How Axe Body Spray is trying to move beyond teenage boys' lockers

How Axe Body Spray is trying to move beyond teenage boys' lockers

If you had been a teenage boy within the early 2000s, there is a good likelihood you wore Unilever‘s Axe Body Spray in some unspecified time in the future.

“The thought that you just spray this on and also you get the woman is form of nonsense, actually. I imply, they understand it, we all know it. … So why do not we simply type of play to that?” mentioned John Hegarty, founding father of Bartle Bogle Hegarty, a London-based promoting agency that labored with Axe between 1994 and 2017.

Axe Body Spray entered the U.S. market in 2002, and inside a decade of its arrival, Unilever was bringing in almost half a billion {dollars} in home gross sales for Axe merchandise, in accordance to estimates from market analysis agency Kline & Company.

But because the model took off, its choices quickly expanded because it was churning out new strains of physique wash and hair care.

“They launched all completely different different merchandise that took the promoting {dollars} away from the physique spray itself. So it by no means actually grew in the way in which that it ought to have,” mentioned Ann Gottlieb, a perfume advisor for Axe since 1992.

The model’s messaging additionally shifted in 2016, when the product’s advertising and marketing went from risqué, provocative commercials seen within the early 2000s to a marketing campaign that was targeted on gender and sexuality.

“They had been transferring the needle possibly a bit too far when it comes to the model pivot. That’s lots for a model with that robust a DNA within the market to obtain in that brief time frame,” mentioned Stephan Kanlian, chairperson for the Fashion Institute of Technology’s Cosmetics and Fragrance Graduate Program.

U.S. whole product gross sales fell round an estimated $150 million between 2012 and 2017, in accordance to Kline & Company. 

However, the model is nonetheless the No. 1 males’s deodorant worldwide, promoting $1.7 billion price of deodorant and physique spray in 2022, in accordance to Euromonitor International.

In 2023, the corporate launched a brand new line of fragrances known as the tremendous perfume assortment, hoping to change the center college locker stigma that surrounds the model.

Unilever declined to be interviewed for this story.

Watch the video to learn more.

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