Friday, August 10, 2012

Axe Falls Out of Lust and Into Love

The first thing I ever noticed about the new Axe body spray commercial was how beautiful the Susan Glenn character is (played by model Jessica Cook).  Her look into the camera while flashing a hint of a smile does an incredible job at grabbing the viewers attention right before the conclusion as the viewer discovers the narration is actor Kiefer Sutherland and the product flashes on screen. 

I've seen the commercial several times now and continue to be impressed with it.  I love the writing in the ad and the storyline of a crush that got away and the regret felt later on is universal.  It's also completely uncharacteristic for the Axe brand.

Is this ad a sign that the Axe brand is maturing?  It's a major move from lust to love, previously never abandoning a strategy that uses humor and innuendo to reel in young men with the simple message that wearing Axe will get them laid.  Needless to say, the poetic Susan Glenn spot is a drastic contrast to just about every Axe commercial that has come before it (See Exhibit A and Exhibit B for a limited sample).

As an adult I truly appreciate the more mature message in the Axe commercial, although as a marketer I wonder what prompted Axe to grow out of a successful strategy.   Are teenage boys no longer the core demographic? Perhaps Axe is trying to grow with the customers they once fell in love with; those once-upon-a-time teenagers that have now grown into married men but cannot help but reflect upon their days as a bachelor.  But if this ad reflects a long-term shift in strategy, then how long will the brand want grow with their aging demographic?  A focused brand borrows customers for a short time and understands that they don't get them for lifetime.

Regardless,  I appreciate the more sophisticated and reflective Axe ads and will keep a watchful eye on the impact the new strategy will have on the brand.      

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