Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Know Your Audience: Axe vs. Bod

First things first: I have a brand new shot up at FMPhoto. Check it out.

Advertisers need to know their audience. Some do, some don't. One that stands out in my mind is Hallmark. They know that their target audience totally buys in to the bullshit contained in their commercials. Did you ever see the one, during the Christmas season, where a whole family is standing around some stupid singing doll and having a jolly good time singing along with it? Yeah, that never happens, but I know people who think it would. And the women in their commercials are always quietly dignified, standing aloof from their world. This is, of course, the exact opposite of the kind of person who shops there often, but they would all like to think of themselves that way.

In short, Hallmark knows their audience and has them nailed down in the advertisements. Who else does, and who doesn't?


Everyone's familiar with Axe. It smells pretty good, but that's not really important with any kind of scent-based product that's marketed to men. What's important is (1) packaging and (2) advertising. Axe products are black, a surefire color for marketing to young men. Not only that, but they have nifty symbols and names for the different scents like Phoenix (with phoenix emblem) and Essence (with dragon emblem). And it's named after what could be a weapon. What could appeal more to men?

But what's even better is the Axe advertisements. They have average-looking joes that get really hot chicks. This is what appeals to young men. Not only that, but the ads are hilarious. "Everyone deserves an eleventh chance" I believe was one of them, in which a young woman was angry at her boyfriend but gave him another chance because he smelled so good. Their original elevator ads were great too, where the young man would spray Axe on himself and then whoever got into the elevator with him found him irresistible. Also recall the ads where a mannequin had the spray applied to it, and it was immediately accosted by young women who just couldn't help themselves.

That appeals to young men.

Contrast: Bod. No one knows whether or not this smells good or lasts long because no one has ever tried it. Why? The packaging is blue, which isn't necessarily bad--but blue is conceived as more juvenile than black. The name, "bod," doesn't appeal to young men at all. It might appeal to young women, but young men don't want to think about a "bod."

And the ads. Oh, God, are they terrible. They show a bunch of young, muscly men with no shirts playing sports. A woman usually walks by and just looks at them. She doesn't find them irresistible. She looks at them and walks by, implying that she can see this sausage-fest and that they are actually a bunch of homosexuals hanging out with each other, so she might as well not even try.

You see, whether you like it or not young men are going to see the Bod advertisements as gay and young, straight men don't want any part of that. These ads are clearly inferior to the Axe ads. Are you listening, Bod? Fire your ad agency. Your target audience is straight young men, I presume, since they far outnumber gay young men. And you apparently have older women and gay men writing your ad campaign. It's not working, nor will it ever work. Try again.


  1. Now, I'm going to preface this by acknowledging that you are, indeed, a remarkable young man and in that respect, what I am about to say is likely not to apply to you, but I'll say it anyway: when was the last time you bought your own deodorant? I have an Anonymous Friend who uses Axe -- not because he's a young man attracted to the black and somewhat violent advertising/packaging, but because his wife buys it for him.

    Now, perhaps I'm completely off the mark, but my experience with men is that if they're dressed well, smell good, and/or have a decent haircut, they're either raging homosexuals or there's serious female intervention.

    You're right -- Bod's advertising doesn't seem to appeal to men's taste as much as it does to women, but let's face it: appealing to women isn't a bad idea, because they're the ones that are going to buy the shit for their husbands and sons anyway. The only thing the guy really needs to know is "hey, if I put this on, you can't tell I haven't showered since Sunday."

    (Incidentally, my introduction to "Bod" was seeing it on the shelf a couple of years back..packaged in a spray bottle and looking remarkably like Windex.)

  2. Afterword: After noticing the similarity between the Axe on the left and...well, both bottles of Bod, I did a bit of research and, unfortunately for my hypothesis, they are NOT owned by the same company. But the makers of Bod are the makers of Designer Imposters, cheap knockoffs of designer fragrances that often grace the shelves of such fine establishments such as Sears and K-Mart.

    With regard to the Windex, check this out...

  3. That site is hilarious.

    And that thought did occur to me, that they wanted women to buy it for their boyfriends/husbands. But I know severals single men who use Axe, and I've never met anyone who uses Bod.