Why Axe's 'Headless Breasts' Ad is Strategically Sound


While some have said the new BBH-created Axe work - a departure from the agency's brilliant Keifer Sutherland/Susan Glenn spot - is a sad return to the brand's roots where mostly women and sometimes men are reduced to playthings, toys for the horny male middle school mindset.

We say smart move. All the brand has done, and always has done, is celebrate the carnal desire that is ever present between man and woman. It's an innately human desire. It's a fact of life. And no amount of pious, politically correct sugar coating is going to diminish the fact that men and women are, forever, sexual beings that, yes, are sometime vile, vulgar and animalistic in their dealings with one another.

This latest ad, which reduces a man to a head of hair and woman to a pair of breasts, seeks to humorously highlight and poignantly perpetuate what's really important when it comes to first contact. And, yes, it is, indeed, all about looks at first.

Looks, for the most part, are all we have to go on when we first notice someone. And all Axe is trying to do here - all it can do - is help make you look your best when you first approach the object of your desire. And, yes, that person is just an object at that point. You haven't spoken. You haven't exchanged pleasantries. You haven't even heard the other person's voice. For all you know the person could turn out to be an idiot.

But that isn't Axe's problem. Axe's job is to get two people close enough so they can then discover whether or not there is a meaningful and sustainable attraction. That's all the brand can do. That's all the brand promises it can do.

Axe doesn't hide the fact humans are naturally attracted to one another and crave connection. At first, this attraction might be purely sexual. But as we all know, sex is but just one small part of a deep and intimate relationship. A meaningful, lasting relationship goes far beyond basic, innate sexual attraction. But we have to start somewhere. And, lacking in-depth data on the person we've just met, sexual attraction is about all we have to go on. Axe knows this. And is leveraging it beautifully.

Hair. It's what a girl sees first.

by Steve Hall    Aug-21-12   Click to Comment   
Topic: Brands, Campaigns, Creative Commentary, Opinion