Communication Campaign Corner

Marketing Communication

Axe  - The Axe Effect

Abstract

Axe, the deodorant body spray, has a very specific approach and content on its commercials: Seduction. It also has worldwide known commercials, for being funny and efficient on delivering the message. This can be seen is almost all of their campaigns, specially the TV ones. The impression you have is that Axe spray works like a love potion, the called Axe Effect, and more than that, makes you more confident. Introverted, shy and skinny guys get beautiful models in their commercials, and normal guys gets a billion women. The commercial, and its extensions, described here is going to one of the most popular of the brand, the elevator commercial. This commercial shows exactly how the "magic" works. A guy, apparently not confident at all, is "assaulted" by the woman, who, in Axe's commercials, is always the one to make the first move.

Promotion, Target and Extensions

Every Axe commercial has also a pretty clear message, that the men who uses Axe, gets the "Axe Effect". The Axe Effect is the name given to the hypothetical seduction skill that a men magically gets when he uses Axe. This is nothing but a strategy  to make way to explore the human's need for affection, in special within the target of the brand.

The target audience of the brand are man from 16 to 35 years old, what can be easily discovered by the kind of commercials delivered. Furthermore, one of the most important aspects of the capitalism society values is that someone needs to have something to be someone in society; in this case, to be attractive and well accepted by the other sex.

One of the extensions of this advertisement, not only the elevator one but any that includes the "Axe Effect", is a special website designed to promote the brand, called theaxeeffect.com. But, once you are in the website, you can see more information about the products, and there is no focus at all on the real Axe Effect.

Thus, Axe can use this point to work on the "need recognition" at the purchase-decision process. As said before, you "need" Axe to be sexy and that's a strong and powerful message, specially for their target market.

The promotion of Axe is made mostly on Television, and, as said before, with a seduction theme, where the girl always makes the first move (After the Axe is applied). The feeling of self-confidence gained with Axe effect, represented in the commercials by skinny guys getting hit by girls clearly out of their league, is the main objective and desire of most of the teenagers and adults. This can be observed in those commercials that shows very insecure guys, as the men in the elevator one. The identification with the commercial character may guide and motivate people to buy the product.

Although Axe's commercials are internationally famous and has a lot of prestige, Axe is hardly seen in events, branded entertainment or any Public Relations at all But, also, we can look at this fact as an opportunity to explore, that means, this gives the company a huge marge in which it can work in order to get closer to the society, make people actually know the product.

Some others brands with seduction oriented commercials, like the gum Excel or some others preservative brands, have a lot more participation in Public Relations, giving samples in nightclubs and sponsoring parties. And this is, therefore, the way I would expand the campaign of the Axe Effect. Parties are frequently associated with seduction, and, moreover, is the place where those insecure and introverted boys go to try to get those beautiful models of Axe's commercial. It is a similar approach of the one made by energy drinks in parties, the same model of sponsorship, but with a totally different association.

Positioning

The brand uses, mostly, TV ads to deliver its message, and it is a good example of global branding effort, once they have delivered basically the same positioning all over the world. The positioning is based on a common used strategy, of knowing exactly what are the aspirations, dreams and objectives of its customers.

Another delivery tool used by the brand are the printed ads, like the one below. The positioning of Axe also does not work with a lot of logic. That means, every customer know that the commercial situations are not going to happen in reality, but they still buy it.

Hierarchy of effects

An often element of Axe's campaigns is the humor, as seen is the elevator commercial, but some other campaigns just skip the humour and go straight into the seduction element. As we can observe, the product is not the focus here, and this combination of elements lead us to the conclusion of what are the objectives of the brand with these commercials. As said before, the Axe's commercials does not have focused on the product attributes, once all we can see is its effect, that means, the campaign has the knowledge or awareness objective, but not liking, preference or any other further element in the hierarchy of effects.

Criticism

Searching for more information about the Axe Effect on internet, it is possible to find, as the third result in google, a definition from the Urbandictionary.com, that means, the dictionary of informal words and expressions. This definition helps us to explain a lot of the perception consumers have about Axe. Definitely, it is not something good, but not for the product itself, but more for the users. The use of Axe is associated with strong smell, and that is even the reason for some girls to choke (see image below, from knowyourmeme.com). It is also associated with teenagers who apply it more than they should.

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