World’s best ads ever #62: Axe tells men to ‘find their magic’ by defying stereotypes
We asked our readers to vote for their favorite commercials of all time. Top creatives from the World Creative Rankings and The Drum’s Judges’ Club then ranked the ads. Now, we bring you the definitive 100 best TV and video ads of all time.
In ‘Find Your Magic’, Axe Body Spray set out to shift the focus of its marketing strategy from a narrow and antiquated definition of masculinity to a celebration of diversity and unique expressions of confidence.
Prior to the 2016 airing of ‘Find Your Magic’, Axe’s marketing largely revolved around the blatant sexual objectification of women. Use our product, some of the brand’s early ads suggested, and legions of beautiful women will be literally racing to get their hands on you. The brand summed this message up in a slogan: ‘Spray more, get more — The Axe Effect.’
The development of ‘Find Your Magic’ was born from the brand’s realization that putting all of its eggs into the marketing credo of ’sex sells’ was no longer a winning long-term strategy. It needed something that would speak to a new generation, one that was quickly blurring the lines between traditionally defined boundaries of sexuality and gender.
The brand’s long-used equation of man plus Axe equals sex with women was suddenly much too simplistic in a world where the norms of masculinity were rapidly changing. With creative help from 72andSunny Amsterdam, the launch of ‘Find Your Magic’ was an unmistakable signal to the world that the brand was fundamentally altering the direction of its marketing strategy, and striving to keep an ear to the zeitgeist.
In the spot, the brand specifically pokes fun at the male beauty industry’s incessant celebration of six-pack abs while lionizing individuality and self-assuredness as the true source of attractiveness. A man appears in heels and there’s a scene depicting what looks like love at first sight between two men in a record store. The overall message comes across as: forget traditional standards of male beauty — as long as you have confidence (and, of course, a lineup of Axe products in your bathroom), you’ll get all the romantic attention you could ask for.
And to close the ad, the instruction from the narrator is clear: “Who needs some other thing when you’ve got your thing? Now work on it.”