Southampton Gets the Axe

There's a new Hamptons venue you'll want to add to the list of places to stay miles away from this summer. Actually, it's not new. It Dune in Southampton, which is sporting a new name this season—"The Axe Lounge"—as part of a silly marketing scheme concocted by, yes, Axe. The stunt is the brainchild of Mike Heller, the nightlife promoter-turned-entertainment marketer whose stellar resume includes putting a smoke-free tobacco product called Ariva in the hands of Lindsay Lohan and connecting America's Next Top Model's CariDee English with Raptiva, which is apparently a psoriasis medication of some sort. (He's the one crouching down in the photo, by the way.)

So what will you find if someone slips a drug into your drink, your judgment is suddenly impaired, and you find yourself in what promises to be a sea of manly aroma and hair gel? Lots of Axe-related junk, basically:

There will be Axe branding on the D.J. booth, menu and valet tickets; an Axe-themed drink; and Axe products in the men's and women's bathrooms (though whether women will yearn for Axe aftershave after washing their hands remains to be seen).

But a place that spends tens of thousands of dollars every summer cleaning up vomit brings with it some potential pitfalls, such as "mishaps that could include drunken driving or under-age patrons." (We imagine it's for this reason that Axe bumper stickers are not on the above list.)

And then there's the matter of Axe's target market, which may make a stunt like this better suited to sad place on the Jersey Shore populated by men who went to high school with Ashley Dupre:

A challenge the club might face is attracting patrons. Axe's target market is 21-year-old men, many of whom are having a difficult time finding jobs, much less financing summer houses in the Hamptons.

True! But it looks like the marketing plan is already going off the rails given the way Heller describes the partnership:

"It's a marquee title sponsorship, almost like you would see at a stadium like Citi Field," Mr. Heller said.

Oh, yes, and that worked out beautifully, didn't it? Although if Citi Field is the model, that means Axe will be close to bankruptcy by the end of the summer, and you can't complain about that, can you?

Axe Body Products Puts Its Brand on the Hamptons Club Scene [NYT]
Call It Citi/Taxpayer Field, Two Councilmen Say [NYT]
Photo: Rob Rich