In 2015, The Axe Effect turned 20 years old. In its lifetime, it had become one of the most iconic global advertising ideas in the world and brought unprecedented growth to the brand.
However, from 2014 to 2015 the signs were clear that the sales pitch of "spray to get laid" was losing its potency. Growth was slowing to a standstill, and brand equity measures were declining fast. Older guys were aging out of the brand more quickly, and younger guys were becoming harder to recruit.
How was a huge market leader - which still commanded the same brand associations and memory structures, as well as enormous awareness - losing its mojo?
The world had changed, our guys had changed. And it was time to figure out how Axe should change with him. Axe had a vast amount of research,which chimed with our cultural hunch, and provided a good starting point: Young guys seemed to aspire less to traditional macho ideals: muscles, toughness, money, and sexual prowess. Instead, and above all, they aspired to be "their own man, in their own way".