As we are driving through the highways, we pass by billboards that can have sexually appealing images. As we are heading towards the checkout lanes in a supermarket, we can find magazines with sexy models on the covers right next to the register. As we are strolling through the cosmetic departments of a popular mall, we expose ourselves to perfume or cologne ads that have sex as their driving forces in advocating the products. It has been found that "Sex is the second strongest of the psychological appeals" (Taflinger). According to Richard F. Taflinger, PhD, sex in advertising grabs a hold of a man's attention by playing on his "instinctive rather than intellectual view of the world." Taflinger also notes that this is done so "by using women's bodies and associate getting the woman if he buys the product."
AXE is a brand of male grooming products and is owned by the British company Unilever. AXE was first introduced in the United States in 2002, and is now the leader of "men's grooming" markets. AXE's progressive, synergistic, traditional/non tradition marketing campaign is responsible for AXE's wide reaching influence and success. Utilizing sexual images, language and innuendos, AXE appeals to young males targeting the 16-30 age groups. Young males from this age group are usually more interested in the opposite sex, and this is what most of the campaign focuses on.
When you see the brand name, AXE you can't help but picture a dream like fantasy world in which attractive women, wearing tight jeans or showing off a lot of skin, is taking on sexual behaviors, acting as though she has an uncontrollable sexual drive. The women in these ads are triggered by the AXE fragrance and cannot help but pursue their sexual desire. The lack of speech, the specific camera angles, the lighting and the surrounding sexy-music all help create a super sexual environment in these commercials. The brand turns the table on society's perception of the guy going after the girl in the sense that the women in the ads are able to embrace their wild, sexual, rebellious side. The message behind the Axe commercials is quite simple, Use Axe body sprays and women will pursue you. Even though many ads online may claim to be selling magic pheromones that are "100% Guaranteed to Attract Sex Now," it's pretty safe to say that there is no such thing. If it were true eHarmony and Match.com would be filing for Chapter 11 right about now. Nevertheless, commercials targeting young adults, such as Axe, adamantly exaggerate these unrealistic fantasies. In 2008 Axe released a body spray labeled Dark Temptation, its slogan implying that it is "as irresistible as chocolate." Encased in a rather stout container, the prints on it are rather gloomy and reminiscent of the retro era. The commercial for it however, is quite lively and upbeat, which makes it unique from earlier commercials they've made. Instead of the usual adult movie reference, the Dark Temptation commercial was quite fantasy like. It reminded me of the Tin Man walking along the yellow brick road hoping to receive what he desperately needed.
The commercial begins in a stark white bathroom. In front of a...