Axe: Fear no Susan Glenn


Executive summary

This is a story of how a seemingly innocuous bodyspray usage education brief turned into a critically important brand re-appraisal effort for Axe. It shows how strategic planning helped reveal a deeply worrying and urgent brand equity problem reveal the underlying problem behind soft sales. It provided the jumping off point and driving force for breakthrough creative work that left its mark not just on the brand's sales and equity. Most importantly for a youth brand, it became a creator of pop culture for young guys and girls across America, with the name Susan Glenn now a permanent part of their vernacular.

The challenge

When male grooming brand Axe launched in the US in 2002, it completely shook up its category with the new bodyspray format—a fragrance-led, everyday spray-on deodorant, with a seductive effect usually achieved with fine fragrance colognes. Its steady growth was fueled by the annual 'education' campaign— designed to help guys understand just how to use this new format.