Unilever-owned Axe has teamed up with Asking Alexandria (photo), a UK-based metalcore band, to offer fans the chance to download the first track from the band’s new album. Members of Planet Axe – the brand’s new online social gaming community – can now listen to the song Run Free before it has been released anywhere else in the world.
The partnership coincides with the release of Axe’s new mobile game – Axeman – which challenges fans to pick up ‘babes’ whilst fending off various enemies. The game lets users choose accompanying music from their personal libraries – including the new Asking Alexandria track – automatically matching the beat to the content of each level.
Both Run Free and Axeman are hosted on Planet Axe, a new online platform and loyalty programme where members can connect with friends, compete for prizes and collect more than $1m in rewards. Axe Points are earned through gameplay and can be redeemed on the website for prizes from partners, including Xbox 360s, Philips electric razors and SteelSeries gaming headsets.
In addition to free music and exclusive gear, Planet Axe users also have access to games from Kongregate, one of the world’s largest online social gaming portals. Part of the GameStop network, Kongregate boasts over 45 million gameplays each month, and features thousands of games made by, and played by, its users.
Intriguing to see Axe start to position itself as more of a media company, much like Red Bull (albeit it in a much more basic way), inking deals to release exclusive tracks and create social games to reward its fans through the Planet Axe media hub.
There has been a real swell of excitement around the release of Asking Alexandria’s third studio album. Having reached number 9 in the US Billboard charts with Reckless and Relentless last year, the band is widely anticipated to improve on this with a well reviewed forthcoming record. It was therefore a real coup for Planet Axe to host the band’s new track, Run Free, before any other site. (Although sadly this may have been compromised by the album leaking across the web before it’s due to be released).
However, whilst teaming up with the band may have increased new users, it will have done little to push return visits and foster site loyalty. Integrating Run Free into Axeman does therefore, show a concerted effort from the Unilever-brand to incorporate the band into the fabric of the website, encouraging Asking Alexandria fans to return to Planet Axe after they have downloaded the song.
This, coupled with some very enticing prices and a well-structured rewards programme, makes Planet Axe an intriguing offer and a content-rich site that has a great chance of building a strong community. The reward for the brand, of course, is continued engagement with its fanbase by giving them entertaining and relevant fun, and ultimately loyalty to their products.
This is the first in a monthly series of blog posts from Contagious Feed, a database of the most creative and effective marketing campaigns around. Contagious – a midem content partner and conference speaker – guides and advises brands and their agencies on competitor activity and future opportunities. More information here.