Male grooming brand Axe has launched a campaign on the premise of partner attraction, reducing its two characters to a pair of breasts and a head of hair.
Aiming to promote the brand's hair products, the 'Office Love' spot claims breasts and hair are the physical feature each gender notices first about a potential new partner. It tells the melancholic story of the couples' courting and their struggle to find time alone in thier banal office surroundings.
The spot carries the tagline 'Hair. It's what girls see first', and doesn't reveal the characters full bodies right until the end. It's then the viewer learns the pair of breasts belong in fact to a young, modestly dressed blonde woman, with her hairy counterpart an attractive young man in a suit.
The ad is already causing quite the controversy on YouTube, with one user commenting: "Seriously, this is the definition of sexual objectification. This commercial is truly horrible. Really Axe? REALLY? This is shameful and disgusting and I can't wait to see the backlash that is already brewing".
Others wrote: "Who greenlight this sexist ass commercial? Please get fired", and "Great for the self esteem of balding people like me".
The only response from the brand is a statement below the video which says: "It's not our fault we're visual creatures". The ad was uploaded to the Axe YouTube channel on 20 August and has since clocked up 11,669 views.
The campaign is a stark departure from the brand's recent 'Fear No Susan Glenn' commercial which heralded 'Susan Glenn', and women in general, as god-given creatures adored by men for their intelligence, beauty and grace. The ad starred Keifer Sutherland as narrator and touched on the topic of school boy heartache, using 'Susan Glenn' to represent girls liked by adolescent males.
BBH New York is the agency behind the new campaign, also responsible for many of the brand's previous ads including 'Fear No Susan Glenn'.
What do you make of this ad? How do you think it would sit in the local market?
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