When watching Axe’s Peace fragrance Super Bowl advertisement one must ask what racialized and gendered messages it conveys. It makes reference to different eras of world conflict and that this fragrance has led to their resolution through romance. It attempts to glorify conflict by developing a message that even in the middle of conflict a small spark of love can rectify what is going on. The Axe Peace ad campaign plays on the stereotypes of certain areas of the world and although it may not make direct reference, there are uncanny resemblances between the scenes and real world events.
Axe Peace Advertisement
The different settings of the Axe Peace advertisement resemble 4 separate times of major conflict in the world. Examples are: the war ravaged streets of a European city, what looks like Kim Il Sung Square in North Korea, rice fields of Vietnam and the palace of an Iranian prince. These resemblances are not by coincidence. The makers of the commercial placed these in for a reason in an attempt to implement diversity, but it was at the expense of reinforcing racial stereotypes. First of all the scene depicting World War Two contains two white, presumably German/Russian people, both Caucasian and one being of what Hitler described as his Aryan Race(blonde hair/blue eyes). The male exits a tank and the woman runs and embraces him. The setting assumedly North Korea, bears witness to a scene that is under a communist regime from the perspective of the leader, there is a lack of emotion being portrayed except a mild hand-hold at the end of the scene. Leading to the image that communist North Korea lacks emotion. The scene similar to the Vietnam War combines what looks like an American G.I. and a Vietnamese rice farmer, from a poor environment deep in the forest giving the image of the humble rice farmer. The man exits a helicopter loaded for battle and the man and woman embrace passionately. Lastly there is a scene believed to be some form of Arabic royalty, containing what appears to be an entourage of advisors and servants all characters are dressed in long robes and adorned with a lot of jewelry. The Arabian royal figure is holding what seems to be a bomb detonator. Thus enhancing the stigma of islamaphobia and how many perceive people of the Arabic culture as terrorists who blow things up. All of these scenes are enhancing stereotypes through racial messages of how contemporary society views these events.
Kim Il Sung Square, North Korea
Scene from commercial
All 4 scenes contain what are recognized as potential stressful situations. But as the advertisement progresses it is evident that all characters are in love and romanticized events occur. The Europeans embrace on the tank when the male emerges, the North Korean leader appears to be proposing to his wife, the Man jumps out of the helicopter to kiss the Vietnamese woman and the Arabic leader sets off fireworks with the detonator. These events seem to be romanticizing war and touching on male fantasies of what they believe war would be like.
If one looks at the gender roles of all the characters, the male is the dominant figure with the power, influence and weapons while the female seems to be submissive and in the background until they are wooed by their male counterpart. The Vietnamese and European women are both civilians caught up in a war. The Korean and Arabic women are the partners of a leader of some sort. Thus establishing the gendered roles of dominates male and the subordinate role of the female. The commercial is objectifying women as trophies for men to win with their romantic acts.
Axe is infamous for their unorthodox commercials that sexualize cologne. They market through expressing fantasies of the average male. Their target market being men ranging from 18-mid 30’s. In previous commercials Axe sexualizes cologne in the sense that if one were to use it that man would be irresistible to women. Axe Peace gives the image that chivalry works just as much as sexuality and that the man wearing axe peace will have a romantic experience of royalty.
The advertisement for Axe peace exemplifies what should not be included in commercials. The racialized and gendered messages being conveyed are enhancing unhealthy stereotypes. It is prying scenes from past times of extreme global conflict and promoting the cologne with western ideas of how these events occurred.