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Derek Blanton Project One: The Sex effect

Page history last edited by Derek Blanton 12 years, 5 months ago

Project 1: Final




Web Page: http://www.theaxeeffect.com/#/axe-campaigns/get-clean-to-get-dirty


Sex sells. That has been a popular practice for many forms of entertainment as well as selling tactics since the beginning of advertising, but as of the 21st century, the old adage seems to apply for everything you can possible imagine, from games, movies, food, toys, and even care products. One company, Unilever United States, Inc, or better known as the creators of the popular male care brand "AXE" uses this strategy to the furthest extent possible. Every one of there adverts uses the theme of sex to sell their products to a demographic of 14 to 25 year old males, whether its used in a subtle way, or a blatantly obvious fashion. In a way, it starts to seem as if AXE is trying to sell the ideal that if you purchase their products, you can have more or better sex, you will be more sexually desirable, women will attack one another to be near you, or you'll just feel sexier.


Axe wants to gain a wider consumer audience, and uses the facade of sex and the ideal of male supremacy to do so. The effect that these advertisements have on its audience its profound. According to USA TODAY, by using sexual appeal as their guiding force, Axe body sprays sales increased from 14% in over a year, while their other grooming products (liquid soaps, shampoos, hair gels) have increased by 36%. These statistics show that as long as you can promise an ideal, or at the very least oversexualize a product, consumers will buy it. Depicting men getting sexually assaulted by women in a comic way after they use an AXE product boost the sales for the products, especially in younger men. What guy on earth would not want to get accosted by hundreds of women? Thats why these adverts are targeted at a younger male audience, so that these themes seem acceptable.


These sexual tactics are used in plenty of other succesful ad campaigns, from old spice, to tag, and even the infamously famous Calvin Klein fragrances (Which are also partnered with Unilever). With their ever increasing sells, Unilever continues to become more and more brazen with their approach to the point that the ideals they are selling aren't even coming off as humorous any more, its beginning to come off as strictly sexist bullshit. Their campaigns so subjective that some may find that it sometimes may linger on the lines of sexism to both males and females. Axe commercials seem to show men as unattractive to the opposite sex before using there product, and makes them seem unnecesarily dominant over females once they do. Women are degraded in a way that makes them appear weak minded or helpless without a man doused in axe fragrances, but cover it up well by adding an amusing theme to the advert so as to get audiences to laugh even if they may see it as offensive at first. While overall meant to amuse audiences the ads can still be overly offensive.




What makes Unilever stand out even more is the fact that it has another campaign for DOVE called "Real Beauty" that is meant to promote self acceptence of all women and their body types, which is ironic as the AXE campaigns usually demean the value of women and depict them all as sex symbols with abnormally perfect features. These are two campaigns from one parent company, yet they are on completely opposite sides of the ethical spectrum. With this in mind, wouldn't one start to see Unilever as hypocritical? Are they even being sincere with the "Real Beauty" campaigns? It looks as if Unilever is trying to appease all sides by targeting sex crazed young males and young women who are unsure of their bodies or themselves, but ultimately falls short in the process. They are attempting to appease different markets, but in the end only seems to anger or confuse most. When it all comes down to it, maybe Unilever should try a campaign that can appeal to all audiences at once without offending anyone. Even if they made an AXE commercial with no sexism, that would even be a step forward.


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