AXE, launched in France in 1983 by Unilever, is a brand of male grooming products including deodorants, anti-perspirants, body sprays, shower gels, and hair products. After success in Europe, Latin America and other parts of the world, AXE was introduced in the U.S. in 2002. In 2004, AXE came out with a line of anti-perspirant and deodorant sticks. Following in 2005, a line of shower gels were created. Then in 2009, hair products came out. And in 2010, AXE became the global leader in men’s grooming. AXE gives guys confidence when it comes to getting the girl. In addition to a leading men’s grooming line, AXE is also a lifestyle brand that reaches guys unexpectedly through unique experiences where they live, work and play.
AXE is consistently targeted to 18-25 year old males distributed in more than 40 countries. Specifically, AXE’s target audience is straight white men in the age 18-25. We cannot see people of color are featured or prominent in AXE’s ads. And all the men in the ads only want to attract women.
The AXE Effect, one of the most famous campaigns in the world, has been launched for 15 years. This effect is supposed to draw women in hordes to any male who has sprayed himself with the AXE deodorant. The campaign uses several persuasion techniques to better engage their target audience.
- Humor – the situation is outlandish and funny
- Sexual – if you use AXE you will get gorgeous women
- Fear – if you can’t keep your cool, you are not manly enough
- Emotional – don’t let your perfect girl get away
Fear No Susan Glenn
AXE produced several ads that portraying women as annoying, clingy and airheaded for its shower gels in 2012. The campaigns show how a man can stay at his best to keep up with his competitive sporty, tireless partying, or a high maintenance girlfriend. It promises that washing with AXE shower gels will enable him to endure whatever trails he encounters to keep his lady happy.
High Maintenance Girlfriend
Tireless Party Girlfriend
- Flirty Girlfriend
- Brainy Girlfriend
- Sporty Girlfriend
AXE’s main competitors include Old Spice, Gillette, Suave for Men, Dove Men’s Care, Irish Spring, and Dial. All of these brands initially wanted to keep men smelling food and feeling fresh. They do not position themselves in a way that can stand out from the competition.
– The AXE campaign sets the brand apart by focusing on the insight that young men are more concerned with women than personal hygiene. Therefore, they mainly focus on sexual appeal in their campaigns.
– There is no way that young men use the shower with a fluffy and colorful loofa and the only way men go to buy shower get is if they have something masculine to use to apply it. Therefore, AXE came up with shower gel and the manly shower tool.
Current Positioning Statement
To the straight white men in age from 18 to 25, who portray normal yet cool, trendy and confident, AXE is a leader brand in male grooming products that provides cool, adventurous and designed to help them look, smell, feel their best, and to keep them a step ahead in the dating game.
Recommendations on Positioning
- Try to make the campaigns not be offensive to women
Many of the AXE’s ads and commercials have the potential to anger women. They may be angry because many ads and commercial portray women as things to be played with or stereotyped annoying airheads (E.g. annoying girlfriend campaign). Even though the AXE’s target audience is male, women are a big part of product buyers and decision makers. Many women choose the personal care products for their boyfriends or husbands. At the same time that AXE shoots for humor or sexual, they should also consider that they might alienate a good part of their consumers.
- Extend the range of target audience to women and homosexual males
Since women have a big influence on decision-making process for AXE, they should be involved in the target audience. In addition, the world is currently more gay-friendly than 20 years ago. Gay community serves as a remarkable part in male market, which is rarely considered by any other competitors. Thus, AXE should take homosexual males into consideration when they are positioning themselves. Instead of specifically catering to the “macho” man and the assumption that he only likes women, AXE should come up some ideas that can fit in homosexual males market, a huge potential market.