Axe Apollo

The “Axe” line of body wash and other male products has built a brand that has become synonymous with manliness.  They started and continue to create advertisements aimed at young adult and teenage males looking to portray that manliness and get the girl.  The commercial begins with a view of several very good looking women cheering for their team in the last seconds of a game.  After that the commercial cuts to one of the most dramatic endings in NCAA Men’s Basketball history, a winning shot by Bryce Drew at the buzzer.  Yet when the fans and cheerleaders rush the court they converge on an astronaut that smells of the new Apollo fragrance developed by “Axe”. This specific commercial combines two things that our culture believes makes a successful man, a high intelligence in sports as well as the ability to get the girl.  The use of sport as well as feminine sex appeal shows the ultimate victory for a man in our society.  This is not the only commercial by “Axe” that shows a correlation between people who use their products and their success in attracting very beautiful women.  The campaign’s over their entire existence has capitalized in creating and showing the young man wearing “Axe” somehow attracting a young woman he would not normally be seen with.

This advertisement and the campaign by “Axe” as a whole can be seen as propaganda for many reasons.  As the Randall Marlin chapter eventually defines it, propaganda is “the organized attempt through communication to affect belief or action or inculcate attitudes in a large audience in ways that circumvent or suppress and individual’s adequately informed, rational, reflective judgment.”  Dealing with the audience of young males, who often feel like their only purpose at that current time is to find a girl, it is particularly easy for “Axe” to get around rational thought.  The campaign is centered on young males winning over women because of the way they smell.  In particular the Apollo campaign is centered on them winning the ladies over other males who would usually be the ones winning over the lady because of more rational reasons.  These Apollo commercials can be determined as propaganda because they are trying, and ultimately succeeding if you look at sales numbers, to prove that the way you smell with their products will be so attractive to women that they will leave other highly qualified suitors for them.  In an individual’s “adequately informed, rational and reflective judgment the women should be attracted to the basketball players who overcame the impossible to win the sporting contest.  Or in another Axe Apollo commercial, the women should be more attracted to the good looking man who heroically saved her from a burning building.  Yet for no reason other than the “Axe” product, the women are most attracted to the regular Joe in the stands or walking down the street.

The Marlin article also deals with certain companies create a branding process, “which tries to associate the product with a lifestyle or world view, so that the buyer is buying an identity along with the product.”   “Axe” as a whole has created a brand that is synonymous with manhood as stated before.  Every advertisement created by the company used sex appeal to sell to young males.  It made the average male into a magnet for attractive women.  The brand is now thought of as a way to make young males more attractive, they are buying the identity of a man that will attract women and the identity of a perfect man.  There may be a correlation between smelling good and the ability for a man to attract a women, yet there is no rational evidence that a certain kind of body wash will do it as effectively as they portray it.  Yet, young males buy all of their products for that particular reason and “Axe” sales can prove the effectiveness of its branding and campaigns.

This campaign is very effective because of its ration of act: agent in Burke’s Pentad.  The act in every single commercial from the “Axe” product shows that the young man using the product will end up with a very attractive girl showing great interest in him, most often multiple attractive women.  This age group is especially vulnerable to this type of advertising because of the hormones in their developing body as well as societal pressure to date the most attractive girl as possible.  The societal pressures to look as much like a “man” as possible means getting the best looking girl and “Axe” shows that using their product will get you one that will make your friends jealous.  Going along with that same viewpoint of societal pressure and hormones the agent or agents are just as persuasive.  The girls who look like should be dating the captain of the football team within their commercials turn every teenage to young man’s head.  They only use women who are the definition beauty within our culture and dress them in clothes that are very tight and show a lot of skin.  The sex appeal of the women used in the commercials makes every guy jealous of the guy on the commercial.  The sex appeal, jealousy, societal pressure and hormones of their target audience make this Apollo commercial and the entire “Axe” campaign persuasive.

JW Kieckhefer

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