Sunday, June 10, 2007

Thirdway loses appetitite for Axe.

I’ve long despised Axe’s advertising. I’m not the only one who feels it’s grown old. Way old. (New campaign! Please!)

David over at ThirdWay seems a bit nauseated at the newest iteration of the Axe ads, calling them “cringe-worthy.” While I can agree these ads are also memorable, and keep in continuity with the older ads, I could debate whether or not this is a good thing. That time I had really bad potato salad was also memorable, but I don’t think Unilever wants their brand remembered the same way.

It's really interesting to see the difference in advertising and marketing messages for women's sprays and men's. In theory, it should be possible for a deordorant to appeal to men, be sexy, and not turn women into bitches in heat. Does low-brow humor honestly sell more product? Brands like Old Spice are getting in on the game too- check out their new commercials with Bruce Campbell. Bruce is awesome, but a body spray shouldn't brainwash anyone...


Jugo said...

I don't know. I think they're kind of funny. They even did a whole thing on DirecTV where an Axe commercial would tell you to tune in to a certain channel, and on that channel was nothing but a cheesy Chuck Norris-style infomercial talking about how Axe gets you ladies.

Besides, the real appeal to this sort of humor is in the ring of truth about it. Ask yourself, honestly, what is the primary motivation for a man to go out and buy a spray deodorant?

This isn't a regular deodorant; it's a spray deodorant. It's not an anti-perspirant. There are no lumberjacks who use this product so they can smell fresh after a hard day's work. This is body cologne. It's something a guy puts on before he goes out to a club, or out on a date. He doesn't want the cliche'd musk of a regular cologne, and he doesn't want to be that guy who smells good, but overpowering, and then everyone knows he's trying too hard. He wants to be the guy who has it all together. The total package. He's dressed fancy, he's learning how to treat a lady, and when she leans close so she can hear him over the music, he wants her to catch the faintest whiff of something nice through his shirt.

My friend E used to spray cologne into the air and then walk through it, rather than applying it directly to his skin. He said it was better to give off a faint aroma, so that girls would have to stand close to him if they wanted to smell it.

Now E was maybe a little more in touch with his feminine side than most guys. Most guys care about their smell, same as they care about their appearance, but they're not confident enough to let people know that they care.

So let's pretend you're Axe. You've got a product that guys want. Except the guys? They don't want anyone to know that they want it. Solution? Wrap it up in so much machismo and chauvinism that there's no way anyone can associate this product with the effeminate man these guys so fear to become.

The potential consumer is insecure. He has defenses up against primping routines, and humor is the quickest and most effective way to break through those barriers.

-Guys want to get laid but can't if they don't smell good.
-Smelling good is taboo and unmanly.
-Being brutish and inconsiderate about sex is masculine and, taken in a humorous context, socially acceptable.
-Axe allows guys to smell good while hiding behind machismo.

Yay Axe!

Deborah said...

All Axe products make me sick. Literally. My nose swells up, my throat itches. You have got to know there is something toxic in there, and not just for the girls!