Axe has a new plan to help hapless guys shine: play it cool

MullenLowe's Ponce prods show-offs toward more authentic ways to impress

Published On
Jan 23, 2019

Editor's Pick

When trying to impress other people, men do stupid things. Lifting too much at the gym, paying for things they can’t afford, games of chicken, fedoras--each a sign that some insecure dude is trying to show off. None of us are immune. I once attempted to leap into a moving car through the passenger window. Road rash is a terrible thing.

Now a new campaign for Axe Ice Chill grooming products is trying to convince men to tone down the braggadocio and showboating with a new tagline: “You’re hotter when you’re chill.” Young men perform over-the-top stunts in doomed efforts to woo the objects of their affection. Whether it’s exhibitionist flexing or making overtures at inopportune moments, their actions are frowned upon by helpful onlookers, who flash signals that they should calm down and just be themselves.

To help them do that, the new Unilever product claims to reduce skin temperature. It’s the spray-on equivalent of a cold shower, a sound tactic that’s been helping overeager men dial it back since the invention of indoor plumbing.

The campaign continues Axe's "Find Your Magic" platform, unveiled two years ago in an attempt to move away from the brand's puerile reputation. And though none of the spots mention "toxic masculinity," the message is very much in line with recent calls from other advertisers like P&G's Gillette to reexamine the way society expects men to act.

The new work is from Ponce, MullenLowe’s office in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and is directed by Gary Freedman via Independent Films. In addition to the 35-second anthem, other 20-second spots feature a single hapless guy learning a valuable lesson--like if your crush is seriously training at the boxing gym, don’t interrupt her with stupid antics that will get you both kicked out.

 

Also, please don’t show off your sweet martial arts moves at a party. They are neither sweet nor sexy. (They’re also not effective.)

 

And don’t like every one of her posts on Instagram all at once. Dole out the attention. Put down the phone. Maybe even talk to her.