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Axe and its… sexist advertising?

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Jan
15,
2009
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Is this spot sexist or does it really denigrate women?

Perchero

Full Credits

Agency: Vegaolmosponce

Advertiser: Unilever

Product: desodorante

Brand: Axe

Sector: Perfumería, cosmética e higiene

Piece: Spot Tv 20″

Title: “Perchero”

Yes? No? In 2003 this campaign titled “Show them the way” was reported 153 times becoming the most reported campaign of the year.

Since several years brand Axe, which belongs to Unilever, stands out for its controversial adverts.

The General Association of Consumers (ASGECO) made a formal complaint against this campaign as denigrating woman. In this case the association also reported the ridiculous and stereotyped role of men.

It’s not the first time when campaigns of Axe are being reported. Throughout past years almost every Axe ad campaign have been criticized and reported.

In 2004, according to Sexist Advertising Observatory, “Show them the way” campaign continued being reported (also that year it become the most reported campaign).

In 2007, Radio and Television Discrimination Observatory (read the report) chose the Axe Spot “Church” the most representative example of use of the negative women stereotypes in spots.

Church

Full Credits

Brand: AXE

Product: Jabón

Agency: Properú

Company: Unilever

According to the observatory, women’s desire to get married and lack of this will among men are two stereotypes shown in the spot that reassert the inequality between women and men and the devaluation of female features.

In India, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting banned the “Chocolate” because it was “indecent and vulgar”.

Chocolate

Full Credits

Brand: AXE

Product: Desodorante

Agency: Lowe

Company: Unilever

Different women’s associations have reported Lynx (the variant of Axe in those countries) campaigns launched in New Zeland and England. In these cases, the reason was ¨the usage of stereotypes that denigrate women¨.

However, not everything around Axe is negative. In 2006 the brand won Gran Effie in Argentine for the creative effectiveness. It also got the gold award for the spot “Shower”.

Full Credits

Agency: Vegaolmosponce

Advertiser: Unilever

Product: Desodorante

Brand: Axe

Sector: Perfumería, cosmética e higiene

Piece: Spot TV 20″

The following year, Axe won the Big Award for integration at Cannes Festival for its “Choque” campaign.

Full Credits

Agency: Vegaolmosponce

Advertiser: Unilever

Product: Desodorante

Brand: Axe

Sector: Perfumería, cosmética e higiene

Piece: Spot TV 20″

Title: “Choques”

The Graphics designers were the followings:

.

This campaign caused 10% of the brand consumption increase.

In 2007, Argentinean Planning Association held the Creative Approach Awards and Axe won the Gran Prix.

Other campaigns of the brand were also highly controversial: Click, Metamorphosis, Academias Axe o Bom Chicka Wah Wah.

The last news referring to the brand says that the famous Axe Effect is real.

Real or not, it is obvious that Axe managed to distinguish itself from the competition. For some people its manners are not very orthodox, others find spots funny.

In reality, what we might criticize, are the graphic ads of “Choque” only, because there indeed women are represented as a sexual object.

Apart from that, the rest of campaigns play the normal game of seduction between women and men, and this is why the product is attractive.

Both men and women, especially the youth, like to play ¨the cat and mouse¨ and Axe shows this aspect from the point of view of its target: men. From this point of view, young men wish to have a good time with beautiful women. Axe exaggerates this game to make it funny and eye-catching.

In fact, we don’t really think the Axe campaigns depreciate women image. We believe that in many cases the men are the ones who are being denigrated.

Despite this, in our opinion, we should watch these campaigns as a parody of a seduction game and not as a sexist usage of the men and women image.

Source: MarketingNews, AdAge, ABC, Infobaeprofesional, Anuncios.com

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