Ad of the Day: Axe Helps a Guy Get the Girl He’s Been Chasing for All of Human History

He smells better now

Headshot of Emma Bazilian

Axe is growing up. Well, sort of.

In an attempt to shed its image as the preferred scent of horny, pubescent boys, the Unilever brand has been moving away from its time-honored (and not-so-subtly sexist) "Axe will get you laid" messaging in favor of a more mature approach, which pretty much translates to "Axe will get you laid, but tastefully!"

The "new" Axe was introduced to American audiences in the "Make love. Not war" Super Bowl spot. Now, to coincide with the relaunch of the Axe product line (which includes a "revolutionary new can, packaging design and upgraded fragrance quality," per its makers), BBH London is rolling out a new campaign across Europe.

Titled "Soulmates," a 90-second spot tells the story of a man's ill-fated pursuit of a woman throughout human history. It begins in the prehistoric era, where a young man (who bears an awfully striking resemblance to Game of Thrones' Jon Snow in full North of the Wall apparel) attempts to catch the attention of a pretty girl, only to be torn away from her by a rogue iceberg. (Love, it seems, is so not easy, a caveman can't do it.)

The story repeats itself over and over—his advances are variously thwarted by the eruption of Pompeii, the sinking of the Titanic and police at a Vietnam war protest. But finally, at a modern-day gas-station convenience store, our protagonist douses himself in Axe and—poof!—his "soulmate" appears.

Better yet, when the gas station inevitably explodes, the pair are already strolling away, arm in arm. "Don't rely on fate," says the on-screen copy. Thanks, Axe!

So, apart from that nice little cover of Harry Nilsson's "One," what makes this warmer and fuzzier than your average Axe ad? As the company explains, "While Axe continues to help men succeed in the game of attraction, the new campaign adopts a more progressive take on the story by reflecting a more thoughtful and romantic view of the relationships between a guy and a girl."

In other words, less cleavage.


Client: Axe

Global Vice President: Tomas Marcenaro

Global Brand Director: Fernando Desouches

Senior Global Brand Development Manager: Jeronimo Cadenas

Global Brand Manager: Michal Berski

Agency: BBH, London

Deputy Executive Creative Director: David Kolbusz

Creative Directors: Gary McCreadie, Wesley Hawes

Creative Team: Matt Fitch, Mark Lewis,

Interactive Art Director: Vinny Olimpio

Strategic Business Lead: Ngaio Pardon

Team Director: Heather Cuss

Team Manager: Amy Forster

Strategy Directors: Agathe Guerrier, Tim Jones

Strategist: Shadi Sarreshtehdarzadeh

Film Credits:

BBH Producer: Chris Watling

BBH Assistant Producer: Vaia Ikonomou

Production Company: Biscuit U.K.

Director: Tim Godsall

Executive Producer: Orlando Wood

Producer: Rick Jarjoura

Director of Photography: Tim Hudson

Postproduction: Electric Theatre Collective

Editing: Rick Russell, Final Cut

Sound Design, Mix: Raja Sehgal, Grand Central Recording Studios

Additional Track Laying, Sound Design: Miles Kempton, Grand Central Recording Studios

Music Supervision: The Most Radicalist Black Sheep Music; Leland Music

Music Production: Leland Music

Print Credits:

BBH Producer:  Sally Green

Creative Directors: Gary McCreadie, Wesley Hawes

BBH Interactive Art Director: Vinny Olimpio

Computer Graphics: Richard Green, Wellcom

@adweekemma Emma Bazilian is Adweek's features editor.