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Submitted to: Submitted by:

Prof. Freda J. Swaminathan Aayush Kad 91061

FORE School of Management Anisha Malhotra 91067
Chitra Yadav 91076
Mukesh Goel 91093
Sucheta Sabarwal 91113

The Axe deodorant was first launched in the year 1983. It has been there in the market for the
last 26 years and is currently the best-selling brand of Unilever. It has earned an iconic status in
most of the markets it has entered. The story is no different for India.

Axe deodorant was launched in India during 1999. It was launched as a high price product and
initially the promotion was kept low. Axe at that time was the leading men's deodorant brand in
Europe and was popular in India in the Grey market. HLL had the brands Denim and Rexona and
was ruling the market. Axe was priced at a premium above the Denim brand which was
positioned as a male deodorant brand.

At the beginning the product promotion was not fine tuned according to the Indian market and
the same advertisements that ran in Europe were used for the Indian audience as well. Later the
promotion was adapted according to the Indian sensibilities. Axe in 2002 was having a market
share of over 35% and soon HLL phased out Denim brand to concentrate on this star performer.

Axe markets itself as the naughtiest brand in the Indian market. The brand is targeted at male
aged 16-25. All its campaigns revolve round this central theme of Seduction where Girl makes
the first move. This has a lot of subliminal implications. The brand assumes that Men like to be
seduced. That feeling of being seduced gives a big boost of self confidence to a man. Although
many brands take this proposition, Axe just made it perfect.
Along with these, the brand also ensured that customers are constantly engaged with new
fragrances and campaigns. In 2005, Axe had a high profile launch of its new fragrance CLICK
and before that there was Axe Land campaign and followed by Axe-Academy then Axe Voodoo
and Phenomenon. In the recent years, it has launched call me campaign.
Axe is one of the rare brands that have embraced new media to the maximum extent. The brand
has started its Internet based marketing initiative in India with Axe Land which involved a
virtual trip to the Axe world. Also to promote its chocolate variant, it declared November as the
month of chocolate. Yahoo web page was used extensively to promote this campaign.

Axe success in India is primarily based on its captivating communications strategy. It uses a
wide range of media to engage with the consumers. Its success is very much evident from the
fact that it is gaining acceptance in non-urban areas as well.


AXE used the following five communication tools for its promotion:

(1) Advertising

Advertising can be explained as a paid form of non-personal presentation and promotion

of goods. This is the tool primarily used by AXE as a mode of communication. In all its
TV commercials, print ads and billboards, AXE has tried to attract people with its
humour as shown in the ad below.
The ad shows that if you use ‘Axe’ then there will be seven Snow Whites instead of
Seven Dwarfs, and all of the snow whites will be attracted to you. If a person is very
thorough with a thing then they can say that the ad is depicting women as it shows
women being completely overwhelmed by nothing more then just a deodorant.

(2) Interactive Marketing

Interactive marketing includes various activities and programmes designed to engage

customers and directly or indirectly raise awareness. The company has a dedicated
website known as for promotion of existing AXE product line as
well as introduction of the new products. Advertisements of AXE are visible all over the
web in relevant web sites and the existing and prospective consumers can also
communicate with the company in an informal manner through their official communities
in various social networking sites like Facebook and Orkut.

AXE also introduced various campaigns like “Call Me”, “AXELand”, “AXEfeather” for

an increased customer engagement.

(3) Events and Experiences

Company sponsored activities and programs designed to create daily or special brand
related interaction come under this category. AXE organizes upbeat events for its new
product launches and it follows this strategy worldwide. Last year AXE successfully
launched five variants of New AXE Score, Dimension, Pulse, Touch, and Vice, featured
by an intriguing attraction wrapped up in a creative settings at Bunderan HI, Jakarta.
New AXE launch at Bunderan

Apart from its own product launches, Axe has sponsored a wide range of other events
like youth festivals, music shows where it can have an opportunity to interact with its
target audience as well as collect data for its market surveys.

AXE has targeted its products for males aged 16 to 25, hence it has always projected its
ads as if fulfilling some wild experiences which its target audience demand and thus
gaining their attention.

(4) Publicity

“Getting the girl has never been easier, thanks to the AXE effect”. AXE has always
promoted this idea and is evident in all of its advertisements and publicity stunts. Axe has
the right storytelling element and the video reinforces the brand's provocative and
contrarian personality, without constraints from TV and radio censors. AXE new
products are always awaited among its supporters and the company has always used
tactful strategies for successful launches. Press releases by the company have always
enjoyed a huge audience base and rarely disappointed them on technicalities. It has
always projected its products as cool, fashionable and stylish, these being the attributes
customers want from a product like deodorants.

(5) Word of Mouth Marketing

A good product also requires a good promotion strategy. AXE ad campaigns have always
been the talk of the town. The humor in the ads travels from person to person and thus
creating a positive vibe throughout its existing and prospective customers. Through its
ads AXE has always tried to capitalize on the hidden fantasies people have and bringing
them up as a subject of discussion.


Packaging involves designing and producing the container or wrapper for a product. Growing Use of
packaging as a marketing tool is now evident because of the following reasons

1. Self service
2. Consumer affluence: consumers are now willing to pay a little more for convenience, appearance
and prestige of better packages.
3. Company & Brand Image: Instant Recognition
4. Innovation Opportunity

AXE keeps on innovating its packaging designs. The AXE deodorant bottles communicate a
great sense of style, uniqueness and an upmarket feel which attracts its target audience that is the
youth and also catches the eye of other people.
Labeling, that is the printed information on the bottles, is also a part of the packaging. AXE
chooses different designs for different variants making its presence more evident and stylish
Different packages of AXE

AXE’s “Call Me Campaign”

Did you call 9987333333?

AXE is known for its cheeky, in-your-face campaigns that end up generating buzz, and its new
thematic brand campaign, ‘Call Me’, is no different. Targeted at the young urban male, the cool
and youthful brand is positioned as one that helps guys get ahead in the mating game.

The new campaign, launched in early March showed girls swooning over Axe men and giving
them their telephone numbers. Both films end with the girls giving the boys the number
09987333333. Through a series of ads in print, outdoors and television, viewers are being
encouraged to call this very same number.
When you will call on the Axe number, you get to talk to Axe Girl "Tanya" who asks you about
"AXE effect". Then you will hear the message like, ‘Hi, My name is Tanya. If I think
you have the Axe effect you could win some great prizes like an iPod or, hey, even the
latest iPhone.’, ‘If I say I’m cold, would you give me a hug? Yes or no? Press 1 for
yes, press 2 for no’, ‘If I ask you to take me for a ride on your bike, would you?’ etc.
As part of the ‘Wake Up’ service, Tanya would also call the person back at the pre-
determined time he has set for the next five days.

This is the best Campaign to engage the consumer by using Mass Media to drive an on-ground
activation exercise. It is not related to the sales of the Product that is why lakhs of
consumers are calling on this number. Priya Nair, general manager, deodrants, HUL
says that the company was targeting 10 lakh calls in three months but within a month
of the campaign breaking they have received 27 lakh calls, 5 lakh wake-up alarm
requests and 30,500 ‘Hey Axe man’ ringtones have also been downloaded. She says
that most customers were pleasantly surprised to find Tanya on the other side.

To give further momentum to the idea, the print campaign had ads creating hype about a
condition called ‘numberitis’ affecting women, which was “a condition affecting
women characterized by an uncontrollable urge to give away one’s mobile number to
great smelling men.”

Interestingly, Axe has also done an on-ground activation in the form of postcard branding where
it has tied-up with Lee stores in Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Bangalore and Kolkata. When
someone — ideally a guy — tries on a pair of jeans or a shirt in the store, he will find
a Polaroid picture in his pocket of a beautiful girl with her phone number, or a visiting
card with the number and the message ‘Call me’. The activity was done in 24 stores in
where approximately 1300 Polaroid’s and 500 visiting cards were placed per store.
The cards ensure guaranteed interaction with a focused target audience as the cards are
placed in youth hang outs and cards — and thus the brand message — are being
picked up voluntarily.
Axe campaigns have always been very integrated and are not linked to sales directly as the
customer doesn’t have to buy a product to participate in a contest. It has always been a fun
interaction between the brand and the consumer. So this time also customers were not hesitant to
call in.

With the 300 million plus mobile subscriber base in India, the mobile engagement model allows
a scalable and personalized engagement activity. Axe has smartly leveraged this
opportunity, allowing for a fun interaction between brand and buyer.


The axe undertook the click campaign in 2006 to promote its new fragrance “CLICK”. It was a
pan-global campaign which was mainly targeted at young males. Their main objective was to
start a social phenomenon called “Clicking”. The device used in this campaign was a clicker
which was basically used for counting. It was distributed to the axe users around the world to
keep a count of the girls they get along with. This campaign was well supported by the Axe
websites. It proved to be a virtual world where guys could gather and share the information
regarding “clicking”.

This campaign was implemented in two phases. In the first phase a small teaser site with the
name of was launched. Its main aim was to generate excitement around this
campaign and encourage males to use clickers. In the second phase full site was launched with
additional features of an interactive game and downloads. In order to encourage competition
among the users, each week top 'clickers' for each country have their name displayed on the
weekly leader board. The top clicker of the week wins a prize and is also recognized in the hall
of fame.

This campaign also used television as a medium to interact with the consumers. The TV
commercials featured Hollywood actor Ben Affleck as he was well suited to the role of an
ordinary man getting female attention. This campaign turned out to be huge success with its
website registering 2 million visitors. Moreover, this successful campaign was used as a central
theme in newer markets like India, Thailand, The Philippines and Puerto Rico.

The Click campaign is an apt example of successful interactive marketing which directly
engaged its consumers with the brand although in a virtual world of internet. This campaign also
used the sales promotion tool of contest which drew a quicker buyer response while adding value
to the consumer by instilling more confidence in him. The campaign is also a good example of
360 degree marketing as TV commercials and events also supported this campaign along with
the usual tools of interactive marketing.

NOVEMBER 2008- “Chocolate Month Of The Year”

Axe launched another campaign in November 2008 to promote its new variant Axe Dark
Temptation in India. It was undertaken in association with Yahoo. It was 24 hour online
campaign in which a dark man was placed in the centre of the homepage on 14th
November. If anyone visited the homepage then this dark man was converted to chocolate man
after the deodorant was sprayed on him. This man then goes inside the banner ad after which the
real consumer engagement began.

If the visitor clicked on this banner ad then the content on the homepage changed into the
chocolate related stories and the logo of Yahoo changed into a brown colored logo with
chocolate dripping from it. If continued further then the service of sending a box of chocolates to
a girl was also available. This service was made available only if the person visited the site of
Axe which required him to fill a form. This campaign was mainly used to capture the attention of
the young internet users who visited the Yahoo webpage. This campaign had the capacity of
reaching 3.5 million users of Yahoo.

This campaign was a part of an overall communications strategy used for the Axe Dark
Temptation variant. This campaign was also backed up with the TV commercials and was
specially designed for the Indian consumers. This campaign again highlights the importance of
internet as a medium of communication especially if the target audience is young.

SWOT Analysis


AXE has a unique value proposition in the market. It enjoys the position of the market leader as
well. “The AXE Effect” portrays AXE deodorants as not just a product to be used to smell good
but it actually is a feeling to be experienced. AXE has campaigns that are frequently talked about
and keep their consumers engaged like the “Call Me” and “Click” campaigns. AXE has always
associated itself with adventure and thus attracting its primary audience. AXE is now also
venturing new areas other than the urban cities in search of its secondary audience and it has
received a warm welcome their too.


AXE has always targeted the young males from the age group of 16 to 30 and that is very limited
looking at the macro view. Even the new products from the AXE stable like the hair gels and
other creams target the same segment. Hence its promotion campaigns though loved by a large
number of people, the product caters only to a few. Even its adventurous style of advertising is
gaining the brand some negative publicity, specially in a traditional country like India.


AXE can find an all new market segment to cater by introducing products for women, fairer sex
being more involved in beauty related products. It can enlarge its customer base by giving
products for other age groups also.


AXE faces threats from products like ‘SetWet Zatak’ which try to follow AXE in its promotion
strategy. AXE also sees competition from imported products that spend less on advertising
campaigns but have an increasing market share on account of ‘change’ that customer demands.