Smells Like World Peace: Axe Body Spray Commercial Aims for Social Relevancy

The company's upcoming Super Bowl ad spot is a definite departure from its usual "women in bikinis" branding strategy.
(Photo: Axe Body Spray/Youtube)
Jan 18, 2014· 1 MIN READ
A Bay Area native, Andri Antoniades has previously worked as a fashion industry journalist and a medical writer.

What does world peace smell like? If this recently posted commercial is to be believed, it smells like Axe Body Spray.

The fragrance company, known for commercials that feature supernaturally attractive women willing to tear off their clothes for men doused in cologne, is taking a different approach with its upcoming Super Bowl ad spot.

Instead of focusing on young women in bikinis, the overriding theme of its newest commercial is...world peace.

Axe Body Spray's "Make Love Not War" campaign is being executed in partnership with Peace One Day, a nonprofit working to establish an international Peace Day once a year. The New York Times reports that as part of the campaign, Axe will donate $250,000 to the organization and promote it across its social media channels.
Matthew McCarthy, senior director of Axe, which is owned by corporate behemoth Unilever, explained the strategy change in his public statement. "Young people care deeply about the future," he said. "This generation is socially conscious and more digitally connected than ever. Axe is tapping into this to start a conversation, inspire people to unite globally, and raise awareness about the power of peace in a way only Axe can do."
How body spray relates to world peace isn't really clear, but it's a departure from the company's usual rotation of commercials that portray women as easily manipulated, sex-hungry man destroyers. Axe banked on creating controversy with its previous ads, including one that featured a pair of headless breasts and another that blamed women's increasing hotness for men's poor behavior.
While its newest commercial promotes a socially relevant topic, its purpose is still (obviously) to sell more Axe Body Spray, which the Environmental Working Group reports carries moderate levels of potentially harmful ingredients.
Axe's Super Bowl ad, while a significant shift for the company, isn't a big win for humanity. But as far as commercials go, it's at least a refreshing change of pace.