Blogging Is the Trend du Jour at Ad:tech

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CHICAGO -- In the old days, all you needed was a session on search engine marketing to have standing-room-only attendance. As Ad:tech Chicago proved, that honor now belongs to blogging.


A session yesterday on what blogs teach us about the new rules of marketing confirmed the trend du jour. Executives from Intelliseek, Digital Grit and Sprint Business Services opined, but it was the representative from Unilever's Axe deodorant brand that engaged the audience on blogs.


"As long as they're talking about you, it's better than them not talking about you," David Rubin, senior brand development manager for Unilever's Axe, told delegates about the benefits of corporate blogs.


People are tired of being messaged, but prefer interaction, he said. They like to be involved in the brand's story, offering feedback that requires thick skins as well as legal and public relations go-ahead at companies hosting blogs. Moreover, people like voyeurism.


"Why are people in this space?" he posed. "What are they looking for? They're looking for what other people don't see. They're looking to see what's under the hood."


That's why Axe developed a blog with an online reality show. Unilever gave two young men $25,000 for four months to pick up women with smart lines. The smart-alecky attitude meshed with Axe's positioning as a tool for seducing women.


More than 1 million people visited the blog to follow the duo's exploits, spending 20 to 30 minutes per session. The videos lack the usual slick production of deodorant spots.


"Because you can be gritty, because you can be authentic, you can speak to the men in your audience," Rubin said.


Take an online exchange he aired. One of the men assigned to woo women tries to gain a young woman's attention by bending down to pick up something, forcing his T-shirt to rise. The camera catches her staring at this phenomenon a few times.


"Your ass is hanging out," she finally blurts out.


"That doesn't get you interested in the rest of the package?" he asks.


"No," she says.


Mickey Alam Khan covers Internet marketing campaigns and e-commerce, agency news as well as circulation for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters


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