By Audrey Kemp, LA Reporter

March 21, 2024 | 3 min read

Brandon Beloti, Shareef O’Neal and other influencers are stunned to discover that they prefer the scent of Axe over its high-priced competitor in a campaign by The Martin Agency.

It’s a fragrance face-off of epic proportions.

In a new campaign released today, the affordable men’s fragrance brand challenges a luxury giant in a David-versus-Goliath showdown: ‘The Haters Upset: Axe v Tom Ford.’ The campaign pits the newest addition to Axe’s Fine Fragrance Collection, Lynx Black Vanilla, against Tom Ford’s Tobacco Black Vanille, which retails for a cool $195 (£200).

Developed by The Martin Agency, this campaign marks Axe’s biggest global initiative in years.

The commercial showcases influencer talents, including Brandon Beloti, Shareef O’Neal, Chiney Ogwumike and Kris Jenkins, as they undertake blind scent tests. Most (not all) ended up preferring Axe over Tom Ford.

The endeavor builds on the brand’s successful ‘Flip The Haters’ campaign, designed to challenge its negative stereotype head-on and prove that its scents are more than just a locker room staple.

In the new ad, original Flip The Haters participant Paul Fino returns and once again confirms Axe’s olfactory supremacy over its luxury competitor.

The brand previously placed a mysterious scented billboard to tease passers-by with a playful challenge: does it smell better than a £200 fragrance? In the Southbank, TV personality Wes Nelson unveiled the product to a captivated audience of social influencers.

It reads: “Something smells incredible. It’s me. The billboard. Apparently, people prefer me to a £200 fragrance. Do you?”

southbank stunt

The campaign arrives on the heels of a recent blind scent test, which found that 74% of 220 men aged 16 to 34 preferred Axe’s Black Vanilla over Tom Ford’s Tobacco Vanille.

In the United States, 30-second TV spots will air during March Madness in the United States, alongside a robust presence on streaming services and YouTube.

Meanwhile, physical and digital billboards are placed in high-traffic locations from Sydney, Australia, to the UK, Ireland and Toronto’s Eaton Centre. In the UK, the campaign dominates over 750 digital out-of-home sites along the banks of the Thames.

But the campaign doesn’t end there. Digital banners are set to blanket nationwide Target and Walmart stores, while social media platforms will buzz with Axe’s own channels and a global TikTok influencer push.

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