How Axe reinvented itself in order to appeal to the modern man
The so-called Axe Effect marketing strategy, devised by agency BBH in the mid-90s, propelled the Unilever personal care brand to become the number one men’s fragrance in the world but by 2009 growth and equity were falling.
A key insight was that advances in female empowerment had significantly altered the ‘mating game’. ‘It used to be about conquest,’ said Rik Strubel, global VP for Axe. ‘Now it’s about connection. We understood that something was out of touch that we needed to address.’
Recognising that its messaging was out of step with how real men were feeling, Axe radically overhauled its communications and Find Your Magic was born. The message was no longer ‘it’s in the can’ but rather ‘it’s in you’.
Axe introduced its new positioning as a 60-second film in January 2016 and then followed up by airing a 30-second version in the most testosterone-infused context imaginable: the 2016 Super Bowl. Amid commercials for beer and razors, Axe unleashed a rallying cry for guys to find their own personal unique selling proposition.
RESULTS / According to the brand, the campaign has improved sales, moved purchase consideration by 25% and increased overall positive sentiment from around 15% to 41%. The film has been viewed more than 39 million times online and the campaign has garnered more than 4 billion media impressions.