AXE (Lynx in the UK) has come under fire for its recent AXE Apollo promotion which offers to send 22 winners to space.
Advertising for the promotion during the Super Bowl saw one blogger raise concerns about the sexist nature of the campaign, which seems to suggest the competition is only open to men.
Writing for Forbes, blogger Maha Atal, explains following her post-Super Bowl blog AXE had assured her that “marketing materials aside, women were welcome to enter the contest and would be treated fairly if they did”.
However it has since been revealed that the terms and conditions in seven countries AXE is excluding women from participating: the UAE, Kuwait, Mexico, Russia, Ukraine, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia.
Parent company Unilever has now had to weigh in explaining to “all markets in all regions, that the contest is open to both men and women”.
A statement issued to Atal by senior director of AXE brand development in North America, states: “Upon review, certain markets are currently revising their terms & conditions to reflect this directive”.
Via Forbes, Atal reports that despite issuing the statement the original terms of the AXE Apollo (known as Lynx Space Academy in the UK) promotion are still in place and that no deadline has been set for changing them. The issue of discrimination leaves the brand in a tricky legal position in a number of markets, including both Russia and Mexico.
The statement furthers that “Each contestant will be competing against others within their own markets at our space camp in Florida. The final space selection is dependent on each market’s terms & conditions”.
This also raises further concerns beyond sexism in regards to the contest as people who entered under different terms will be directly competing against each other.