Malaysian Media Awards Winners Showcase

2011 | |

How Does AXE Maintain Its Sex Appeal without Offending the Conservatives

Advertiser: Unilever
Brand: Axe
Creative Agency: Lowe & Partners
Credits: Desmond Kiu (Head of Digital), Edmund Wong (Head of Mobile & Technology), Cheng Lin Nah/Looi Yew Mun (Manager), Suveea Jinadasa (Senior Executive), Audrey Ooi/Sia Yoke Teng/Allen Phang (Executive)

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Axe, known globally, is a late entrant into the competitive deodorant category. It had to appeal to young but conservative Malay males, without using its overtly-suggestive global communication. Global brand managers said : No “sex-y” image = No Axe. Can Axe be a success in Malaysia?

Young males always have one thing on their mind – Girls! They try all methods to attract them but lack confidence. Getting girls’ phone numbers is considered by Malaysian men as most difficult. Axe established an emotional connection by telling them Axe could make them smell so irresistible that girls would not control themselves from giving their numbers. Communication focus on “getting the number” helped Axe remain within the boundaries of societal permissiveness.

We swamped the market with a range of activities centered on customized local number “010-2253344” Guerilla activities saw sexy “Axe Girls” handing out their “number” at FIFA WC events and “Car Washes”. “Confession” videos popped up on Facebook featuring girls guiltily handing out their numbers. Sensuous-sounding girls invited callers, through IVR-menu, to the Axe Launch Party, which saw 1000+ turnout. TV helped amplification through “Breaking News” segment about Axe Effect sweeping through the nation.

Resounding Success!!! Axe achieves year-end share target by August, became 3rd largest in category Two-third Malaysian males aware of Axe in launch month Built image on “Makes you feel attractive to others”. Most fans on FB page (over 100,000) amongst Malay male-targeted brands, more than heritage brands like Adidas!