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Cleaning up @axe

Axes bro-tastic and sexist advertising techniques were no longer working. So they are
cleaning up their act with the 2014 Make love. Not war. advertising and public relations
campaigns to rebrand itself as a socially aware company that appeals to a larger


Axe products were founded in 1983 in France, and after a whirlwind of success in Europe and Latin
America the brand was shipped over to the U.S. in 2002. Axe is a mens grooming brand that has
expanded their products to include body sprays, deodorants, shower gels and hair products. In the
past, the brand has marketed itself as a fragrance brand to help men look and feel their best, and
to help him get his girl.

Situation analysis: THE THOUGHT PROCESS

Previous marketing + Competition
Axe spends millions of dollars on marketing
techniques every year to compete with the similar
brand Old Spice. In fact, according to TIME in
the first 3 quarters of 2013 they spent $62 million
in marketing. In the past, the brand has been
known for their crude advertisements with
sexual humor and exaggerations. While the ads
attracted male attention, they bothered most
females. Old Spice used similar humor but did not
tap into male sexual fantasies as much as Axe.
The Old Spice Man Your Man Could Smell Like
was winning, partly because women liked him.
Axe had to clean up its act.

Its not just about the boys

Males in the Millennial Generation (or Generation Y) are Axes main consumer. This demographic
refers to the late teens and twenty-something age group. 90% of millennials spend time online,
interacting with friends and brands on social media. They are more likely than any other
demographic to be influenced by advertisements, and are typically optimistic people. They also
spend their money on entertainment and clothing products. It therefore makes sense that Axe
targets these men because they likely want to smell good to entice women, as they are in their
prime dating age. However, what about the women who want to buy their men grooming
products? Axe has to appeal to them, too.

Mixing it up + keeping it clean

According to TIME, Axe conducts focus groups on college campuses to uncover hot topics
among this age demographic. Axe marketers discovered that college students biggest priority is
to make the world a better, peaceful place. Hey, dont most people want that? Seems like a
pretty universal idea, and could therefore relate to everyone men and women.

Integrated Marketing Communications Allison Shamon Feb. 2014

Creative TACTICS
Advertisement Make love not war: super bowl time
TIME reported that 111.5 million people watched the Super Bowl this year (TIME). It makes sense
then that a company that already spends over $60 million on advertisements would invest in a
commercial during the big game (TIME). Despite the boring game that Axe could not predict,
millions of people tune in to the game for the commercials especially college students (AKA

Axe created a one-minute commercial for the Super Bowl for their new product Axe Peace.
Instead of going the sex sells route, Axe attempted at romance. The ad was filmed in Bangkok
and starts off showing an Asian dictator, Middle Eastern rule r and a war-torn Europe. The scenes
look grim and the viewer does not know what is going to happen. A woman appears in each
scene and the music becomes softer and more romantic as she runs into the arms of a European
soldier, holds hands with the Asian dictator and looks into the Middle Eastern rulers eyes.
Weapons are put down and fireworks go off. The slogan Make love not w ar, w ith new
Axe Peace appears on the screen and a king is spraying some on. Peace One Day, a nonprofit
organization that uses videos and graphics to promote nonviolence, is sponsored at the end of
the commercial.

The commercial can be viewed here:


The rebranding could not be complete without a PR campaign using Twitter and Time Square as
their platform. The campaign lasted a month and ended on Feb. 9, 2014 and went as follows:
1. Anyone with a Twitter account tweets a picture of himself or herself kissing someone or
something, basically showing their peace.
2. Add the #KissForPeace to capture @AXEs attention and keep it trending.
3. The picture automatically shows up in Times Square for 30 seconds for everybody to see.
4. @AXE tweets a picture back to you of your picture in Times Square. The tweet reads: @YOU,
your #KissForPeace is live in Times Square right now. Youre kind of a big deal.

The goal of this campaign was to unite the world and make it a more peaceful place, as well as
get Axes name out there. And it did just that on a relatively small budget.

Integrated Marketing Communications Allison Shamon Feb. 2014


This advertising and public relations campaign exemplifies the beginning of Axes reputation
transformation. They are no longer a brand that promotes male sexual fantasies, but rather
peace and harmony. While the concept of peace is not necessarily outside the box, it is unique
to mens fragrance brand campaigns.

It is surprising. It is different. It is relevant. And it tugs at your heartstrings.

While yes, Axe is rebranding itself as a socially active company promoting peace through kissing;
it has not completely cleaned up its love appeal. The brand still resonates with millennial men
through getting his girl with Axes help, but also appeals to women and people of other age
demographics because it is more romantic and promotes a universal goal.

Because the entire campaign is so new, there is no information on Axes ROI and if they are now
doing better than their Old Spice competitor as a result.


works cited
Axe, Brands in Action. Unlever . Web. 17 Feb 2014.

Luckerson, V. How Axe made the ad everyone is talking about. TIME Business and Money . 30 Jan
2014. Web. 17 Feb 2014.

Peace One Day. Peace One Day . Web. 17 Feb 2014.

Stampler, L. This is how many people watched the Super Bowl. Time Entertainment . 03 Feb 2014.
Web. 17 Feb 2014.

Integrated Marketing Communications Allison Shamon Feb. 2014