existed in the ambassador of our brand and also different audiences were interested in it. The common point was in the music, which Sirvan Khosravi was both an expert in and was well known by the audience who were interested in it.

“On this basis and with a different and more attractive approach consistent with the global concept of AXE, we decided to launch the campaign in Iran. The new campaign’s theme that is “a memorable aroma, a memorable night” had a specific rhythm and had the required coordination with the mood of the music and concert evenings. For this campaign, we had three DJs and we asked them to remix one of Sirvan Khosravi’s songs with a new arrangement. In the new campaign, Sirvan Khosravi was standing in the middle and the three DJs around him for attracting more audience. Different people could refer to the website of AXE and vote for their favorite DJ in order to enter into the lottery for the ticket of the memorable concert “The AXE Black Night and Sirvan.”

“Finally, a concert was held with the participation of Sirvan Khosravi, three DJs, and all the fans of the singer and DJs stood together and attended the concert. Information about this broad campaign did not confine only to the concert but rather through social pages Sirvan Khosravi and the three DJs and other social networks the message went viral quickly.”

dnaunion: Tell us about the background of the previous campaign and the now one?

Sabbagh: For further information, it is better to survey the background of Black AXE and the message it conveys to the audience. AXE Black would say to its main audience, i.e. gentlemen, that in order to be seen there is no need to make noises. They can promote their self-confidence with silence and calm. This prompted the design of a slogan under the theme “There Are Times When Silence Has the Loudest Voice”.

“Now, when AXE Black Night entered the market, it had a message for its audience: With the self-confidence I have already acquired, nothing will be able to push us out of the scene. This approach was also revealed in the global campaign theme, namely “gentle fragrances for unexpected nights” of AXE Black Night. The campaign, in order to be launched in Iran, was in need of naturalization. Therefore, the theme of the main campaign was turned into “a memorable aroma, a memorable night” for the Iranian audience.

“In continuation of the effort, all the concepts of the campaign were based on this same theme and the memorable night was the same concert that was held with the presence of the followers of the brand and fans of Sirvan. To disseminate information about the campaign, we used different media outlets. Many billboards in Tehran and provincial cities with the image of Sirvan Khosravi together with the product of AXE brand were installed. Of course, in Tehran, we faced some problems but despite all those difficulties, the work was accomplished. We had widespread advertisements in social networks; advertisements which directed the audience towards the AXE brand website. The audience by visiting the website would counter DJs remixes. After reading the descriptions, they would notice that they had to vote for one of the DJs and thereby participate in the lottery.

dnaunion: Why in addition to social media in AXE Campaign you also used traditional media?

Arash Afshin, Customer Service Manager of Magnolia Advertising Agency:

“The audience of social networks is not as expanded as we hear in reports; therefore, the statistics presented are not very reliable. Still traditional and outdoor media are more powerful in information disseminating information. This is not true just about our country or in the developing countries but in advanced European countries too reference is still made to traditional and outdoor media for extensive dissemination of information. For this reason, using social media still helps the brand up to a specific direction after which due to the repetition of the audience in such a space the advertising cost would be wasted. Keep in mind that some of the audiences are members of a number of social networks or a number of different telegram channels. Under such circumstances, advertising messages are handed over among a specific and limited group and are not excluded from that circle. Furthermore, perhaps many of the individuals present in these networks are not among the main audience of the brand campaign. These audiences in social networks are not so high in number that could shake the brand in the market. Certainly, what a billboard can do throughout the city the social networks cannot do. Furthermore, in order to pass the campaign route the group regularly surveys and measures the key indicators of its performances.

dnaunion: Tell us about the key performance indicators (KPI) of the campaign?

Sabbagh: We tried to prepare the appropriate content for each media. The content of the outdoor media was different from the content of digital media but through the theme and the brand’s ambassador, we connected all the contents together. For social networks, we regularly produced the content in order to accompany our audience up to the end of the campaign. I should also mention this point that the group moved exactly in accordance with the main concept. The concept focused on the memorable nights. Therefore, due to the emphasis on the concept, all the content of the social networks and the advertisements were screened from 7 to 8 o’clock at night. By doing this, we tried to make our audience more involved in the mood of campaign and the message be transferred in a mood related to the audience. According to the statistics, the number of participants in the AXE Black Night Campaign was remarkably higher than the AXE Black Campaign which was held last year. This growth indicated that the route has been chosen properly. In the new campaign in addition to Sirvan Khosravi fans we targeted a wider group of the audience. The remixes on the website had been heard more than 200 thousand times and downloaded over 50 thousand times. People registered their votes through USSD codes and we had over 75 thousand registrations. In the end, nearly 18 thousand valid votes entered the lottery and approximately 10 to 11 thousand votes were more than the campaign in the previous year. Finally, through the draw, 100 people were selected to attend the special concert of Sirvan Khosravi. In this period last year’s “unplugged” video concert of Sirvan Khosravi was released which was seen nearly 5.6 million times by the audience. Consequently, on the basis of the specified KPI the campaign showed an outstanding growth and the desired result was achieved.

dnaunion: Please outline the feedbacks of the campaign?

Naqiyoun: Sirvan Khosravi fans would usually republish every movement of this artist in different shapes and in viral form. The interesting point is that some of the audiences with the image of the brand’s ambassador and the AXE product would produce new content. The audience would publish and promote these images spontaneously. The big number of the audience not only had not hardened the job, but also had made it more charming.

Sabbagh: If you refer to the AXE Instagram page, you will notice the widespread presence of the audience and the images they had created by using the product and the slogan of the campaign. The tagline “memorable aroma, memorable night” had been largely used by the audience. In addition, the remix of Sirvan Khosravi’s song which had been prepared for the campaign was quickly released by the audience and heard repeatedly as it was sent by each one of the audience to the other.

dnaunion: Please elaborate about the outcome of the celebrity use by the brands?

Afshin: The promotional use of the celebrities by the brands has its positive and negative points for the brands. The start of cooperation of celebrities with the brands has a great excitement and initially coupled with much commotion but after a while, the audience of the brand will become limited as if you intend to release your advertisement from a network overnight. But each network has its own specific audiences. The beginning of cooperation with Sirvan Khosravi last year was interesting but we had to take measures to attract new audience for the campaign. Last year’s audience had knowledge about the performance of the brand. To this end, we tried to use more diversified connection channels in order to attract more audience. We had to take a specific step for publishing our message. If we intended to release our message to the previous audience, it would not have a great achievement for the brand. Continuation of cooperation with celebrities needs high care. The Black AXE and AXE Black Night were the products, which were too close to each other. The concept of the campaign for presentation of these two products was in harmony with characteristics of Sirvan Khosravi but it is possible that the future product will follow a different concept and for this reason, perhaps it will not be necessary to continue cooperation with this artist. Continuation of the cooperation should be attributed to the specifications of the next campaign and we will express our opinion in future. However, the concept of the campaign should be coordinated with the celebrity and the audience should become associated with the brand.

With regard to the cooperation of the brand with the celebrity, Ms. Naqiyoun says: The celebrities have their specific sensitivities. Sometimes the celebrity due to their specific conditions is not ready to take measures on the basis of the targets of the campaign and this issue limits the ideas. In this respect, the life style of Sirvan Khosravi was effective on the activity of our working group and we carefully examined what he was interested in and what are more coordinated with his personality. A lot of information about the private lives of the artists is published in social networks and the audiences of these artists are fully aware of them. Therefore, showing the artist things other than his/her life is not interesting for the audience and they would immediately feel that the artist is playing a role and therefore they would pay no attention. Therefore, we tried to implement ideas that are in harmony both with the concept of the brand and with the personality of the celebrity as well. This led us to music and performance of a concert by using DJs and we saw the outcome. Production of the appropriate content with the campaign in virtual space is not an easy task and we see fewer brands in this space that have sound and appropriate content. When we moved in the direction of producing the content on the basis of music, its fans spontaneously started to produce the layout and the content and shared the content with us. With this measure, they showed that they liked the brand, which supports a celebrity. The collaboration of the audience for the expansion of this campaign was the attractive part of the campaign and showed that a good content can achieve success for the campaign.

Magnolia Executive Team for AXE Black Night Campaign:

Strategy and Planning: Pouya Sabbagh, Arash Afshin

Creativity: Ramina Naqiyoun, Elmira Karam Niyay, Hamed Khorsand

Artistic Management: Nazgol Mahdavian, Niloofar Montazeri, Leyla Khamseh

Media: Mina Abedi, Melika Movahedi, Sarvnaz Sour Esrafil

Production and Implementation: Aida Alamolhodaei, Mohsen Ebrahimi, Kian Yaqooti