With the release of its new his-and-hers body spray fragrance, Anarchy, Axe has thrown into a tailspin the delicate gender balance of its previous advertising (and by delicate gender balance we mean “geeky man uses body spray; improbably hot women flock/swoon/drool”). The addition of a ladies version of the spray adds a new layer of lusty action to that basic premise and a new campaign sporting the tagline Unleash the Chaos shows what happens when both sexes are struck senseless by the Axe effect.
Creatively, the work, which hinges on the mutual draw of obliviously sweet-smelling Axe-wearers, is hardly a departure from earlier Axe efforts. Where women would stereotypically fawn over yummy-smelling men, now guys are fawning too. Call it equal opportunity objectification. More interesting is that Axe, a male grooming brand famous for giving men the edge in the mating game, is extending into the women’s fragrance market. Only available as a limited fragrance, Axe Anarchy for her might just breed a whole new army of she-bros (sisos?).
Through print ads and a TV spot, creative agency BBH London imagines a world in which both men and women are equally entranced by the Axe Effect. In “The Chain,” directed by award-winning commercials director Tom Kuntz, guys and gals sporting the spray are immediately drawn to each other, with zero regard for personal safety, common civility, or a general avoidance of mayhem. Motorcycles fly through bird-shop windows; wheelchairs roll into traffic; giant bronze statues roll down pedestrian walks. Cars crash—lots of cars crash—while Elvis’ “Can’t Help Falling in Love” serenades the would-be lovers.
In addition to the spot, the campaign includes print ads that set up dangerous collisions (a blowtorch and fireworks; gasoline and an electric spark; a weed whacker and a poor little poodle), as well as digital and out-of-home activity that captures guys and girls coming together in situations that are on the brink of chaos. Two Facebook games, meanwhile, also aim to bring the sexes together: "Anarchy Matchmaker" helps users find out if that friend they secretly fancy feels the same way; and "Kissing Chaos" asks users to film themselves in kissing poses, which are then randomly matched with other to create a short music video.