Thursday, September 30, 2010

Sweet Smell of Advertising Shifts

A few years back, I distinctly remember being disgusted by a series of advertisements, a series that has only continued to bother me more as time has marched onward. Axe brand (which is owned and produced by Unilever) deodorant, shampoos, soaps and hair care products are targeted to a specific group, young adult males. I proudly count myself amongst this number.

Apparently, there are but three functions of the young adult male's mind, women, sleeping, and women. Beyond such transcendent concerns no attention can be spared. This theme has been the driving force of the marketing campaigns of Axe products for years now, as any interested viewer of any television programming can attest. Advertising is designed to sell products by fostering a desire for it in the individuals who create the marketplace.

Axe does this well by equating an exponential growth in the number of beautiful and flirtatious women in a man's vicinity to a linear growth in the amount of Axe product said man is wearing.

Effective? Yes. Amble through the men's personal hygiene portion of Wal-Mart to see how dominate this brand has become in a short period of time. The maxim of Sex Sells rings ever more true.

(One cool thing to do with Axe: Spray it all over your hand and then light it on fire on a dark night. Or don't, actually. But if you do, extinguish it quickly. If you are showing this post to your mother, redact this portion.)

Regardless of how offensive I have found Axe's marketing to be, both to my intelligence, the wits of women, and a moral society, it has never occurred to me to demand censorship of this content. Free content over muddled-yet-open airways are paid for by advertisers and Axe is but one of many. Their strategy is not particularly unique, just well executed.

Look! Over the horizon! A man upon a noble steed rides over the hills into battle. Armed with but a town and a bottle of Old Spice, he enters the young adult male marketing fray. Starting with the Superbowl, Old Spice began a blisteringly brilliant campaign with technically astounding film work, Voltaire's wit, and the idea that guys should 'Smell like a man, Man!'.

Separating itself from the competition by telling men their focus is not exclusively on women, old spice has helped make it right to be a man again.

These thoughts all came to me when I was brushing my teeth this morning, and I realized my younger brother had, within the past few months, switched from Axe products to Old Spice.

In other news, I don't use any of the described products myself, and will be earning absolutely no money from this post. Again.


Sra. Madera said...

Old Spice is Old Faithful. My father always used it. As for Sex Sells, yes it does to the numbed brains of young men who for the general population appear to focus on women, video games, women and more video games.
My sons have always been above the norm and wise in their choices. And as usual making wise observations about the culture surrounding them.

Palm boy said...

You must have some stellar children