People always ask me "What is your favorite ad?"  While the answer is always changing, (currently Bud Light Lime), it's safe to say that I'll always have a sweet spot for men's personal care brands.  What do I mean by personal care?  I mean brands like Axe, Old Spice, and Mitchum.  Each one of these brands represents products for men that appeal to men therefore the obvious strategy is to advertise towards the standard target market:  men.

The new strategy I propose, with slight hesitation, is the possibility of brands creating campaigns aimed at those directly related to the target market, but not the target market itself.  If we look back at the case of Axe, Old Spice, and Mitchum, we'd be talking about a campaign directed at the target market's better half: women.

Before the negative comments start rolling in, please let me explain myself.

Let's use the Axe brand.  They make funny, sexy, dirty ads usually involving a large group of half-naked women chasing a a guy until they catch him and clean him up.  It's the Axe Effect.  Why do guys like it?  Because they get the idea that if they wash with this stuff, if they spray it on before they go out, they'll have no problem getting girls.  Trust me, I fell for it too.  We all wish it was that easy.

Axe has done a great job of winning the guys over though.  You can't open a Men's Health or Men's Fitness Magazine without flipping to a print ad and I can't help but notice the television ads during every MTV commercial break.  They've got interactive sites showing guys how to get girls, how to style your hair with their product, and how to choose a scent based on the type of girl you want to date.  What I'm getting at is:  I think guys finally get the point.
What can a brand do when it has already established an extremely brand loyal target market?  It can turn the market upside down!  I've came up with a proposal for Axe to put into effect.  I want you to tell me if it would be a smart idea or a waste of time and money.  It's based around the idea of "The Axe Upgrader."  It includes online, social media, interactive, mobile marketing, in-store ads, and promotional events - all marketed towards the girlfriends and mothers of the direct target market.  

Here's the campaign:

The“Axe Upgrader”

Medium:  Online Website

Description:  Interactive website that provides girls with the opportunity to turn their boys into men.  Games that provide girls the opportunity to upload their boyfriends pictures and change their hair and body styles around and email them to friends.  Tips and tricks on how to upgrade your boyfriend into a more stylish and hip guy.  Include blogs, videos, pictures and testimonials of men who have been given the Axe Upgrade.

Axe Upgrader Facebook Group : Females Only

Medium:  Social Media – Facebook

Description:  Interactive facebook group with discussion board, videos, boyfriend gallery, and advice column.  Basically a female version of the male group with over 1,350 members.

Axe Upgrader Photo Bus

Medium:  Promotional Event/Moving Marketing

Description:  An Axe Upgrader bus that would travel the country to female frequented concerts, parties, and events.  The bus would turn into a place to eat, drink, and take pictures with male models who would be endorsing the products.  Having the men take pictures with female guests and “wash and upgrade” themselves in front of the women at the various events over the course of the summer. 

Axe Online Advertisements

Medium:  Web Ads

Description:  Axe hair product ads on websites such as Perezhilton.com, Cosmopolitan.com, and other female frequented websites promoting the Axe products that can upgrade your son or your boyfriend.

Point of Purchase Ads
Medium:  In-store

Description:  Axe hair product point of purchase ads in an easily recognized and strategically designed promotional sales shelf.  Moms shopping for their sons can easily see that this is the newest, most stylish product and will try it out for their sons.

Mom’s Guide to the Axe Upgrader

Medium:  Website

Description:  The “mom-friendly” version of the Axe Upgrader website with information about the products, how they can give their sons style and confidence, and coupons and information on where to buy the products.  Ads linking to this website would be placed on banners on mom-frequented websites.

Here's the deal.

I hate shopping.  I think most guys feel the same.  We want our moms and girlfriends to buy everything for us, but we still want the best stuff out there, and usually moms and girlfriends don't know what to buy.  Do these two subgroups make up a big enough target market to make a difference or would Axe be wasting their time and money?

I want this to be bigger than just Axe, but it's tough to think of how many companies this strategy could apply to.  I mean, essentially it wouldn't be a successful solution for most brands but for Axe, I really think it works.  Could this apply to beer companies so girls know what to buy their man?  Could this apply to Bacardi and Smirnoff so guys can brush up on what to buy their girls?  I think the opportunities are pretty endless, but it's a whole new way of thinking.  

What do you guys think of my proposal?  Creating a new target market, based essentially off the opposite sex or opposite end-user.  I think it could be the next big marketing solution, but maybe I just got soap in my eyes.
Matt M
9/18/2009 04:20:33 am

I like it! I think it would work for Axe or clothing stores, but not Bacardi or Smirnoff. I can see my gf doing it for me for sure...

9/18/2009 04:44:27 am

This campaign idea is perfect for us girls who don't know what you boys want! I love the idea of uploading your boyfriend's picture to a website and being able to change his hair style based on the products that he uses. The ideas for moms are good, too, because a lot of boys that use Axe products are under 18 and still live at home. You are correct in saying that Axe advertises to boys a lot, and they definitely have gotten the message. Whether it be beer or hair products, it is time to focus on the girls so that they can make their boys happy!


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