Earlier this week The Edge was revealed as the brand behind Love You Man, a campaign that will undoubtedly ruffle the feathers of those with slightly more conservative views on the act of marriage.
With the confirmation of Mike Puru, Jay Jay Harvey and Dominic Harvey's involvement came the announcement that the campaign forms part of a competition that will award a trip to next year’s Rugby World Cup to a pair of best mates who take their friendship to the next level by exchanging vows.
“This is a once in a lifetime trip, so in return we need the ultimate commitment, and there is no commitment better than marriage,” said host Dom Harvey in a release. “Bromance. It is a thing and we want to celebrate it.”
Emily Hancox, the group marketing manager for MediaWorks Radio, says that initial secrecy surrounding the campaign was designed “to generate curiosity”.
“We wanted to spark ‘water cooler banter’ among media and the public,” she says.
And this move seems to have paid off, with the LoveYouMan.co.nz microsite receiving over 30,000 visitors after the Edge released a teaser campaign through online and ambient mediums directing Kiwis to the web address.
The website originally featured a series of three skits depicting bromance scenarios, but it has since been updated with content that stars several MediaWorks radio hosts.
Visitors to the site can also send a range of humorous E-cards to their mates to let them know what their friendship means.
“The concept came out of a brainstorm between a number of departments on station, and was developed by The Edge promotions and marketing teams,” says Hancox. “
She says that MediaWorks was also supported by Modsquad, which looked after graphic design, an Al Best, which developed the campaign creative.
Rather predictably, not everyone has been impressed with the campaign. And since the LoveYouMan site features a live Twitter feed, this means that some of the criticism has also made it onto the site.
Such criticism has not dissuaded The Edge from orchestrating controversial weddings in previous campaigns. This trend started 15 years ago when the radio station married two complete strangers, Paula Stockwell and Zane Nicholl. Since then, The Edge married two more sets of strangers, eloped three couples to Las Vegas, married a couple without clothes in ‘Nudie Nuptials’, left the groom to do all the work in ‘Man Made Wedding’ and last year celebrated same sex marriage by marrying two gay couples.
Hancox says that negative criticism was to be expected with a campaign like this, and explains that The Edge brand is about pushing the boundaries.
“Love You Man is about following a journey between two friends, and seeing how far they will go to win a once in a lifetime experience,” she says. “As with our past wedding promotions, we knew Love You Man would create a reaction, both positive and negative. The reaction to Love You Man has been overwhelmingly positive and has already received over 120 entrants prepared to go all way.”
And despite the controversy surrounding the previous wedding stunts, Hancox says that been surprisingly successful at establishing long-lasting relationships.
“The Edge has a proven track record of creating successful marriages in all sorts of unlikely scenarios," she says. “Testament to this success is Paula and Zane Nicholl from The Edge’s first ever ‘Two Strangers and a Wedding’, who will be celebrating their 15-year wedding anniversary on the first of October this year.”
Interestingly, The Edge’s other two weddings between strangers have also resulted in long relationships. Steve and Kersha Veix are celebrating their tenth wedding anniversary this year, and Paul and Chantelle Court their fifth.
And given that the around 10,000 of the nation’s marriages end in divorce in every year, The Edge doesn’t actually have such a bad track record.