Dove's Dive Into Times Square

New Yorkers who are disaffected because their votes mean little this election-year might want to get to Times Square, where they can effect a national debate more personal than politics by participating in an online stunt to promote Unilever's beauty-brand Dove.

As part of its "What is Beautiful" campaign, created by Ogilvy & Mather, Unilever launched an interactive billboard Friday on the corner of 46th Street and Broadway. The promotion features a picture of a 96-year-old woman, and poses the question "Wrinkled?" or "Wonderful?"

Consumers can vote by sending a text message, and a running tally appears in real-time on the billboard and Dove's Web site. As of Friday afternoon, more than 6,000 consumers had voted.

It's all part of Unilever's new branding campaign, which started earlier this year in the U.K., and is designed to focus on run-of-the-mill women rather than supermodels.

Dove is not the first to experiment with an interactive billboard in Times Square. For example, in March, Yahoo!, in conjunction with Reuters, offered a racing game using the Reuters billboard on 43rd Street for anyone with a cell-phone to play. "The response was truly insane," says Linda Bennett, director of "Market Buzz" at Yahoo!, adding that the campaign generated "tons of press."

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