So What Does Axe Smell Like?

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As a brand and marketing commentator it’s hard not paying attention to the Unilever brand Axe.  I’ve written about it with some frequency as have many business pundits. The brand and its wonderful ad agency BBH have innovated and made mad market share headway over the years. Axe created the first body wash for men/boys as far as I know – they are a category pioneer.   

What I find ironic about Axe Body Wash and Axe anything, is that I cannot remember ever having smelled the stuff.  My son Nits has left the house many times smelling like French “you know” but I have no clue what he was dipped in.  Body wash, cologne-ey stuff, Axe, Old Spice, Stop & Shop. Who knew?  He has used Axe (I woke him this morning to confirm). 

So what does that say about Axe marketing, which most people would agree is superior?  It says to me that it is missing an experiential component. If the stuff smells good, and I have to assume it does, why can’t I recall its scent? Where is the muscle memory I have for, say, Burger King? Where’s taste test… I mean scent test?  I’m not the target, but I’m a potential buyer and gifter.  Come on Axe, don’t go all Bloomingberg’s (Thanks cousin Thom Fleming. Hee hee.) on me and spritz me as I walk by —  but get me a sniff or two. Trial is the stuff of which market share growth is made. Peace!