Unilever Extends Axe Lineup, Launches Integrated Support
Axe was introduced to the U.S. market in 2002. The company says it became the leading male brand in the anti-perspirant/deodorant category and that, per ACNielsen, it grabbed a 17.8% share in the final quarter last year and outsold its nearest body spray competitor by 76%.
The marquee, which is aimed at 18-24 year olds, launched Axe Shower Gels in 2005 and AxeLab eau de toilette in 2006. The eight new body spray fragrances include scents with names like Clix, Essence, Kilo, Tsunami, and Orion. They are available at a suggested retail price of $4.99 in food, drug and mass retail outlets nationwide beginning this month.
A Unilever spokesperson said the marketing effort involves several levels. He said a series of TV commercials, via BBH, New York, shows women in different parts of the world going through their daily routines when they suddenly smell a man wearing the improved Axe body sprays. Once they smell the fragrance, they can't control themselves and feel compelled to blurt out "Bom Chicka Wah Wah." Print ads say, "We've improved all the fragrances. Now with added 'Bom Chicka Wah Wah'."
He said the TV spots for the new effort began airing earlier this week. The effort also includes theAxeeffect.com, which features music and videos from an all-girl band called "Bom Chicka Wah Wah," organized for the campaign.
Sixty-foot-tall, inflatable Axe body spray cans will be placed for a couple of weeks each in Chicago, Los Angeles and Baltimore over the coming weeks. The cans have, at their bases, transparent walls, and "moonwalk" style inflatable trampolines within. So-called "Axe Angels," bevies of attractive women, will jump about inside the inflatables as an evocation of the "Bom Chicka Wah Wah" effect, per the spokesperson.
The company will also run sampling and online projects nationwide. The spokesperson said Axe runs yearly campaigns. "The target is young so the brand has to reinvent itself. We want to continuously be fresh. Every year the brand introduces variants." The new can is sleeker, with a twist-down top over the applicator.
Unilever's advertising for Axe, which has featured ads -- such as photos of a couch with shock absorbers -- tends toward the risqué. "It's really about how Axe helps guys get the girl. We want it to be funny engaging and humorous," he said.