Axe Asks “Is It OK For Guys…?”

Axe has come a long, long way in their advertising. I remember when Axe came out towards the end of my high school days. Their commercials could be characterized as lunkheaded fantasies that basically said you’d get laid if you used Axe. I guess that had something of a charm to them, but were mostly just dumb and borderline offensive. Over the years, Axe has shifted their focus. 2012 brought the beautiful Susan Glenn spot, which I recall being one of the best of the year. The biggest shift, however, came last year with “Find Your Magic.” The ad, which got rave reviews, challenged society’s and advertising’s ideas of masculinity. Now Axe seems to have gone even further. In its new commercial created by 72andSunny Amsterdam, “is it ok for guys”, Axe shows different guys asking questions about whether it’s ok for guys to do things that men aren’t traditionally known for. The questions are based on autocompletes of popular Internet searches. It’s a well done and thought-provoking piece. Here’s more from Adweek.

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Axe Shower Thoughts, Featuring Muggsy Bogues

If you’re like a lot of men, you think clearly and come up with revelations in the shower. It’s a relaxing environment for sure. Taking a long shower could mean you’re thinking or relaxing. It might be cold outside and you could want to maximize your time standing under a stream of hot water. Or perhaps a long shower could be for an entirely different form of pleasurable relaxation (very NFSW link). In any case, Axe taps into the power of shower thinking in a new campaign, aptly named “Shower Thoughts.” A man comes up with an epiphany: “When you’re criticized for being short, they’re really just saying the worst thing about you is that there isn’t more of you.” Deep stuff. As a short guy, I approve. That leads to a daydream with Muggsy Bogues, famous to ’90s kids as being the shortest player in NBA history. Muggsy proceeds to school much taller men in a pickup game. So don’t let those shower thoughts go down the drain!

Axe Says Find Your Magic

Axe started advertising hard when I was a junior or senior in high school. For a long time, their campaigns could be characterized as cheeky and sexist. But Axe has been trying somewhat to distance itself from this lunkheaded image. Their Susan Glenn spot from 2012 (one of my favorite ads of that year) is an example of that changing direction. Now they have a new commercial that’s pretty impressive. Created by 72andSunny in Amsterdam, it depicts young men who traditionally wouldn’t be in Axe ads to show that confidence and individuality is more important than being a standard hunk.

Axe Apollo: Bryce Drew’s Buzzer Beater Is Upstaged By An Astronaut

It’s that magical time of year again…March Madness. Brackets, Cinderellas, and most importantly, a reasonable excuse to start drinking at noon on a weekday. In 1998, Valparaiso University’s Bryce Drew hit a buzzer beater to upset Ole Miss. It was one of the most memorable moments in NCAA Tournament history, and now 15 years later, Bryce Drew is the head coach of Valpo, who will try to shock Michigan State. And now Axe Apollo has a new commercial capitalizing on this shot. It’s in a similar vein to Axe’s Super Bowl spot…meaning that the real action is amusingly overshadowed by an astronaut. Nothing beats an astronaut ever, apparently.

The 2012 Joshys: Part III

The Timothy Leary Award: The trippiest commercials. You might not have been on drugs, but these made you feel like it.

Winner: The Skittles Walrus

It’s trippy, alright. The connection to Skittles Riddles is pretty out there and pretty damn tenuous.

Honorable mentions: Axe’s Office Love: Very polarizing.

Old Spice’s Terry Crews ads: Whoa. The definition of a guy commercial.

The Boner Award: Sexiest of the year. I look at analytics for this blog and know that the audience is like 65% male, so I’m going to include a lot of honorable mentions too. If you’re a female reading this and want to suggest a commercial with sexy men, feel free.

Winner: Anything with Kate Upton.

Now a 2-time winner of this prestigious category. I just really like Kate Upton.

Honorable mentions: Adriana Lima for Teleflora and Fiat’s Seduction: Both Super Bowl commercials. I remember being unimpressed with both of them, though in retrospect, the Fiat ad is better than I remember. The Teleflora commercial has a decidedly non-progressive message which many objected to.

Samsung Work Trip and Liquid Plumr Double Impact: Both on here for the suggestiveness. Samsung’s is more subtle and sly while Liquid Plumr’s is a solid minute of obvious, ridiculous, and amusing innuendo.

The Traffic Awards: The posts that brought people to Commercial Society.

Ragu’s Long Day Of Childhood

This one premiered during the Olympics. I remember seeing it and knowing I needed to get something up really quick. Within an hour, it had something like 4,000 pageviews. The next day (August 6) Commercial Society had slightly more than 18,000 pageviews, with the Ragu spot accounting for close to 15,000. By far the busiest day ever. And the Ragu post was WordPress.com’s #1 post of the day…out of more than a million posts!

The Wendy’s Redhead Saga

The original post about the Wendy’s redhead (Morgan Smith Goodwin) is the most popular in Commercial Society history. People REALLY like her. This one has almost 77,000 pageviews. 4 of the top 7 posts on my blog are ones from this campaign.

And that wraps up The 2012 Joshys. Hope you enjoyed it!

kate upton carl's jr

The 2012 Joshys: Part I

December is a time for year-end lists/awards and here at Commercial Society, I have my own…The Joshys. Just on a personal note, it’s been a memorable year for me. In late June, I moved to New York City to try to pursue my goal to be an advertising copywriter. The combined effects of being busier and lack of cable have meant that I haven’t updated the blog as much as I used to, but I’m still definitely going to keep it active. Now, a few things about The Joshys. I’ve kept most of the same awards from last year (which you can see here). Every award winner must be something I’ve covered on the blog. This eliminates some potential winners. Sorry. And there’s quite a bit of overlap between categories, but a commercial can only be mentioned for one. Without further adieu…

Campaign of the Year: DirecTV’s “Don’t”

This was a pretty clear-cut choice for me. Consistently funny and unexpected. There were a lot of spots in this Grey campaign, but I think the Phil Shifley one was the best/my favorite. Here’s the first ad and the one with Charlie Sheen.

The Don Draper Award: Best commercial of the year. These are the ads that make people want to go into advertising. The hardest category to pick a winner.

Winner: Wideroe “Grandpa’s Magic Trick”

Read the short description of this award. When I first saw this Norwegian commercial, I thought “THIS is why people want to go into advertising!” A beautiful setting, stellar acting, and a clear and smart message. Magical.

Honorable mentions: The Guardian’s Three Little Pigs: Compelling is the best word.

MLB 12 The Show “Cubs Win”: One of the best representations about the ecstasy and resignation of being a sports fan. Incidentally, the 2012 Cubs were one of the worst teams in franchise history.

Axe’s “Susan Glenn”: Maybe the best copy of the year. A huge departure from Axe’s usual lunkheaded marketing strategy. It’s a great commercial, but one that might make you squirm a little bit, as you’ll inevitably think about all the Susan Glenns in your life.

ESPN/This is Sportscenter “John Clayton”: If you watch ESPN, you know about nerdy football expert John Clayton. The alternate reality of him being a sloppy metalhead who lives with his mom is hilarious.

The Houston Van Gogh Award: These commercials were so annoying that they made me want to gouge my eyes out and/or cut my ear off. Or at least change the channel.

Winner (loser?): Target’s Back To School

Gahh. At least the back to school nature of these commercials meant that they weren’t on for too long. I have no idea how these spots have gotten positive reactions on YouTube.

Dishonorable mention: 5-hour Energy Pink Lemonade: 5-hour Energy has horrible advertising, and this sucks too. Dishonorable mention in this category for the 2nd year in a row. The fact that some of the proceeds go to breast cancer and the singer isn’t terrible-looking redeem this one a little. A little.

The Field of Dreams Award: Field of Dreams is a movie that is known to make grown men cry. This award goes to those tearjerker commercials that have the same potential.

Winner: Dick’s “Father’s Day”

Beautifully shows the father-son bond. The lengths that the father goes to see his son succeed and the gratitude in the end.

Honorable mention: Expedia “Find Your Strength”: Honestly, this is more of a pure tearjerker, especially since it’s a true story. The only thing that keeps it from winning is that it’s a longer-form, online video and not a commercial that would be shown on broadcast TV.

Stay tuned for Parts II and III.

phil shifley

Axe’s Commercial With Hair And Boobs

Axe’s great Susan Glenn commercial was decidedly highbrow and a huge departure away from its normally lunkheaded brand identity. This new Axe spot from BBH called “Office Love” is a strange combination of classy and trashy. On the one hand, you have the artsy direction, with puppets provided by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop. And there’s the pretty (if somewhat pretentious) sounds of Daniel Johnston’s “True Love Will Find You in the End”. Of course, we’re also talking about an ad whose protagonists are a head of hair and a pair of breasts. It’s a polarizing one. I’m not even really sure what to think. Adrants likes it, AdFreak not so much. It’s got a good overall rating on Ads of the World, but a pretty terrible like/dislike rate on YouTube. In the end, your attitude of this commercial might come down down to its fundamental premise. Are boobs always what guys see first? Is hair always what girls see first?

 

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