Iconic Ads: Axe – Chocolate Man

Axe dark temptation

The advertisement capitalised on the Axe proposition of attraction/magnetism to the female audience.

As a young man gets ready in the restroom, the 60-second advertisement begins. When he uses the spray, he is instantly transformed into a chocolate man. The song Sweet Touch of Love by Allen Toussaint, released in 1970, is playing in the background as he glides through the world with the rigidity of a chocolate bar.

A new product variant for Axe called Dark Temptation was to be launched.  And a commercial had to be created. As part of Axe’s marketing strategy, the antiperspirant spray was marketed as a magnet for female attention. The question “What is one of the most irresistible things for women?” was the starting point for Mario Crudele and Mario Ponce of Ponce Argentina (the advertising agency).  They also came to realise that chocolate was one of them.

They believed that a guy who transforms into chocolate would be attractive to both men and women. They also felt that any man would fantasize about being treated like this.

In the Tom Kuntz-directed ad, we see an average-looking man in the bathroom spraying Axe on himself. He sets the deodorant down, and it’s clear that it’s been turned into chocolate. As he strolls around town, he sends the ladies into a tizzy. It’s all in good fun, and the chocolate man’s smile tonight is quite contagious.

It was a commercial in which the character was the star of the show. The whole commercial would have flopped if the chocolate guy didn’t look correct for the part.

It took a long time for the creative and production team to figure out if they wanted to be more literal or more abstract with the character this man evolved into. They came up with the notion of having him resemble chocolate, similar to how the Easter Bunny is portrayed. They decided to use the dazzling white eyes of one bunny they had found relevant.

India’s I & B Ministry deemed the commercial indecent and banned it, Other detractors said that the commercial was racist. Whatever the case may have been, it was an experience I won’t soon forget.

Axe’s “Chocolate Man” was a no-holds-barred, tongue-in-cheek, and at times misogynistic depiction of the brand’s proposition. A bold strategy was used by the business to convey to its intended audience that “ladies would flock to you if you wear our product”

The commercial was a huge hit and the product variant became the largest seller worldwide

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