It’s beginning to look a lot like Super Bowl. Though the bowl itself is a few weeks away, many brands used this week to start unveiling their pre-game gambits. Even when there were no actual video teasers, there was still teasing. Budweiser, for example, teased us with a pre-briefing about its own Super Bowl play—including the news that the brand would showcase its cool twist aluminum bottle, that Bud Light would get a new campaign and tag line ("The Perfect Beer For Whatever Happens") and that the Clydesdales would return—with a puppy!
One of the most striking pre-Super Bowl efforts came from Axe, of all.. people. The brand went fairly ambitious last year with the launch of the Axe Apollo space program whereby the company will actually send fans to space. This year, it’s tackling world peace. But as notable as the campaign’s goal is its tone. A spot released this week uses well-known images and themes of human conflict to set up a surprisingly romantic (for Axe) message. It’s the latest in a series of ads that have signaled a slight shift for the brand away from the tried/true/tired template it’s used for years; 2012’s "Susan Glenn" was the first major ad that, while still revolving around the acquisition of desirable females, bestowed an actual identity on one of those females. In the Super Bowl campaign, the action centers on a special lady, and the L word is built right into the premise (another novel aspect of this spot—there’s at least one guy who’s at the same level on the hotness scale as any Axe woman; see 0:08).
Notwithstanding the use of images of war and dictators to sell body spray, the effect is downright touching. You know it’s been an emotional time in advertising when an Axe spot and a football-themed ad for a battery (see Duracell's entry) could make you well up if you’re not careful.
Some twisted comic relief comes courtesy a surprise stroller stunt in the service of promoting the new film, Devil’s Due.
See the ads in the gallery above.