Axe, the brand that wants to make all men everywhere completely, utterly, irresistibly f*ckable, has cleaned up its act.
Gone are the days of spraying Axe and having women’s shirts fly off, or having buxom models throw themselves at you in a stampede of passion — this week Axe, which you might be surprised to learn is 30 years old, rebranded itself with a new ad campaign that encourages guys to “find their magic.”
“Who needs a six pack, when you’ve got the nose,” the commercial asks, rotating through a group of guys with distinct features: full beard, big nose, good dance moves, high heels.
That’s right — new Axe wants to highlight all that makes the individual special: high heels, affection for kittens. It’s a far leap from its earlier reputation as the secret potion for finding naked women.
Matthew McCarthy, senior director for Axe and men’s grooming at Unilever, told The Huffington Post that the move was a reaction to a larger cultural shift.
“In the past, a guy’s self-confidence was determined a lot by whether or not girls found him attractive,” he said. Now, “guys certainly want to be attractive but they want to feel attractive … how they get there is changing.”
Guys no longer want to be defined by society’s idea of masculinity, he said, and the new campaign, designed by the agency 72andSunny Amsterdam, focuses on finding your confidence in whatever makes you unique.
“Guys today are basically calling bullshit on many of the outdated stereotypes and archetypes of masculinity, which are linked to feeling confident and feeling attractive. Now they’re saying, ‘I want to decide how I’m going to express my masculinity.'”
Axe’s rebranding coincides with the launch of a new line of pomades, hair gel, antiperspirants and deodorants, called the Axe Advanced Collection, which is available in most drug and grocery stores in North America.
“The campaign isn’t about, ‘Hey guys, have more confidence,'” McCarthy said. “It’s about your individuality and what makes you special. That’s what matters. Go work on it. Find your magic.”