Someone Should Ax AXE

Dear Teenage Boys,

I’m addressing this to you in the hopes that anyone who’s reached the age of 20 should know this, and I’d like to change the learning curve a bit so you all get more accurate information much, much earlier.

Cologne or “body spray” will not make women or other men fall all over themselves to get at you the way commercials such as this AXE one make it seem. In fact, I’d wager to guess that people in general prefer not to be choked out by the overwhelming odor of your fragrance of choice. If, for example, the woman in the commercial linked to above could really smell you from that distance, that is a clue you are wearing too much of the stuff.

I have never once felt the urge to gyrate and to say “Bow Chicka Wow Wow” to anyone I’ve met whose cologne is strong enough for me to smell 5-10 feet away. My more immediate reaction is to hold my breath until the distance between me and the offending odor is great enough.

Beyond the immediate negative physical reaction over-cologning causes in many people, the advertising campaign AXE employs is terrible and pretty misogynistic. Sure, they’re supposed to be “funny,” and yet I can’t find it in me to laugh when women are shown basically as pieces of meat or as willing to drop everything to get their hands on some random man simply because he’s wearing AXE.

Besides, even in moderation, I have to say the stuff doesn’t smell that great.

Sincerely,

SBG

Comments

  1. Sylvie says

    The first time I saw one of those Bow Chicka Wow Wow commercials I actually thought it was feminist commentary. Something along the lines of, how do you like being subjected to that, kid? Doesn’t it totally suck?

    I was so disappointed.

  2. Laura says

    Not to mention those Lynx Vice adverts, which appropriate the atmosphere of one of those ever-so-popular serial-killer-cutting-up-sexy-women films, but (aha!) reverse the genders, so we have women, like, strapping men down to smear cream over their naked torsos, or stamp them with library notices. I don’t even know where to START with that one.

  3. Jennifer Kesler says

    I don’t even know where to START with that one.

    Ugh, neither do I. I don’t think Lynx is sold in the US, so I haven’t seen those. I’m sure they’re on YouTube somewhere.

    And once again, this is all coming from Unilever, the people who bring you Dove Real Beauty in one hand (problematic, but largely positive) and this stuff in the other.

  4. says

    As a more-or-less grown man, I always find it hilarious when boys first discover cologne. If they’re going for funny, I think they could have some effective ads written around the idea of teaching boys proper cologne usage, including what not to do.

    The Axe ads also remind me of those vintage Hai Karate commercials, for an aftershave so appealing men would literally have to fight women off with their martial arts skills.

  5. sbg says

    Something along the lines of, how do you like being subjected to that, kid? Doesn’t it totally suck?

    I was so disappointed.

    Yeah. I find the whole thing very offputting, from the woman shoving her charge (a grandmother, maybe) away to the ever increasing gyrations to the fact that the kid really is a kid by the looks of him.

  6. sbg says

    And once again, this is all coming from Unilever, the people who bring you Dove Real Beauty in one hand (problematic, but largely positive) and this stuff in the other.

    It certainly demonstrates a very differing approach advertisers take depending on their target market. If I were a guy, I think I’d be insulted that they assume all guys are driven pretty much by their downstairs brains. Not that it’s not a big factor, but it can’t be everything.

  7. sbg says

    As a more-or-less grown man, I always find it hilarious when boys first discover cologne. If they’re going for funny, I think they could have some effective ads written around the idea of teaching boys proper cologne usage, including what not to do.

    Oh, I shudder when I remember tasting that stuff, so thick it was in the school hallways.

    I like your idea – that could definitely be amusing and would be a heck of a lot less misleading than the stupid AXE commercials.

  8. says

    Along the same lines, have you seen Ocean’s Thirteen? The only significant female character, played by Ellen Barkin, is subjected to some sort of WMD-level pheremone that has her acting more out-of-control than any AXE commercial woman.

  9. says

    Yeah, while I enjoyed Ocean’s 13 overall, that did kind of put me off. But I did enjoy the fact that when the actresses who had played female leads in the first two movies didn’t come back, they weren’t ignored or replaced–random running comments throughout showed that while they weren’t present for a trumped up reason (“not their fight”), they were talked *about* in ways that made it clear the relationships were still important to the guys, and that they were worthwhile even when they had problems. I did think it was a neat way of avoiding a problem when the actresses didn’t return.

  10. fly says

    I am a pathetic troll who goes around posting crap on websites that make me sooo jealous because they are smart and I still can’t figure out how to use my thumbs. Waa, I am sad!*

    *possibly edited a little by admin

  11. sbg says

    Wow, I think that troll hit a trifecta!

    *off to go cry because someone named “fly” was mean (besides, what else do I have to do with my pathetic boring life?)*

  12. Jennifer Kesler says

    Normally, I just put the troll cap on them, but I thought I’d try something different today. Let me know what you think. ;)

  13. Jennifer Kesler says

    Same thing they all say – some crap about how we should get over it, it’s just a show, we have no lives, we suck. :D

  14. MaggieCat says

    *Hee* Except now I want to know what the original post said, because I am very nosy, but I’ll live.

  15. Jennie says

    I am a pathetic troll who goes around posting crap on websites that make me sooo jealous because they are smart and I still can’t figure out how to use my thumbs. Waa, I am sad!*

    *possibly edited a little by admin

  16. sbg says

    LOL. I JUST shaved this morning, my disposition is generally pleasant, and without my very supportive bra I’d have major issues.

    Congrats on the trollish idiocy. Read what this site is about and what the rules are.

  17. Jennifer Kesler says

    Eh, respond or don’t. Long as they get made fun of.

    You do get a lot of trolls because you post on things that are popular and are getting talked about currently, whereas some of the rest of us tend to focus on 20 year old TV shows (eyes self). :D Popular topics attract doofuses like shit attracts flies.

  18. Jess says

    Do any non-trolls ever disagree? People seem to be able to respectfully disagree on topics that don’t involve feminism. What’s up with that?

    Are those commercials effective I wonder? Does some part of the teenage male brain believe that if he douses himself in cologne women will flock to him like seals in mating season? Does they really differentiate between the brands of cheap, bad smelling cologne? Axe and Tag seem to have the same commercials. I don’t know which is which.

  19. Jennifer Kesler says

    Jess, there have been some respectful disagreements around here before: debate about whether one can criticize “Girls Gone Wild” without putting down the women who participate, for example.

    The second troll in this thread, I was actually all set to let her comment stand, as her first paragraph talked about not finding the commercial offensive, which is fine to bring up. But she just had to end by saying if we don’t like it, we’re a bunch of hairy-legged feminists and the last thing the world needs. (Yes, she did say “hairy legged” which is why SBG laughed and mentioned recent shaving.)

    As for the effectiveness of the commercials: it’s possible kids are susceptible. During my teen years, I was painfully self-conscious and I remember buying a cheap perfume that promised it affected pheremones somehow. I didn’t really believe it, but I thought maybe I could convince myself it was working and thereby boost my confidence. It seems silly to me now, but it made sense at the time. :D

  20. sbg says

    I didn’t know I was fake. Did anyone else here realize none of us were real and just kept me in the dark?

    I hope we’re like the Velveteen Rabbit and will one day get to be real.

  21. Jennifer Kesler says

    OMG, these people spend more time trolling the site than I spent administering it. That’s just hilarious. :D

  22. Hot69forFun4U2 says

    And I thought false advertising was against the law. Someone should start a class action suit against Unilever for:
    1. False Advertising
    2. Being blatantly sexist
    Why should any company get away with exploiting women in the name of selling their product.

  23. Slipkid says

    Big ups to these comments. I was at a concert recently and I smelled a suffocating stench coming from some male close by. I couldn’t tell where it was coming from. It was like the dude had drunk a gallon of Old Spice. and now the shit was leaking out his pores. These Axe commercials are so stupid and misleading. I prefer, scent-wise, to go au natural. Real men get women by their deeds and words, not by some cologne campaign aimed at suckers.

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