Lies Well Disguised: The Axe Effect

94 years ago, liar H.K. McCann launched his NYC ad agency with the slogan "Truth Well Told." That was a big fat lie. Advertising copywriter Copyranter brings you instances of advertising lies and the lying liars who sell them.

Four years after launching in the U.S., Axe now outsells the next three men's fragrances combined (Old Spice, Stetson, and aging ad-guy fave Drakkar Noir). From the get-go, the Unilever brand directly targeted the 18-24 year old mook demo with a specious, subtle-as-an-axe ad message: apply Axe to your bods and beautiful women will instantly suck and fuck each and every one of your body parts.

This week, tens of thousands of bodysprayed college lads smelling like Voodoo or possibly a Tsunami, begin arriving in Mexico and Florida for Spring Break(!). And virtually every one of them truly believes he is going to get his constantly-throbbing, aromatic peenie wet. Wonder what beer fart mixed with Voodoo smells like?

Other Advertising, a supplement to the March issue of AdWeek, features what is basically an advertorial stroke job for Axe and its guerrilla marketing, including Spring Break(!) materials.

"A lot of times, [Axe's] programs don't have traditional elements at all," said William Gelner, group creative director (not invited to last month's roundtable) at the New York office of London agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty. "It's about pathways to communicate with the consumer." Pathways such as Spring Break(!) which Gelner says is"rife with brandalism [new marketing buzz word alert!]."

Brandalism like "Rules Of Engagement" hotel door wraps and Axe Effect nightclub hand stamps.

Lies Well Disguised: The Axe Effect

Of course, the Axe marketing folk tell the media it's all tongue-in-cheek, not serious, girls are in the joke, blah blah etc. Sure sure. "Spray more, get more" doesn't promise a thing. But who cares? You absolute fucking geniuses overwhelmed the competition by convincing a generation of alpha males that girlie-spraying their entire bodies with perfume is manly. Hai Karate bows to you.

Earlier: The Creative Directors