Axe gets delirious to reach gamers

A series of ads created for platforms like Twitch aim to bring young men into the global "You're Gold" campaign.

Axe has launched a new campaign that aims to reach a younger target while still continuing its global mission to try and stay up to speed with more mature expressions of masculinity in society.

Earlier this spring, the Unilever brand launched the global “You’re Gold” campaign to support its Gold line of products. The series of ads take a quirky approach to celebrating moments when guys are able to stay confident through stressful situations.

As part of a Canada-specific execution focusing on the Gold body spray products, Axe worked with Sid Lee to create a series of bite-sized, 6- and 15-second videos – which it’s calling “deliri-ads” – specifically targeting gamers. The videos congratulate guys for keeping a cool head through what can sometimes feel like high-stress in-game situations with things like a pair of slick shades or an extra-rewarding high-five. The videos are also being served exclusively on YouTube, Twitch and Xbox to reach gamers on platforms where they are already active.

The Axe brand has been on a mission to shed some of its “less mature” baggage and redefine what its means to “be a man,” especially since the launch of its “Find Your Magic” campaign in 2016. Whitney Bell, senior brand manager for Axe and men’s grooming at Unilever Canada, says this new series of ads is building on that work, despite not being as “serious” as the “Find Your Magic” campaign’s launch spot or ongoing “#Selfmaker” documentary series.

“Self-acceptance, confident self-expression and true personal style are what really makes a guy attractive,” Bell says. “While the micro-ads are a bit quirkier and lighter, they were created to celebrate a confident subsect of guys who are doing their best to stay calm under pressure. The shift towards ‘less serious’ ads are a result of staying up to speed with what’s relevant to our core consumer, no matter the tone.”

“Our goal is to re-educate guys on what body spray is and give them tools to feel confident, no matter what life throws at them,” Bell says. “A new masculinity has emerged that is more dynamic, sophisticated and open-minded than ever before. For Axe that means we see it as our mission to be inclusive of all expressions of masculinity and help guys feel free to be themselves.”

Campaigns like “#Selfmaker” focus on entrepreneurs and “self-made men” and target slightly older men, but the target for this campaign is Gen Z. That’s a target that Bell says is not only actively gaming online, but also is very good at spotting disingenuous ads, hence the decision to “amp up” the humour and entertainment – even compared to some of the other “You’re Gold” creative.

“Online gaming platforms are increasingly relevant for the Axe consumer,” she adds. “These videos fit with the platform because they reference gaming and make subtle nods to the surreal things you might see when feeling ‘delirious’ after gaming all night.”