-UPDATE- I apparently don’t know how to link properly. Ad Turn-Offs link now fixed!
From Ad Turn-Offs:
I could write a novel on how reliably Axe ads piss me off. Honestly, an entire novel. Axe has a history of putting out some of the most ridiculously sexist adverts I’ve ever seen. In that context, their “Bom Chicka Wah Wah” campaign doesn’t disappoint.
The premise is simple. A woman is placed into an ordinary, everyday situation (ie, a dinner party, a classroom, or a dentist office). A man walks into the room, presumably wearing the company’s product. The woman immediately stops what she is doing, and makes an utter fool of herself by undulating sensually, and loudly singing “Bom Chicka Wah Wah” to the man. The phrase “Bom Chicka Wah Wah” is a reference to the cheesy music used in pornographic videos, and is colloquially used to imply an impending sexual encounter.
By treating women as objects in their ads, Axe is alienating a significant portion of their primary shoppers. Wives, girlfriends, and mothers purchase toiletries for men all the time. You’d better believe that I’d think twice before purchasing this product for a man that I am close to, even though I happen to actually enjoy the scent.
I don’t think that the basic premise is bad. Obviously, the idea is to create an association between the pleasant smell of the product and the end goal of attracting women, I get that. That in itself is fine. But you can create that association without treating the women like fools, or sexual objects. A few years back, an advertisement for Tag Body Spray (or possibly Axe, I’ve searched all over and can’t confirm) took a slightly different approach. A man drove a scooter up to a building. His girlfriend was riding behind him on his bike, her arms wrapped snugly around his torso. The man gets up, takes his helmet off, and walks into the building, with his girlfriend still hugging him tightly, while smiling. This is miles away from Axe’s “Bom Chicka Wah Wah” and “Axe University” campaigns (ugh ugh ugh), or even the current Tag campaigns (Strip Poker, anyone?).
I suppose what gets me is the idea that women have no desires or needs of their own, and will automatically become sex-crazed fools for men who have nothing going for them beyond conventionally good TV looks and pleasing odours.
Ad Turn-Offs, check us out!