Ad of the Day: Axe

BBH's new Axe man already has the girl, but now he has to keep her happy

Women may have the upper hand in the dating game, Axe has conceded. But at least men can dull that edge with the brand's shower gel.

BBH London began softening Axe's longtime message that females are mindless animals incapable of resisting its man-scent with a February campaign for Axe Anarchy, introducing a fragrance for ladies and illustrating that dudes, too, are pheromone-driven morons. Then, the agency went even further, upending the dynamic of the brand's advertising with a campaign allowing that females are actually thinking, acting members of society capable of leading obsequious, sex-obsessed males to debase themselves in myriad ways. Rather than portray Axe products as magical potions that turn douchey guys into dime magnets, the new series argues that the brand's shower gels are merely aids for men suffering the long slog through the unmanly activities that interest their girlfriends—theater, dancing, shopping, and flirting with other men. What's the light at the end of the tunnel? Still getting laid, of course.

Sure, they're not going to win any accolades for logic or progressivism, but the five new ads (posted below) are crisply written and in-pocket for the brand. Arguably the best of the bunch is "Sporty Girl," which stars a female character who actually demonstrates some ambition and reaches a little further beyond the effeminate stereotypes of "Brainy Girl," "Flirty Girl" and "Party Girl." The actor delivering the voiceovers sounds an awful lot like comedian Nick Offerman, aka Ron Swanson of Parks and Recreation. (If it's not him, it's clearly intended to mimic his pacing and style.) And while the new creative is still pretty insulting to women, it's made up of amusing slices of life grounded in credible scenarios instead of abject soft-core based on teenage fantasies—marking another baby step towards the 21st century.

As for any Neanderthals having trouble stomaching the power shift, you can always just douse yourself in body spray.


Client: Axe

Global Brand Director, Axe Skin: Giovanni Valentini

Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty, London

Copywriters: David Kolbusz, Simon Pearse, Dan Morris

Art Directors: Emmanuel Saint M'Leux, Charlene Chandrasekaran, Rob Ellis

Creative Director: David Kolbusz

Producer: Rachel Hough

Team Director: Nic Manser

Strategy Director: Tim Jones

Strategic Business Leads: Richard Lawson, Keir Mather

Head of Strategy: Jonathan Bottomley

Production Company: Biscuit Filmworks UK

Director: Tim Godsall

Executive Producer: Orlando Wood

Producer: Rick Jarjoura

Director of Photography:  Stephen Keith-Roach   

Postproduction: Framestore

Editing: Work Post

Sound: Factory Studios

@GabrielBeltrone Gabriel Beltrone is a frequent contributor to Adweek.
Publish date: March 20, 2012 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT