The ‘Axe’ Effect – Part – II
The Axe brand set its foot firmly in the Indian market and also has etched the sex tag with perfumes and deodorants. The latest commercial made women sexily squeaking “Bom Chicka Wahwah” like kittens, when they stumble upon men bearing the irresistible (they call it so) Axe fragrance. Few products have showcased women folks to such a down grading level, and they try to showcase women as beasts craving for sex. In India one of the most bizarre functioning bodies is the Board of Censors. It has its own rules and regulations, most of which are not compatible for today.
The commercial world has long back given up its shallow representations of its products to attract the customers. They have moved into the much complicated psychological plain where they can exploit and design the customer needs. A plethora of examples can be given for this and you know most of them already.
In business none is bothered about the impact of an advertisement on the collective conscience of the society, a corporate or a company in smaller scale, be it any. All they are concerned about is a successful business model. Once a model proves effective (!) , many start to clone it. These clones of the business models contain everything like the original. The only difference being the product endorsed.
The sexy shade painted to the deodorant body sprays became a very popular and effective brand promotion tactics. This idea was borrowed many fragrance merchants to promote their products. Invariably all these commercials portray women as bitches (pardon me for offensive usage, but here it is inevitable) falling for men, for nothing but fragrance.
I too was not so serious about its impact on societal outlooks, until one of my pal a marketing personnel, working in an Indian corporate company shared his experience. His employers have entered into the consumer goods platform in the recent past. They have decided to launch high end body sprays targeting the Indian bourgeois.
A meeting was convened for the marketing team to discuss about the launch of the product. Naturally, my pal found his place in the meeting. A senior official has given a presentation on the product and by the end they had screened the new commercial that has been shot for the product promotion. The members of the team invariably sensed that the endorsement of the product pivoted around the idea of relating the sex appeal of men with the product.
During the discussion session quite a few, of whom a sizable were women, had raised their concerns about this. The presenter acknowledged and valued their sensibilities and concern. He later explained that the content of the advertisement has been designed only after a good research on the current consumer behavior. This is a clear indication of the attitudinal shift among the consumers that this kind of brand promotion has brought about.
One could find that in most of the commercials women are cleverly turned into commodities along with the products endorsed. This is dangerous.