When it comes to promoting the return of its nude dating competition series, Dating Naked: Playing for Keeps, VH1 has found that less—much less—is more.
The network is following up this week's jumping-naked-in-slow-motion ad with another opportunity to see naked people in all their (slightly obscured) glory. On Friday, the network will unveil an interactive Dating Naked billboard at the bustling corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue in Los Angeles.
The sign will initially feature a fully clothed image of this season's two suitors, Chris Aldrich and Kerri Cipriani. But throughout the day, brand ambassadors will encourage passersby to "strip" down the poster, peeling away a series of tabs to reveal a naked image of the duo underneath. They'll also be encouraged to take photos of the billboard as the day goes on and post them on social media.
Each tab will also include the chance to win naked-themed prizes, including health, beauty and body products, as well as a getaway to Terra Cotta Inn, the clothing-optional Palms Springs, Calif., resort.
"Over the course of a day, you can peel off tabs and reveal them in their truest self," said Caralene Robinson, evp, marketing, VH1. Once the ad has been fully "stripped," it will reveal a new photo in which "Chris and Kerri will be nude, and you'll have little color blocks on their bits." VH1 expects it will take a day to peel off all the layers. The billboard will then remain "uncovered" for two weeks.
Dating Naked, which returns for Season 2 on July 22, is set on a romantic tropical island, with Aldrich and Cipriani looking for love with a new group of singles arriving each week, wearing only their birthday suits. During the show's first season, "we found that we get the most impact from our viral ideas, our stunts. Last year we did a nude video, the rogue choreography in the mall. That got over 2 million views. We did naked pedicabs, and we found that the activation that seems to work best for us is when consumers can actually engage," said Robinson.
So this year, in addition to that second video, her team settled on the billboard idea, hiring Awestruck agency for the activation. They chose L.A.'s Hollywood and Highland because "it's an extremely high-traffic area," said Robinson, "and it's also a place where I believe we can get a lot of social media value." The network has additionally partnered with the Nüdifier app, which will allow users to create pixilated naked photos of people.
VH1 also benefits from the promotion of another nude-themed show, Discovery's Naked and Afraid XL, which returned on July 12. "It's worked to our advantage," Robinson said. A third clothing-optional series, TLC's Buying Naked, aired last year but didn't return this summer. "If you're a consumer of these shows, there's a lot of back and forth between them, so we don't see them as competition. We think we stand on our own, but we all help each other out in a way."