lundi 14 mai 2012


             Axe is a brand of grooming products first launched in 1983 and owned by the company Unilever; it once was a male-only brand. With the launch of a new fragrance –Anarchy for him + for her- last January, came a new opportunity to target both sexes.  This has changed the way people think about the brand and especially about its advertising campaign “The Axe Effect”, which was considered as sexist. Through the analysis of three documents about this topic, we will try to understand how the launch of a fragrance for women changes the way they perceive the brand. 
            According to Kyle Marancos, senior brand building manager of Axe, their new product –Anarchy- is more of an experiment in comparison to the male line, which is way more developed. Indeed, Axe used to be a male-only brand and all its advertising campaigns showed insecure young men getting attractive women by spraying themselves with Axe deodorants. This phenomenon was quite one-sided and considered sexist by most people, especially by women activists. Besides, they wrote a petition to Mr. Michael B. Polk, President of Unilever Americas, to ban all the Axe advertisements that portrayed women as objects of sexual gratification and as animals unable to resist the sudden irresistible attractiveness of men wearing Axe products.  Axe’s marketing was based on the idea that “sex sells” and that was proven to be very effective. Indeed, targeting the young generation is a judicious choice as the only word on their mind is “sex” and the experiment of it. This is why the brand initially became so popular. However, some people are worried because the advertisements encourage sexual behavior and give young men the wrong idea that it is okay to objectify women. 
           Nevertheless, even if the ads and commercials portray women in a negative and submissive light, humor helps to play things down. Axe’s Facebook page is ‘liked’ mostly by women so it shows that the apparent sexism in Axe’s advertising campaigns won’t stop them from liking the brand. This information indicates that Axe did not need to launch this specific product for women to improve their perception and image. However, the campaign for Anarchy for him + for her, where women are shown equal to men, can only act as a positive one and might even help the most reluctant of women activists to have a better perception of the brand.

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