Culture Jam

Original ad

This advertisement was part of a Mexican campaign in 2010 to promote a product called the “Axe Ex-Friend”. Basically this slogan is supposed to describe your relationships after you use the product—you will go from friend to lover. Though I can see this is a ridiculous premise, the ad is not directed towards me, it is aimed towards males aged 15-30. Axe is notorious for their sexist advertising through building up the machismo of men and the objectification of women. The writing at the top of the ad says “If you help her choose the clothes someone else will tear, she’s seeing you with braids.” This message insinuates that the sole purpose of men interacting with women is for sexual gratification. It assumes that a woman will eventually have her clothes torn off when she finally encounters someone who is “man” enough to pursue her. Not only does this objectify women making them prizes to be attained, but it also serves to emasculate men that are friends with women. The ad suggests that if you are friends with a woman, they will never have any desire for you and will only see you “with braids” (ie. not a man). The bottom of the ad reads, “stop being a friend and start being a man”. This statement further demonstrates the message that value in a woman is not based on qualities found in friendship but through the sexual pleasure they can provide.

The ad also depicts three skinny yet busty women all dressed in undergarments surrounding their awkward male companion who is clearly stuck in the “friend-zone”. The representation of half-naked slim women generates unrealistic expectations for men and promotes a negative body image for women. Self-criticism in conjunction with the harsh judgment of men can greatly damage the psyche of females who do not have the body type that society has deemed ideal.

Jammed Version

In my jammed version of the ad I changed the text to bluntly reflect the toxic underlying message in this campaign. The text at the top of the ad states “women are yours for the taking, so be a man and get it done.” I wrote this because it exaggerates how in this ad (as well as most Axe campaigns) women are seen as objects and their presence is just for the sexual gratification of males. This may not even be that big of an exaggeration as the actual ad states that a woman’s clothes will be torn off by a man at some point. I also changed the bottom text to “because who want to just be friends with a woman?” Even the name of this product, Ex-Friend, suggests women serve no purpose to men as just friends. I altered the name of the website from to because they are essentially conveying the same message. The idea in the original ad is that if a man is friends with a woman, then she does not see him as a man at all. In addition, I attempted to make it look as if the male was wearing lipstick. This was to highlight the absurdity of being emasculated by using traditionally feminine styles on a male.

Lastly, I (tried to) replace the focal female in the ad with a mannequin to further exaggerate the objectification of women in this campaign. A mannequin is designed to look like the ideal women and does not have any personal qualities that hold value. This is much like the women portrayed in this ad, beautiful yet there is no value in their relationship as friends.

This style of advertising is prevalent in today’s society and perpetrates a toxic message that is becoming engrained in the minds of young men. It is obviously not rational but rather has an emotional appeal to men. This blatantly sexist advertising could have a large detrimental impact on our society and how men view and subsequently treat women.