Ad of the Day: Axe

BBH's new Axe man already has the girl, but now he has to keep her happy

Women may have the upper hand in the dating game, Axe has conceded. But at least men can dull that edge with the brand's shower gel.

BBH London began softening Axe's longtime message that females are mindless animals incapable of resisting its man-scent with a February campaign for Axe Anarchy, introducing a fragrance for ladies and illustrating that dudes, too, are pheromone-driven morons. Then, the agency went even further, upending the dynamic of the brand's advertising with a campaign allowing that females are actually thinking, acting members of society capable of leading obsequious, sex-obsessed males to debase themselves in myriad ways. Rather than portray Axe products as magical potions that turn douchey guys into dime magnets, the new series argues that the brand's shower gels are merely aids for men suffering the long slog through the unmanly activities that interest their girlfriends—theater, dancing, shopping, and flirting with other men. What's the light at the end of the tunnel? Still getting laid, of course.

Sure, they're not going to win any accolades for logic or progressivism, but the five new ads (posted below) are crisply written and in-pocket for the brand. Arguably the best of the bunch is "Sporty Girl," which stars a female character who actually demonstrates some ambition and reaches a little further beyond the effeminate stereotypes of "Brainy Girl," "Flirty Girl" and "Party Girl." The actor delivering the voiceovers sounds an awful lot like comedian Nick Offerman, aka Ron Swanson of Parks and Recreation. (If it's not him, it's clearly intended to mimic his pacing and style.) And while the new creative is still pretty insulting to women, it's made up of amusing slices of life grounded in credible scenarios instead of abject soft-core based on teenage fantasies—marking another baby step towards the 21st century.

As for any Neanderthals having trouble stomaching the power shift, you can always just douse yourself in body spray.

Client: Axe
Global Brand Director, Axe Skin: Giovanni Valentini
Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty, London
Copywriters: David Kolbusz, Simon Pearse, Dan Morris
Art Directors: Emmanuel Saint M'Leux, Charlene Chandrasekaran, Rob Ellis
Creative Director: David Kolbusz
Producer: Rachel Hough
Team Director: Nic Manser
Strategy Director: Tim Jones
Strategic Business Leads: Richard Lawson, Keir Mather
Head of Strategy: Jonathan Bottomley
Production Company: Biscuit Filmworks UK
Director: Tim Godsall
Executive Producer: Orlando Wood
Producer: Rick Jarjoura
Director of Photography:  Stephen Keith-Roach   
Postproduction: Framestore
Editing: Work Post
Sound: Factory Studios