Posted by: eldrickbone | October 30, 2014

How Axe body spray won me over in 2003

As I was reading Spreadable Media, I could not help but laugh as I read about marketing techniques and shared fantasy. I began to reminisce.

In 2003, I was 12 years old and the boys’ locker room was smelling funky as it naturally should. I would see other boys putting on deodorant after P.E. class and then going about their business. I, embarrassingly, was still using my father’s deodorant in the morning’s before school. I thought it was time for this boy to become a man and have his own smell. Axe deodorant came to mind.

The commercials were always the same: man puts on body spray and instantly becomes irresistible to women, another desire I had at that age. I went to the store by my house before school, bought a can, sprayed it on after P.E. and found the first girl in my line of sight and said “smell me.” She took a whiff followed by a befuddled look. I shared the same look, but for a different reason. I did not understand why she wasn’t immediately all over me. The verdict, Axe doesn’t work.

This story is not about how Axe should stop claiming it has a bewildering effect on females. It is about how their marketing team used my need and my fantasies for their profit. They stereotyped men, what they should want as men and us, the prepubescent boys in the locker room, fork over our money. Well played Axe, well played.


  1. Similarly as I was reading Spreadable Media, I also reflected on the marketing strategies used for products that succeeded on linking as you described, “my need and my fantasies” for profit. Growing up in Brooklyn, NY basketball was a huge part of my life.

    As you described your experience with Axe deodorant I couldn’t help but reminisce and laugh about the frenzy, and placebo effect that Reebok started when they introduced the “Reebok Pump”. The Reebok Pump was a premiere basketball shoe. The purpose of the shoe was to provide more comfort and protection to the ankles to significantly decrease common injuries suffered on black tops around the world. However this wasn’t the selling point Reebok marketing team chose to highlight when targeting youth.

    Instead they created a narrative, a “fantasy” that every kid dribbling a basketball dreams of; to one day soar through the air and dunk like their favorite NBA players. This calculated narrative was achieved in 1991 when Dee Brown won the all-star weekend dunk competition while wearing a pair of Reebok pumps. But what created this ‘fantasy”, was when Dee Brown inflated the Reebok Internal Bladder a few times right before his winning dunk.

    The message delivered was simple. Before attempting to dunk, pump your Reebok Pumps a few times and prepare to soar. From that day on every kid would lace their shoes, give the shoes a few pumps, and envision them like dunking like Dee Brown.

  2. Youtube video for previous post/comment:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: