axe isn’t making a claim, it’s making a joke

I am usually adamantaly against overpromising in advertising, especially in this day and age. Interconnectivity is so fast and easy that the word gets out quickly…and all the lovely advertising and all of the frantic PR in the world is not going to make up for the fact that consumers think you’re full of shit.

As Tangerine Toad says:

“More than anything, we need to be honest. To tell consumers the truth without bragging and with the realization that they’re going to fact-check us. So that lines like “it’s got the best rear bumper washing system of any car in its class” won’t cut it if that’s because it’s got the only rear bumper washing system of any car in its class because all the other cars in its “class” have bumpers that never need washing.”

Yet, sometimes, overpromising is good because it is so ridiculous, so over-the-top that it makes the product relevant, irreverant and considerable where is once wasn’t. Like those Old Spice spots from Weiden and Kennedy, or the Axe body spray ads:

These ads are so outrageous in their “claim” that it doesn’t overpromise…while sort of overpromising. If I am a fourteen year-old guy I know that no girl is going to come up to me in the grocery store and start dancing for me. For that matter, I know that no girl is going come up to me in the grocery store and talk to me. In fact, as a fourteen year-old, based on past experience, I know that it is unlikely that a girl will talk to me anywhere. But if anything is going to help me make that happen, Axe is.

Plus the ads are funny and tonally perfect for the target.

Compare that with GOT2B Magnetik hair gel which claims to be infused with pheremones. They, apparently, will make you more attractive to the opposite sex.


I remember this plotline. I saw it in a movie once and it even made me interested in chemistry, until I realized that real life didn’t work like the movies. So I turned to advertising.

Adrants thinks that this claim is similar to Axe’s claim, but has it wrong. Axe isn’t making a claim, it’s making a joke. It says that its product has added “Bom chicka-wah-wah” which, I am pretty sure, is not real. Magnetik actually talks about the chemistry of pheremones. They are completely serious about this.

I don’t know for sure, but based on my limited knowledge of chemistry, Magnetik’s is a clear case of overpromising.

And their “make your own sex molecule” idea is boring.


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