One small (initial) step for man (or woman) could lead to one giant leap into the cosmos. That's because men's care brand Axe has launched the Axe Apollo Space Academy, or AASA, and a corresponding website, AxeApollo.com, to promote a new space-themed scent and give fans a chance to actually win a trip to space.
Matthew McCarthy, senior director of brand development for Axe in North America, says the campaign has had thousands of entries to date. It launched January 10.
Interested participants sign up at AxeApollo.com and enroll in AASA. According to Axe, users who create a profile and video will have a chance to compete for one of 22 tickets to travel to space with international space agency Space Expedition Corporation, or SXC, in 2014.
Axe has opened the competition to 60 countries and is looking for astronaut profiles that explain why users deserve to go to space. Candidates outside the U.S. must qualify for a challenge in their home country prior to competing in the U.S. From there, 100 finalists will compete at the Axe Global Space Camp in Orlando in December 2013. Winners will be selected based on competitive space-simulation challenges, like a flight on the L39 Albatross MK2 Jet traveling twice the speed of sound, a weightless experience on a zero gravity flight and a ride on the G-Force centrifuge.
"At its heart, the Axe brand is about bringing guys and girls together for cool experiences and space is about as cool as it gets," McCarthy says. "The Apollo campaign creates a social space online where guys and girls share their excitement for space and tell stories to one another about why they deserve to go to space."
What's more, astronaut Buzz Aldrin is the Axe Apollo spokesperson and the head of AASA. He's calling on participants to sign up for AASA. In addition, Axe says it will share content featuring Aldrin in its social channels.
"Buzz Aldrin is the ultimate space hero, having been one of the first men in space. He has been a longtime supporter of sending everyday people to space, which is why we've made him the honorary head of AASA," McCarthy says. "By working with Buzz, we're giving guys a chance to hear from a real space hero firsthand."
Aldrin is featured in a YouTube video about the campaign that has 96,000 views.
While the "Axe guy" is 18 to 24 years old, the competition is open to anyone over 18.
The promotion also includes a Super Bowl ad.
The AASA Training tab on Axe's Facebook page features several basic training challenges that are listed as "coming soon." That includes a series of four "epic challenges" to prove a user is "space-worthy" and a game that says, "Stay at the top of the leaderboard to maintain your street cred." Axe has 3.9 million likes on Facebook.
Axe, which is known as Lynx in some parts of the world, has partnered with SXC to secure 22 seats on the suborbital spacecraft the Lynx. SXC operates XCOR Aerospace's Lynx suborbital space plane that takes passengers more than 100 kilometers (62 miles) into space, achieving astronaut status.
Axe is a Unilever brand.
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Lisa Lacy is senior staff writer at ClickZ. In addition to ClickZ, her work has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Luxury Spot, LearnVest, MarthaStewart.com, GoodHousekeeping.com, amNewYork, and The Wall Street Journal. She's a graduate of Columbia's School of Journalism.
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