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By Kendra Barnett, Associate Editor

February 23, 2023 | 4 min read

The popular men’s personal care brand is trolling Chanel – across social media, in Google search and even in Times Square – in an effort to promote its new line of fine fragrances.

Axe is dragging luxury fragrance maker Chanel in a new multichannel campaign for the Axe Fine Fragrance Collection.

The Unilever-owned personal care brand claims it’s bringing ‘ratioing’ – internet slang for the embarrassing situation in which a reply to a post receives more likes than the original post – to the real world.

It’s executing the strategy in a handful of ways. Most notably, perhaps, Axe has unveiled a larger-than-life digital billboard in the heart of New York City’s Times Square that crowns Axe Fine Fragrances the Goat (or ‘greatest of all time’ in internet speak). It features a futuristic goat animation and renders the brand’s new Blue Lavender body spray in three dizzying dimensions – while claiming that in blind scent tests, 73% of guys preferred their favorite Axe Fine Fragrance scent to the ever-popular Bleu de Chanel.

“Yes. Axe out-smelled Chanel … Axe is ratio-ing them. And in a pretty major way,” the brand said today in a statement.

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The effort is part of Axe’s broader strategy to connect with younger consumers. “Gen Z guys look at ‘premium’ as a feeling, not a price point,” Axe’s global brand director Caroline Gregory said. “Fragrance is the number one driver of confidence, and we don’t think you should be paying $100-plus to feel that. That’s why we’re taking on the fine fragrance industry with the world’s first ‘ratio challenge,’ taking our guys’ favorite digital roast to the real world.”

Axe has invested considerable resources in recent years to win the attention – and dollars – of young folks. Last year, the brand funneled major investments into gaming and esports to attract Gen Z. Plus, in an attempt to speak to the generation’s open-mindedness and sexual fluidity – Gallup data published this week finds that nearly 20% of Gen Z identify as LGBTQ – it launched a major ad campaign in 2021 that cast its products as a means to attract a diverse group of admirers.

Now, Axe hopes the new ratio-focused campaign will resonate with the ‘extremely online’ generation. Not only has the brand splashed out on the flashy Times Square placement; but it also took to social media and search engines to troll Chanel – when users Google ‘Bleu de Chanel’ they’ll be met with an ad for the Axe Fine Fragrance Collection.

Of course, like any Gen Z-centric campaign, TikTok couldn’t be left out of the mix. Axe has teamed up with Sidetalk – the popular video series that broadcasts interviews, celebrity bump-ins and generally chaotic content from the streets of New York City – to drive up the ratio. Content from the collaboration will hit social media today at 12 pm ET.

Plus, to keep the fun going, Axe is releasing a TikTok ratio filter and a challenge encouraging fans to ratio any and everything that smells worse than Axe Fine Fragrances. To kick off the challenge, TV personality Chanel West Coast and comedians Preacher Lawson and Adam Conover will drop their own content – with Chanel herself admitting that Axe smells better than Chanel.

Axe TikTok filter

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