Axe Promotes Space Contest in Super Bowl Ad

(Image credit: BBH London)

Axe, the brand of men's grooming products, has pre-released its first-ever Super Bowl commercial, which also promotes its Axe Apollo Space Academy.

Axe, a Unilever brand that came to the U.S. in 2002, is using the same male-hero theme in its ad as it does in its other commercials. In its Super Bowl spot, taped in Barcelona, Spain, the company promotes a contest to put 22 people in space.

Read more: Super Bowl 2013 Full Coverage

Earlier this month, Axe announced it will give men and women the chance to compete for one of 22 tickets to travel to space on a flight with Space Exploration Corp., or SpaceXC, based in Amsterdam.

The companies have enlisted Buzz Aldrin, the Apollo 11 astronaut who walked on the moon with Neil Armstrong in July 1969.

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Space XC is not to be confused with SpaceX, which was founded by PayPal entrepreneur Elon Musk and has a contract with NASA to launch remote-controlled supply ships to the International Space Station.

Space XC, which says it hopes to "offer daily commercial flights into space as of 2014? in a suborbital space plane called Lynx, is charging $95,000 to would-be space travelers.

Axe said those ages 18 and older in the U.S. can enter for their chance to win through the website until Feb. 3, which is when the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens will compete in the 2013 Super Bowl.

Axe said some finalists will be invited to the AXE Global Space Camp in Orlando, Fla., where the final 22 space travelers will be selected "based on competitive space-simulation challenges."

The publicity stunt echoes that of the energy drink company Red Bull.

In October, daredevil Felix Baumgartner parachuted 24 miles from the edge of space in the culmination of the Red Bull Stratos mission. Baumgartner broke the records for highest manned balloon flight and highest free-fall - and Red Bull got worldwide publicity.

Axe says it isn't trying to break records but hopes to give a "normal" person the chance to go into space. Whether SpaceXC will be able to recruit enough paying customers to make space tourism a viable business is yet to be seen.

Several companies say they plan to offer brief trips into space. Most of their takers, so far, are well-heeled business people and celebrities.

In October, musical artist Sarah Brightman said she had plans to travel into space on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft going to the International Space Station in 2014 or 2015.

Last month, Sir Richard Branson reportedly gave actress Kate Winslet a ticket to space through his company, Virgin Galactic. Like most of its competitors, Virgin Galactic has not yet launched anyone.