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Axe Anarchy: advertising, digital or experience campaign?

Unilever is launching a new fragrance of Axe and its for women. Yes, the brand pitched squarely at men and promising to transform all men into ‘chic magnets’ is now introducing Anarchy – a fragrance for ‘him and her’. The launch involves, not just conventional advertising but a graphic novel whose plot can be shaped by consumer contributions. That in itself was interesting. But the execution takes it to another level.

The campaign includes not just plot suggestions from readers but even transforming contributors as characters.

Barak Obama and Angela Merkel together in a summit to save the World Economy, and then … anarchy!

I want to see Anarchy break out in a zoo. What effects does it have on animals?

I thought this in a way represents what the new advertising is all about – where the lines between digital, advertising, ‘brand experience’ and content get blurred. The team includes BBH, Razorfish, Aspen Comics among others – all coming together to produce a seamless campaign.

As an aside, there was some debate in 2007 about the inherent ‘hypocrisy’ in Unilever running both the Dove and Axe ads. Dove was seen to be promote healthy self-images for women while Axe was seen as ‘sexist and degrading’. I wonder if the end consumer even sees them as coming from the same company. And the target audience for Axe – adolescent young men and that of Dove – young and mature women do not overlap at all. Nevertheless, each brand must do what is right given its set of marketing & business objectives, which in any case are dynamic and fluid.

Do comment in with your views.


Ex-ad man. Love advertising, Apple, tech, digital, design and all things creative. VP - MarCom, @Robosoft. Views personal. See disclaimer for more.