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By Audrey Kemp | Junior Reporter

June 14, 2022 | 3 min read

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.

It’s well known that women enjoy both chocolate and men. However, what’s still a mystery is which of those two that women actually prefer. Axe Body Spray played on this idea in 2008 by inventing ‘Chocolate Man’ for an advert highlighting the brand’s then-latest product, Axe Dark Temptation.

The Unilever-owned brand, known as Lynx in the UK, Australia and other countries, took a bold strategy to illustrate how Axe Dark Temptation delivers on the promise that it’s ‘as irresistible as chocolate’.

The 60-second spot opens in a bathroom, where a young man is getting ready. He applies the product, which promptly transforms him into a man made from chocolate. With uncanny and somewhat terrifying accuracy, he moves through the world with the stiffness of a chocolate bar, face frozen in a smile as Allen Toussaint’s 1970 single Sweet Touch of Love plays in the background.

Chocolate Man’s journey begins with a brisk walk through a library, where a nerdy woman catches a whiff of the chocolatey scent left in his wake. Then, the absurdity of the scenes escalates: to name a few highlights, he rips his nose off to sprinkle chocolate bits on to women’s ice-cream cones; he allows other women to nibble and lick at his face in a movie theater; and he lets another bite a chunk out of his behind on public transportation. The film closes as Chocolate Man stops outside a gym to say ‘Hi’ to a crowd of women inside, just as a car zooms past and someone steals his arm. He waves goodbye to the car with his one remaining arm.

The advert was so controversial that it was banned in India for being “indecent, vulgar and repulsive”, according to government agency I&B Ministry. Other critics found the concept racist in nature. Regardless, it was without doubt unforgettable.

Axe’s ‘Chocolate Man’ represented a particular era in the brand’s existence, one that was unapologetically shocking, tongue-in-cheek and at times a bit sexist. The brand took bold measures to communicate the message to its target demographic that “if you wear our product, women will flock to you”.

In 2016, Unilever pledged to do away with sexist ads. Today its strategy centers around creating more diverse and inclusive content – while maintaining its signature levity and humor.

Creative Brand Strategy Axe

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