Web Ad: Axe – “Showerpool”

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I chose to write about this ad because it stood out to me as different than most ads I find online, and because it piqued a huge reaction from me.

The ad promotes Axe’s interactive online campaign for “Showerpooling” (a term they coined).  The idea of “Showerpooling” is showering with members of the opposite sex to help save water for the environment, with the added bonus of getting to be naked with someone you’re sexually interested in.  The campaign is an interactive Facebook app that invites girls to “shower” with you.  The more women you can get to join your “showerpool”, the better you do.  There’s no prize for doing well in the game, except that you show your results on your Facebook page and this is supposed to impress your friends.  The entire campaign is cloaked in the idea of being more eco-conscious and eco-friendly by reducing the amount of water used for showering.  The underlying theme is using Axe shower products, because they attract women.

On one hand, I like the nature of this ad:  I like that it’s interactive, that it’s social, that is has a greater environmental message, and that it’s unlike any other ad campaign I’ve ever seen.  But that’s where it stops.  On the other hand, I absolutely despise this ad because I think it’s childish misogynist, somewhat homophobic and promotes an ignorant view of socially-conscious thinking.  I think it highly objectifies women, and plays into the double-standard of men being rewarded for their promiscuity and/or womanizing.

As much as I despise this ad, I unfortunately have to admit that I think it’s pretty effective.  I think even if they don’t take it seriously, tons of college age boys will use this and be entertained and therefore identify more with Axe products and want to buy them.  It taps into emotional appeals of wanting to be popular with women, and also with their male friends.  And in any case of criticism, they can point to the eco-friendly mission as a cover up.  Axe really has thought of everything.

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