Title: The battle of the brands: Old Spice vs. Axe. By: Neff, Jack, Advertising Age, 00018899, 11/17/2008, Vol. 79, Issue 43 Database:Communication & Mass Media Complete
P&G, Unilever claim respective products are up and rival's are down One of the crowning achievements of the Jim Stengel era at Procter & Gamble Co., at least according to Jim Stengel, has been the rebound of Old Spice in the battle for hearts and minds of men. P&G's former global marketing officer was so impressed with the old-school brand's success that he made Old Spiceimagery a cornerstone of his valedictory address to the Association of National Advertisers last month, starring in a mock commercial for a mock body wash-Old Spice "Rock Star." And, in an address a week earlier to a University of CincinnatiMarketing Summit, he made the case for the rise of Old Spice and fall of its nemesis Unilever's Axe even more forcefully, saying: "Old Spice was in decline. They've now turned that around. It's growing. Axe has not only stopped growing. Axe is in decline." Unilever, of course, begs to differ.
Needless to say, there's some controversy about that in a battle that's been a flashpoint in the global struggle between package-goods behemoths. Unilever says Axe continues to grow in body spray and beyond, most recently with the launch of Dark Temptation body spray. Unilever Marketing Director Sam Chadha added in a statement: "We don't spend a lot of time thinking about Old Spice." But Mr. Stengel does-or at least did. Now proprietor of consultancy Jim Stengel LLC, he pointed to Old Spice on his way out the P&G door as a shining application of his "purpose brands" approach. "Before [Old Spice] discovered its purpose," Mr. Stengel said in his Cincinnati talk, "we were, frankly, chasing Axe. … It can be a very sexy brand, a very provocative brand, and Old Spice was kind of trying to mimic that." Mr. Stengel helped engineer a switch from longtime Old Spice agency Saatchi & Saatchi to independent...
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