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Axe, or Lynx is a brand of male grooming products, owned by Anglo-Dutch
company Unilever who manufacture a range of products in the health &
beauty, household cleaning, food and ice cream categories.
Axe's lead product is a deodorant body spray. The brand also includes
deodorant sticks, roll-ons, anti-perspirants, aftershaves and shower gels. In
most of the world the brand is named Axe; in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland,
and the United Kingdom it is named Lynx due to conflicts regarding the
HISTORY OF THE BRAND
Axe/Lynx was launched in France in 1983 by Unilever, a multi-national
corporation, formed of Anglo-Dutch parentage that owns
many of the world's consumer product brands in foods,
beverages, cleaning agents and personal care products.
It was inspired by another of Unilever's brands Impulse.
Impulse was a fragranced deodorant body spray for women that promised
wearers male attention. Unilever were keen to capitalize on Axe's French
success and rolled it out in the rest of Europe from 1985 onwards, later
introducing the other products in the range. Unilever were unable to use the
name Axe in the UK and Ireland due to trademark problems so it was
launched as Lynx.
The European launch of the deodorant was followed by success in Latin
America and moderate impact in Asia and Africa. In the new millennium the
brand has launched with great success in the USA and Canada. The company
has also consolidated its deodorant portfolio by migrating other over-lapping
male deodorants into the Axe brand such as South Africa's Ego brand.
Axe brand products are consistently targeted to 18-25 year old males. As
illustrated in Figure 2, they are currently distributed in more than 40 countries.
Figure 2: Axe’s Global Presence
Not all Axe brand items/fragrances are marketed in all countries, or found in
all retail outlets stocking the line.
Axe has increased sales worldwide by successfully expanding distribution into
one country after another; while the strategically timed introduction of new
fragrances has increased overall market share.
As the market matures, Unilever must now address new market opportunities-
ethnic multi-cultural markets located throughout the world--where it can
realize incremental sales.
AXE PRODUCT EXTENSION
Although Axe's lead product is the fragranced deodorant bodyspray, other
forms of the brand exist.
Within underarm care the following are available:
• Deodorant aerosol bodyspray
• Deodorant stick
• Deodorant roll-on
• Antiperspirant aerosol spray (Axe Dry)
• Antiperspirant stick (Axe Dry)
The brand has also extended into other areas such as:
• Shower Gels
• Aftershaves and Eau de Toilette
• Skin Care
• Hair Styling
• Market leadership • men featured are comparatively
• Fame for creative messages slim
• Affordable price • objectification of provocation,
• Wide extension around the showing a rude attitude,
world weakning the reputation of the
• Successful and effective brand
advertisement campaigns • concrete target public (young
• Strong emotional touch man)
• subliminal publicity, “AXE
effect” doesn’t exist
• unrenovated and old design of
• advertise only spray products,
AXE production line is much
• chauvinistic publicity
• create new product lines, • risk of being a brand for
targeting female customers enhancing the men sex-appeal
• maintain better standards of • copy by the competitors
quality • undermining the aspiration of
• unified advertising campaign consumers
throughout the world • spray emits damages to the
• continuous innovation environment
Success as an entity, requires the highest standards of corporate behaviour
towards employees, consumers and societies of the world in which we live.
Only by truly understanding the essence of Unilever's mission statement, can
corporate excellence be obtained. Only then can the vision statement of
adding vitality to life in order to meet the needs for nutrition, hygiene, and
personal care with brands that help people feel good, look good and get more
out of life be realized.
From the humble beginnings of the Ego brand in 1974, to formation of Axe
rebranding of Lynx for distribution in Australia, Ireland and the United
Kingdom. It is the mission that rings true, even today. Axe has become the
world's definitive grooming brand – ranging from deodorants, body sprays,
and shower gels – available in a wide assortment of seductive fragrances.
The next year will prove crucial in maintaining incremental global market
share in over 40 countries. The primary target market for the product line
should remain focused on 18-24 year old males. Key to sustaining growth will
be the ability to identify and isolate tightly focused promotional efforts
playing on the “boy meets girl” meme customers and competitors have come
to associate with the high profile of Axe. The element pertaining to success
would be exploring new avenues of creativity to target social sub-cultures and
ethnic groups more effectively in areas where these opportunities exist.
• transform Axe into an icon in the “Game of Seduction”
• .Increase the deodorant’s brand equity
• .Increase sales volume
• Creatively target sub-culture through specifically appealing to their
niche interests in countries where market share for the targeted sub-
culture age group is oligopolistic and its growth steadily increasing
• Attract ethnic potential customers in countries where traditional
marketing efforts may conflict with the collective conscious native to
that particular country
• Serve to additional age groups not necessarily conforming to 18-25
• Satisfy each target costumer to the maximum obtainable level of
Essentially, the formation of the proposed brand is an merger of line
extensions and multibrands dependent on the area of target market:
• Line extension brand strategy would include addressing the marketing
objectives of targeting younger males by promoting current brands to
the new potential market by adjusting the product strategy to appeal to
current affairs that interest this section of the target market – still,
however, preserving brand names. Line extension strategy may also be
highly effective in targeting niche sub-culture markets by extending the
Axe/Lynx brand to appeal to their unique interests such as the
aforementioned Axe/Lynx Binary sub-label. Line extensions represent
existing brand names extended tonew forms, sizes and flavours of an
existing product category
• The use of multibrand strategy allows for new brands to be introduced
in the same Axe/Lynx product categories of deodorants, and even body
sprays and shower gels under new brand names, accompanied by new
product strategies (Kotler). This particular strategy can be incorporated
into achieving the marketing objectives of penetrating new segments
Therefore, a combination of line extensions under the Axe/Lynx brand name
to include new fragrances like Axe/Lynx, adjusting current marketing
initiatives through altering product strategy to appeal to younger age groups,
and new brands – owned by Unilever – named Shinx or Dune serve to satisfy
all outlined marketing objectives and increase the market share.
The strategy had to build on the brand heritage, while rejuvenating Axe’s
image to make comtemporary. Passive seduction was still a real and
motivating consumer insight. The youngs want to be seductive without being
seen to try too much. Having women show an inerest gives them the
confidence to go on.
However, since all brands talk about seduction, Axe had to impose its own
point of view in a clever and motivating way. The execution had to be new
and different; it made a break with conventional publicity. Humour was used,
considering seduction as a serious business. The setting and protagonists used
should be relevant and aspirational to the target audience. This involves
moving from the traditional exotic male role model to an environment close to
the consumer’s reality.
The creative idea was to show the seduction effects of Axe on women, f who
is wearing it.
When launched, Axe created a new product category: deodorant body spray
for men. Over and above the classical deodorant promise of odour prevention,
Axe also offered fragance, which allowed it to be positioned as a “seduction
tool, easing the transition from adolescence to manhood”.
Axe has established itself as the leading male toiletries brand in Europe.
Central to the brand’s success was its innovate character, creating its own
category, which situated it at the leading edge of fashion.
However, the brand seemed to have aged with its initial consumer and didn’t
follow youth fashion trends. Research indicates that the “Axe man” was seen
as dated “James Bond in a safari suit”. The communication format was unable
to go up the current values of the youth target.
TARGET CUSTOMER PROFILE
In order to understand the proposed target market effectively, particular
evaluation needs to be given to the demographic, psychographic and
behavioural features evident in the sample size:
- The targeted age range should consist of 15-25 years of age
- The target market is also male, unaffected by race or ethnicity –
although different marketing initiatives may appeal to different
- Targeted consumer is of a lower socio-economic status given the
income distribution of the age group and education levels
- The status of the proposed candidate is that of a bachelor or most
likely involved in shorter term relationships
- The dominant portion of the target consumers exhibit
heterosexual orientation, given the success of previous
campaigns portraying the protagonist of this sexual orientation
The following profile can therefore be established;
Perception: Peer influenced
Socio-economic Class: Low
Geography: Anywhere males and females are present
Internationally this brand targets male aged 15-25. They still love the unique
Axe fantasy of “the woman making the first move”. Young men in this age
group are impatient for their first experience of women. They dream about
being able to seduce women without too much effort, because they are not as
confident as they seem. Their main topics of interest are sex, music, football
and having a laugh.
The brand has its brand values of Cool, Fashionable and Stylish. And world
over, the brand shoots to its core values. The biggest strength of this brand is
the underlying message or the DNA, which is that the brand users are High on
Confidence and always for the Axe users, “Girls Makes The First Move”. I
think the biggest competitive advantage of this brand is its complete
monopoly over this brand proposition. All its campaigns revolve round this
central theme of Seduction where Girl makes the first move.
I think it has lot of subliminal implications. The brand assumes that Men
wants to be seduced. That feeling (of being seduced) gives a big boost of self
confidence to a man. Although many brands take this proposition, Axe just
made it perfect.
The only potential competition faced by Axe/Lynx in terms of direct
competition are other deodorant brands being produced – directed towards the
same target market. These include, TAG Body Spray, Old Spice (Old Spice
2008) and various other generic brands targeting the lower and younger socio-
economic market share. Given the oligopolistic nature of the deodorant
market competitors cannot gain significant market share by dropping prices
much lower than Axe/Lynx.
TAG is a re-incarnation of Right
Guard Body Spray, released in 2002.
Right Guard Body Spray was
discontinued after several months
due to very low sales. Gillette then spent the next few years trying to find how
to successfully market a body spray for teen boys. As a result of their
research, TAG was released in the beginning of 2005. Features inspired by
their research included their advertising campaign which "warns" the viewer
that women will be attracted to him in a way that will cause them to attack
him, the charcoal-grey aluminum cans with silhouettes of women, and
fragrances named after dating milestones. Additionally, Gillette decided not to
include any sign that Gillette manufactured the product on the product itself or
in the advertising. It was decided that Gillette's reputation from its other
products would detract from the sale of TAG.
Old Spice's buoy-shaped bottle cologne has been its staple product, available
in its original scent as well as newer Pure Sport. In
2006, Old Spice introduced an all-new fragrance, OS
Signature, which won the magazine FHM 's 2006
Grooming Award for Best Sporty Fragrance. Old Spice
Red Zone products include a "Scratch-and-sniff" version
of the Signature fragrance.
Old Spice as of 2009 has three lines of grooming products and each line
features a variety of products and scents. "High Endurance" is promoted as a
basic grooming line, and includes antiperspirant, deodorant, body wash, hair
& body wash, and shaving products.
THE LIFE CYCLE OF AXE DEODORANT SPRAY
The product life cycle (PLC) is the course of a product's sales and profits
during its lifetime – segregated into product development, introduction,
growth, maturity and decline. Every Axe/Lynx product is accustomed to the
first four stages of the PLC. However, as soon as the decline stage is reached
and a declination of profits observed, a reiteration process is commenced with
the introduction of a new product under the brand name. The maturity and
decline phases are judged based on customer perception of brand equity in
over 40 countries worldwide.
The product life cycle of the past to the recent present, tied in with perceptual
brand equity factors, and subsequent line extensions are as follows:
1983 – Amber (Axe/Lynx Amber 2008), Spice (Axe/ Lynx Spice 2008), Musk
(Axe/Lynx Musk 2008)
1985 – Amber, Spice, Musk introduced into the United Kingdom
1987 – Orient (Axe/Lynx Orient 2008)
1989 – Marine (Axe/Lynx Marine 2008)
1995 – Africa (Axe/Lynx Africa 2008)
1998 – Apollo (Axe/Lynx Apollo 2008)
1999 – Voodoo (Axe/Lynx Voodoo 2008)
2000 – Phoenix (Axe/Lynx Phoenix 2008)
2001 – Gravity (Axe/Lynx Gravity 2008)
2002 – Apollo, Kilo, Orion, Phoenix, Tsunami, Voodoo introduced into the
2003 – Pulse (Axe/Lynx Pulse 2008), Essence (Axe/Lynx Essence 2008)
2004 – Touch (Axe/Lynx Touch 2008)
2005 – Unlimited (Axe/Lynx Unlimited 2008)
2006 – Click (Axe/Lynx Click 2008)
2007 – Vice (Axe/Lynx Vice 2008)
2008 – Dark Temptation (Axe/Lynx Dark Temptation 2008), and Sharp Focus
(Axe/Lynx Sharp Focus 2008)
Axe/Lynx body spray can features a distinctive
black metallic exterior and an associative logo
representative of its label. Ergonomics have been perfected on the product
level to a point where aerosol leakage has become virtually impossible. The
Axe/Lynx brand name is designed around a logo that utilises custom designed
typography to give it a distinctive and recognisable look – its black exterior,
complimenting packaging and striking short, block lettering exemplified
thereon setting it apart from the generic competitor.
Augmentation of the product line allows customers to interact with its various
campaigns through a plethora of web sites scattered with images of attractive
females – all in favour of complying with the needs of its target market. There
are also telephone hotlines available to assist customers with information
about competitions and the more intricate product details.
Mass communication can be utilised through the use of free-to-air television,
radio, newspapers and
magazines, as well as other methods like cinema and outdoor advertising.
All its campaigns revolve round the central theme of Seduction where Girl
makes the first move.
It has, absolutely, subliminal implications. The brand assumes that Men wants
to be seduced . That feeling gives a big boost of self confidence to a man.
Although many brands take this proposition, Axe just made it perfect.
In most of the Axe ads only very ordinary skinny kind of people getting
assaulted by beautiful girls. That makes the brand more approachable. If Axe
had used a Hunk, the promotions couldn't have been so effective. The brand
managers were so wise that when they used a celebrity like Ben Affleck. It
ensured that the brand is made approachable.
The brand has started its Internet based marketing initiative with Axe Land,
which involved a virtual trip to the Axe world. Globally also this brand has lot
of online initiatives which are almost always naughty. In UK the Axe is
marketed as LYNX.
Not only the brand uses TVC's to its advantage, the print ads of Axe won
several awards in various ad events. Besides Print, the brand also uses
outdoors to its maximum impact. Axe is a classic example of 360 degrees
branding effort. Now Axe has a common message in over 70 countries.
The product solves an immediate problem. Cologne is too expensive for most
Gen Y men and body spray does the job at a price they can afford. This is its
Developing the pricing strategy requires an intimate look at the product
strategy. If the
product is deemed an innovation – on the grounds of addressing a previously
untargeted market like a sub-culture or youth segment – the most profitable
strategy for the Axe/Lynx brand would be a market-penetration tactic.
Market-penetration aims to set a comparatively low price for a new product in
order to attract a large number of buyers and enhance a current market share.
The process of efficiently and effectively making and getting products and
services to end-users requires a marketing logistics network. Essentially, the
physical distribution of the proposed products should propagate through a
series of intermediaries as a fast moving consumer good typically purchased
by consumers weekly.
Distribution begins with the Unilever sales forecasting intermediary by
determining company production schedules, inventory levels and production.
Everywhere the product ables to purchase is developed a in-store
communication through educating retailer staff to be aware of competitions
and promotion campaigns for Axe/Lynx products, as well as providing special
promotional information about products and potentially,increase sales.
Places where we can find the product to purchase it:
• Stores-beauty section
SOME CRITICISMS ABOUT AXE PRODUCT AND MARKETING
So if a cologne/deodorant fusion smells like digested, double shit,
theoretically it wouldn’t sell for lint and loose paper clips, right? That’s not
what’s going on with Axe. Young Gen Y men are elbowing each other to grab
it off the shelves… So what’s the real AXE effect?
1. As I told before, the product solves an immediate problem. Cologne is too
expensive for most men and body spray does the job at a price they can afford.
This is its fundamental feature.
2. The message is perfect. Axe sells the concept of never dealing with
rejection ever again. A problem that terrifies most men. In fact, when wearing
Axe and confidence, perfect gorgeous women approach you - the normal guy.
This is the fundamental benefit.
Focus on one feature and tie it directly to one benefit. This focus will keep
your brand message consistent and you’ll get the girl, every time.
Have you heard of the Naughty to Nice Program? Pay attention to the video
where David Rubin, Senior Director of Axe PR, only exists to promote Axe
Body Spray. He does so in such a blatantly obvious way that it’s funny, giving
their marketing team a sense of humor and making them more human. All
All in all, Axe kills a fundamental Gen Y marketing rule - providing great
products - instead they sell the benefits of never be rejected by women again
and that’s exactly why it works!
TABLE OF CONTENTS
SECTION 1: INTRODUCTION ……………………………………………..1
1.1. History of the brand
1.2. Internal presence…………………………………………………………
1.4. Axe / Lynx product
SECTION 2: SWOT ANALYSIS…………………………………………….5
SECTION 3: OBJECTIVES…………………………………………………..6
SECTION 4: STRATEGY……………………………………………………8
4.1. Creative strategy………………………………………………………….9
SECTION 5: MARKETING SITUATION………………………………….10
SECTION 6: TARGET CUSTOMER PROFILE……………………………11
SECTION 5: COMPETITORS………………………………………………13
SECTION 4: THE LIFE-CYCLE OF THE PRODUCT…………………….15