Axe Gets Pumped for Mondays and Wednesdays in Flashy Ads From BBH

Can they get guys to try harder during the week?

IDEA: Thank God it's Wednesday? Unless you're the Geico camel, you've never uttered those words. And Monday's even worse, particularly if you're not that into football.

But Axe wants to redeem those two unheralded days of the week—all weekdays, in fact—to sell more fragrance products.

"The issue was that guys were using an expensive fragrance for the weekend only, and a plain antiperspirant during the week," said Wesley Hawes, creative director at BBH London.

The solution? Make weekdays seem like weekends, which BBH does in two high-energy Axe spots that challenge guys, manifesto-style, not to let a little work get in the way of their play.

COPYWRITING: With a budget for two spots, the agency picked Monday because it's the least appealing day of the week, and Wednesday because it's hump day.

At first, the creatives tried writing out full plots for Monday- and Wednesday-themed ads. "That crashed and burned," said copywriter Dan Morris. They went back and focused only on voiceover copy that would "make people sit up and pay attention. What exactly we would be seeing on screen had to wait until we got a set of words that made even us cynical advertising folks start to look forward to Monday … a bit."

The copy, indeed, is rousing. "You get over 4,000 Mondays in your life. Don't waste them!" says the narrator in the first ad. "Nobody bothers on a Monday. Nobody cares. You should care! CARE! Monday's your weapon. Fire it! Feel it pulsing through your veins!"

The plots are loose, playful and surreal. The Monday spot takes place mostly in an office, the Wednesday ad during a commute and at a party. Both position the protagonist as superstar with overlaid graphics, heroic sound effects and cutaways to fantasy metaphors where he's a boxer or a rugby player.

"Don't save your best for the weekend!" shouts the narrator near the end. The ads close with a product shot and the on-screen line: "Fine fragrances for every day."

ART DIRECTION/FILMING: Riff Raff directors Jonas & François shot the ads in Argentina over three days and two nights.

"We approached the art direction more like a music video," said art director Carl Broadhurst. "If a visual idea made everyone say 'Whoa! That would be so cool,' then it went in." (Visual flourishes include the first hero shooting lasers and having his "I Hate Mondays" coffee cup explode, and the second planting a giant Wednesday flag on top of a mountain.)

"It was a production and a half," said Broadhurst. "Preparation was the key, meticulous animatics and continuously evolving style boards."

TALENT: How did they find the two heroes? "In a word, France," said creative director Gary McCreadie. "The French casting was amazing for this. We needed likable guys who were also kind of aspirational. Axe as a brand is progressing, so both guys needed a bit of swagger without losing their charm, which is very hard to find."

SOUND: "We wanted both spots to have energy, like you were getting a kick up the ass to start caring and making an effort," said Hawes.

Pulsating music helped, but so did the sound design by Strings and Tins.

"With a brilliantly rich sound bed, each scene began to come to life and jump out of the screen," Hawes said. "The video game scene in 'Monday' is my favorite, and the sound design does a great job of making you feel what's going on inside our guy's mind."

MEDIA: Online worldwide, and on TV beginning in Latin America, Australia and New Zealand.

THE SPOTS:

CREDITS
Client: Axe
Global Vice President: Tomy Marcenaro
Global Brand Director: Fer Desouches
Global Brand Manager: Paula Marconi
Agency: BBH London
Creative Team: Peter Reid, Carl Broadhurst, Charlene Chandrasekaran, Dan Morris
Creative Director: Gary McCreadie, Wesley Hawes
Deputy ECD: David Kolbusz
Team Manager:  Dan Gearing
Team Director: Krista Nelson
Strategy Director: Agathe Guerrier
Strategist: Tom Callard
Producer: Chris Watling
Assistant Producer: Vaia Ikonomou
Production Company: Riff Raff
Directors: Jonas and Francois
Executive Producer: Matthew Fone
Producer: Jane Tredget
DoP: Alex Barber
Post Production: Electric Theatre Collective
Editor/Editing House: Patric Ryan / Marshall Street Editors
Sound Design and Mix: Will Cohen / String and Tins
Music Supervision: Big Sync Music
"Monday" Music: Birdy Nam Nam "Defiant Order"
"Wednesday" Music: Smokey Robotic "Lady's Scream"