Axe was born in France in the Year 1983. 24 years later, this brand is Unilever’s bestselling brand worldwide. It is also one of the rare brands which can boast of replicating its entire marketing mix across geographical boundaries. The campaigns that we see in India are the same as elsewhere abroad.
- Axe Effect
The Axe deodorant was popular in India in the Grey market (duty paid shops). Impressed by the volume of Axe sold there, Axe deodorant was launched in India in 1999. The brand launch was very quiet and had the strategy of ‘High Price, Low Promotion’. At that time, the deo market was a nascent one with an estimated market size of Rs 72 crore. HLL, at that time, had the brands Denim and Rexona and was ruling the market. Axe was priced at a premium above the Denim brand (also a mens deodorant brand). In just three years flat, Axe had a market share of over 35% and HLL started phasing out Denim to concentrate more on Axe.
Axe, one of the naughtier brands in India, is targeted at males aged 16-25. The brand is positioned in a manner to promote itself on the underlying message that (a) Axe users are high on confidence, and (b) women are seduced by Axe users and hence, they make the first move. What makes the brand even more approachable is that no hunks are used in the ads, rather ordinary, regular guys are seen as getting hit on by girls.
Along with these, the brand also ensures that customers are constantly engaged with new fragrances and campaigns. Over the years, Axe has had high-profile launches of its new fragrance CLICK, the Axe Land campaign, Axe-Academy, Axe Voodoo and Phenomenon. Axe has also started its Internet based marketing initiative in India with Axe Land which involves a virtual trip to the Axe world. Another web initiative was The Axe Effect. Check it out at http://www.theaxeeffect.com.
Online involvement, intensive viral ads plus chat room activity involving consumers talking about AXE, their favourite fragrances, the AXE effect, their experiences in the mating game – all played a role in the powerful brand building of Axe. For instance, dozens of bloggers who were intrigued by the Pitman anti-perspirant deodorant print campaign chose to write about it and referred over 100,000 consumers to the Axe website to play the game and try to get a keychain.
Not only does the brand use TV commercials to its advantage, but it also uses its print ads effectively. Besides print, the brand also uses outdoors for maximum impact. Hence, Axe is a classic example of the 360 degree branding effort.