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Two years ago, commercials for Axe brand men’s grooming products depicted handsome heterosexual dudes becoming irresistible to women and defying death itself after using their body spray. The message was clear: Our products make you more attractive.
But earlier this year, the brand unveiled a more inclusive “Find Your Magic” campaign, ditching its old messaging for ads that challenge traditional notions of what it means to be a sexually desirable man. Their new message: Being authentic makes you more attractive.
Axe released their latest commercial for the campaign two days ago. It’s entitled, “Is it ok for guys….” Let’s take a look:
The commercial uses a first-person point of view and has many different men’s voices asking:
Is it okay to be skinny? Is it okay to not like sports? Is it okay to be a virgin, to experiment with other guys? Is it okay for guys to wear pink? Is it okay for guys to be nervous? To have long hair? To like cats? To take a selfie? To shave your—? To be depressed? To be scared? Is it okay for me to be the little spoon?
The ad then reads, “These are the real questions guys are searching every day. Go online to search and see for yourself,” and ends with the words, “Is it okay for guys to be themselves?”
It seems a psychological exploration of their first “Find Your Magic” ad (below) which featured a presumably queer black man dancing in heels and two hipsters cruising each other at a record store:
Matthew McCarthy, senior director of Axe told Adweek, “Masculinity today is going through seismic changes. More than ever, guys are rejecting rigid male stereotypes… Axe champions real guys and the unique traits that make them attractive to the world around them.”
On one hand, it’s a bit sad that toxic masculinity has poisoned our society to a degree that young men need a commercial telling them they can wear pink, love cats and kiss men without being considered feminine, and yet it’s cool that a mainstream men’s brand is helping deconstruct such worthless gender stereotypes.