“Honey. Wash With This.”

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There is an interesting strategic disagreement going on in the men’s body wash category these days.  The commercials and video on TV and YouTube from competitors Axe and Old Spice focus on different targets. Old Spice, acknowledging that 70% of men’s body wash (a more expensive, soap substitute) is purchased by women, is using the much talked about “smell like a man” campaign from Wieden + Kennedy directed toward those women buyers. The campaign is smart because the message in not lost on men.  Conversely, the Axe work shoots straight at men, suggesting “Use Axe body wash and you won’t have to aks (New York for ask) girls out, they’ll flock to you.”  Axe is attempting to change behavior. That is, they’re trying to convince men, young and old, that it’s okay to use cleansing gels rather than the traditional, inexpensive, manly soap.    

Bud Light convinced young men that it’s okay to drink light beer, so growing the body wash category is not a bridge to far.   

It should be interesting to see who wins this strategic battle.  Will the guys without dates who are most motivated to spruce up not respond to the Old Spice work targeting women?  No, I think they will.  They’ll get the message.  But probably not ask strongly as they will receive the “chick magnet” ads from Axe and BBH. Will lady-less men’s mothers buy them body wash?  I hope not, that certainly will be counterproductive.  “Honey, I saw something on TV….” Peace.