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 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 Says Fear No Susan Glenn

I remember when Axe first came out. I was a senior in high school and they had wildly over-the-top commercials. We weren’t idiots…we realized these were exaggerated ads. But maybe there was something to them. Axe certainly wouldn’t make all woman instantly mount us like animals, but maybe it would make us smell good. Pretty soon, everyone at school was using Axe and it became wildly popular with teenagers nationwide. Looking back, the early Axe commercials haven’t aged too well, but it’s easy to see the appeal to the young male demographic. They were the ultimate in wish-fulfillment advertising for horny teenage boys.

As I got older, I switched to more “grown-up” deodorant, stopped watching MTV, and consequently didn’t see or hear about Axe as much. But this new Axe commercial from BBH New York is just…exquisite. I can’t think of a better word to describe it. It starts with a voiceover from an adult man. It’s wistful, but with a noticeable twinge of regret. He’s remembering Susan Glenn (played by Jessica Cook). Susan Glenn is different, you see. She’s not just a girl…she’s THE girl. As wonderfully artistic shots flow, we hear more about Susan Glenn. And then we see who’s speaking, it’s Kiefer Sutherland (or is it Jack Bauer?) Susan Glenn was the one that got away. It seems like we all have at least one that got away. Would Axe have gotten her? Maybe, maybe not. But the commercial is more about attitude…about how boldness can help you get the things and people you want. You don’t want to look back with regret. Awesome. Fear no Susan Glenn!

7/31 update: There’s also an official Fear No Susan Glenn website.

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