From championing sexist stereotypes to being an aware critic of toxic masculinity, Axe is certainly trying to grow up as a brand. The brand once famous for its not-so-subtle campaigns, full of sexual innuendoes, and with brand promises of making guys cool & chick magnet had its communication pattern revered and followed by almost every deodorant branding under the sun, has taken a route that subverts its own past campaigns.
The latest commercial by AXE tries to change the very notion while highlighting the real question, guys are asking every day.
Asking real questions, challenging stereotypes
Using quick cuts of the usual routine of a guy and showing that how other guys are trying to make him (or the likes of him) fit within defined ideals of manhood, Axe has chosen a path which is broader and more inclusive in it approach. The current campaign about ‘Toxic Masculinity’ is in sync with their previous ‘‘Find Your Magic’ campaign. ‘Find Your Magic’ tried to shake off the outdated view of masculinity signaling an end to the era of racy, humorous ads. The current commercial builds further on the campaign by raising questions that men have been always afraid to ask openly. The commercial claims that these questions are real and their impacts are debilitating for young men.
A glossy vision for Social Change?
If society changes, marketing has to change, We have been witnessing this behavior in branding and marketing strategy. While the earlier communications from brands were uni-directional, propagating half-lies as gospel truths, this is changing in times of social media and the digitally-enabled world. But as economy and technology opens up global dialogues and brings customers and custodians as the aware entity and not just some passive recipient, the responsibilities on brands to curate their communication along the line of consumers are increasing manifold.
Probably, that’s why Unilever(Parent brand of Axe deodorant) is trying to root out sexist stereotypes with more conscious attempts. The brand is in partnership with three different Non-profit Organization – Promundo, The Representation Project, and Ditch the Label wherein groups will coordinate to optimize the web with answers for bullying and mental health issues.
The campaign is brilliant in terms that it tries to bring attention to an issue that is hiding in plain sight (who would have guessed that it would come from the likes of brand Axe). In future, the campaign could be an effective line for personal empowerment. It will be interesting to watch kind of content and strategies that the campaign is going to churn out in upcoming times.
The transition of a brand’s communication, after all, goes through the transition of the collective thought pool of its consumers.
Ad campaign: Is it okay for guys to…
Brand: Axe / Lynx
Chief Marketing & Communication Officer: Keith Weed
Agency: 72andSunny Amsterdam
Executive Vice President: Pablo Gazzera
Global Vice President: Claire McHardy
Executive Creative Director(s): Carlo Cavallone, Stuart Harkness
Creative Director(s): Laura Visco, Matt Heck
Copywriter: Jorgen Sibbern
Creative: Georgianna Gregori