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Hoop dreams: Degree aims to score with guys
Unilever Canada hopes to get guys on the b-ball court, pass them through cyberspace, and eventually score with sales via a new street and Internet program for its Degree deodorant brand.

Hoop dreams: Degree aims to score with guys

Unilever Canada hopes to get guys on the b-ball court, pass them through cyberspace, and eventually score with sales via a new street and Internet program for its Degree deodorant brand.

The Toronto-based company wanted a more macho persona for Degree after launching its Dove antiperspirant line a year ago, which is targeted at females, according to Max Lenderman, CD at Montreal-based youth marketing firm Gearwerx Content Networks, which has been scouted to captain the spring campaign.

‘They now want to position Degree as a male brand, as well as introduce its new gel concept, which comes in three types – exhilaration, stamina and cool rush,’ he explains, adding that the demo is males between 18 and 30, who are ‘Internet savvy, sophisticated and urban.’

Since Degree sponsored the half-time report during the recent NCAA basketball championships, Gearwerx felt it made sense to stick with the hoops theme, particularly since it also ties in nicely with Degree’s new tagline: ‘Kicks in in the clutch.’

The game plan is to hire a street team in Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, and possibly Vancouver, that will jump out of a van at sporting events, and male-oriented concerts (read: no Britney) to organize impromptu matches. After taking shots at a retractable net attached to the side of the van, participants will have their photos snapped with a Polaroid I-Zone; their faces will then be placed on a trading card featuring the silhouette of a player in the midst of a slam-dunk.

‘When you’re sampling, people react well to personalization,’ says Lenderman. ‘We decided to take a hint from what every guy had [growing up], and that was baseball trading cards.’

In this case, the branded Degree cards have information about a contest printed on the back. While prizes aren’t set in stone, Gearwerx hopes to offer a trip to a fantasy basketball camp for the winner and a few of his pals. Interested parties can register for the contest online at a special site,, which will also have daily polls revolving around the new gel sticks, including questions like, ‘What was the most exhilarating play in the NBA playoffs?’

Since many men like to argue about sports, there is a viral component where they can e-mail the debatable polls and contest details to friends. LD

Product placement launches sportif kicks

Iceland has delivered the latest sporty fashion shoe line to Canadian stores, together with a supportive B2B/ street marketing campaign.

The X18 range, which was developed in Reykjavik in 1998 for teens and young adults, was launched into Canada in late March by Norimco, the Markham, Ont.-based distributor of Skechers and Fubu. Limited independent retailers including Town Shoes are now stocking the colourful shoes, with names such as Sparky, Skala, Rooter and Reep. Ranging in price from $80 to $120, they are designed to be casual and comfy, yet edgy and cool.

Instore ads are promoting the range while print ads, created by Toronto-based Henry Design are appearing in trade pubs including Footwear Journal and Footwear News, to market to potential retail partners. The shoes have also been featured editorially in Seventeen Magazine. A consumer print campaign is expected to launch later in the spring.

Product placement forms a major part of the launch with the cool crowd on Citytv’s show Electric Circus wearing the shoes. The shoes have also been featured in Disney’s movie The Princess Diaries.

‘We are looking for ways to raise brand awareness by bringing the products into the lifestyle of the young consumers,’ says Lisa Huie, marketing manager at Norimco, taking a page from her Skechers playbook.

Norimco is currently in talks with various prospective partners to help promote the brand, including music and film companies. ‘These products would be ideal for artists or stylists doing a shoot,’ says Huie. ‘Target partners would be companies like EMI, Virgin, Sony, Universal and Alliance Atlantis, because the brand fits so well with their market.’

A travel partner is also being sought to enable Norimco to run a proposed contest offering a trip to Iceland to see the Reykjavik Arts Festival. Runners-up will win samples of the shoes.

X18 Moda, a smart range of evening-wear shoes with stiletto heels and pointed toes will also be launching in Canada this fall.

Also working with Norimco on the brand launch is the Toronto-based guerrilla marketing firm, Ground Control Marketing, although the firm has yet to finalize a marketing strategy. LS

CTV boosts Junos in multi-pronged attack

CTV has joined forces with The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts (CARAS) for the first time, to introduce a wide-reaching promotional campaign during the run-up to the annual music award show, the Junos.

Taking place on April 14 in St John’s, Nfld., the event organized by CARAS is being supported by a host of sponsors including General Motors, the Globe and Mail and the Department of Tourism.

CARAS committee member, Peter Diemer, who is VP of national promotion at EMI Music Canada, says that all the promos were designed to reach the broad target demo of the Junos – everyone from kids to young adults. ‘Having CTV involved as a media partner has made a tremendous difference to our ability to promote this event,’ he says.

As well as preparing for its first live broadcast of the show, CTV has also become heavily involved in organizing its own promotions and ad campaigns through its mainstream and specialty platforms, as well as through its media partner, the Globe and Mail.

‘Each promotional event on its own is of some importance, but the cumulative effect is what makes the difference,’ says Ed Robinson, SVP of comedy and variety at CTV.

CTV’s show Open Mike with Mike Bullard has been featuring live performances from the nominees each week during the run-up to the event. And on the morning show Canada AM, early risers can tune in to see ‘The Road to the Junos,’ featuring interviews with show performers and nominees.

Hosting the official Junos Web site, Sympatico/Lycos will be showing behind-the-scenes footage from backstage on

CTV is also running the ‘Gold Passport to the Junos’ contest, which will offer six winners and guests VIP treatment with a private box at the show and an invitation to the after-party. As of the end of March, nearly 50,000 entries had already been received for the trip which is sponsored by Canada AM and the Globe and Mail.

Music fans are also invited to enter an online contest on the Famous Players Web site to win a trip for two to the show. Radio stations across the country are running contests to give away tickets, and a limited edition two-CD set featuring Juno nominees.

A multitude of advertising supports the event, on TV, radio and in print. Street posters are currently up in Toronto and Vancouver, and in retail outlets across the country. One TV spot, which debuted during the American Music Awards in January, features the Barenaked Ladies singing about the award show.

CTV plans to continue its partnership with CARAS for the 2003 Junos, as Robinson says the union reflects well on the station and serves to generate excitement among its young viewers. LS