The Original Advertisement for Axe
Deconstruction of Advertisement
This is an advertisement for Axe, a product that brands hygienic products for both men and women, although the company tends to advertise in a way that it appeals to men more than women. Their other advertisements over the years have been produced in a manner similar to the one above, where the use of their product by a handsome model attracts women, often portrayed with sexual innuendos.
There are two parts to this problem. One, the advertisement sets an unrealistic standard of beauty for men and their ability to attract appealing women. It reaches out to an audience that may be deprived of a (sexual) relationship in their lives and attempts to solve the problem for them by selling their body wash product. However, the model is undoubtedly handsome with an attractive body build, creating an unhealthy perception of an ideal body image for men. To further exploit this point, in an even more absurd ad, there is an image of another handsome model who is seemingly “shedding” off his body fat through a body spray. This to me sends the message that any body type deviating away from the ideal one is unattractive and is ineffective in finding a relationship partner.
The second problem in this image is the gender roles given to these two models. The woman is portrayed in a very sexual manner, which on its own is not a problem. The problem arises because the image implies the woman as a sexual reward for being hygienic. It wrongly objectifies women as the sexual fantasies held by men, as a reward of fulfilling men’s fantasies for using their product.
The image above has been edited in a way that it address both the problems stated in the previous section. Each problem was approached differently, with the left half of the image taking a sarcastic undertone in delivering the original advertisement’s intentions, and in contrast, the right half is rather straightforward in rebuking what the original advertisement intended.
The left half of the image is the message the advertisement gives off to its audience. The original ad says “The cleaner you are, the dirtier you get”, implying that the usage of their product gives them the ability to sexually attract women. However, the original advertisement does not highlight the other implications it carries, as it is written in the jammed up image. Through this jammed image I wanted to invoke the absurdity of the messages within this advertisement and the unrealistic portrayal of the average consumer the ad represents.
The right half of the image rebukes the gender role the ad gave to women. It is a more realistic perspective of the advertisements outcome, and the caption was written in a way to break the objectification of women that was shown. It is also directed at the Axe product itself because most of its commercials and advertisement focuses on women being sexually attracted to men because of their smell and cleanliness. These advertisements however further stigmatize women and progress with the idea that women are to tend to sexual fantasies and live up to the role.
There is another image (below) that I jammed which better depicts how the advertisement should have been made. It gets rid of the subliminal messages hidden within the text and image, and is more straightforward in their product advertisement.