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Axe Wants To Make Love, Devil Baby Attacks: The Top 5 Ads Of The Week

It's been an emotional week. Here are the ad highlights.

  • 01 /05 | Devil's Due "Devil Baby Attack"

    A demon baby rolls into New York in this stunt from Thinkmodo. Read more (but maybe not the comments) here.

  • 02 /05 | Axe "Make Love Not War"

    Is it wrong for a brand like Axe to evoke such grave events and themes? Each viewer will decide and any ensuing controversy will net the campaign more publicity. But the end result, from BBH London, is Super Bowl-worthy and watchable. And, Axe is tying its peace-focused campaign to the organization Peace One Day (as agency creative David Kolbusz told Adweek, "...In terms of the brand profiting from moments of war, we were very, very determined to make sure we were actually doing good, and that we were effecting positive change. Having a partner was very important to us. … If you can do some good in the world, I think you can forgive the dramatic license we take in the television work.").

  • 03 /05 | Duracell "Trust Your Power/ Derrick Coleman"

    Seattle Seahawk Derrick Coleman, deaf since age three, appears in this moving spot about determination, from Saatchi & Saatchi New York.

  • 04 /05 | Muppets Most Wanted "Outrage"

    It’s been one great trailer after another for the Muppets Most Wanted movie. The latest, which ran during the Golden Globes, takes playful aim at award-season ads, the unsanctioned use of critics’ tweets in said ads and Twitter fights in an event-relevant spot.

  • 05 /05 | Guinness "Sapeurs"

    Guinness scored a hit last year with the twist-ending “Basketball.” In yet another refreshing departure from beer ad norms, for the latest installment of its "Made of More" campaign Guinness traveled to Brazzaville, the Republic of Congo, to make a doc and spot about the Society of Elegant Persons of the Congo, or "Sapeurs." Read more about the campaign here.

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.