Clearly Sex Sells Well: The Sexecutioner’s Axe

Manipulative techniques are a near universal component of mediated communication.  America, the mediated juggernaut, is no exception to this phenomena. Chuck Klosterman would probably even argue that Americans are the most manipulated population in the world.  As I was watching TV this weekend in my hotel room in Dallas, I saw countless manipulation techniques.  The most prevalent technique isn’t really a technique either, it’s more of an underlying message that sells and advertises well, because yes, it really is all about that in advertising, sex.  Since the beginning of recorded time, I would argue that sex or sex appeal has been a crucial part of society.  Look no further than countless famous works of art to see the appeal of sex in society for centuries upon centuries.  To see the idea of sex selling well in modern times, one must look no further than Axe commercials.

As a 20-year-old male, I can say first-hand that their advertising technique is brilliant. What young, adolescent male whose body is raging with hormones wouldn’t want hundreds of beautiful women swooning all over him?  Axe has clearly picked up on this by creating the “Axe Effect.”  Wearing or using an Axe product that will “make angels fall” is up to you, but this “Axe Effect” is proving to be a diabolical concoction that seems to have taken the middle school aged boys demographic by storm.  Not to digress from the actual technique at play here, the root of Axe’s success is clearly the power of sex or sex appeal to sell.

Every single one of Axe’s commercials involves a young man who uses an Axe product and almost magically attracts the opposite sex.  Some commercials prefer more of the before and after style in terms of use of Axe, others opt to show an “in group” that is using Axe products and finding success and an “out group” that is not having such success.  Other commercials such as this one, are the most brilliant because they don’t even involve the opposite sex, they are just funny in the most basic and immature sense of the word.

Despite the creative differences and multiple platforms of technique used, Axe has optimized the use of sex in selling their products.  The lure of attracting the opposite sex and being a part of the “in crowd” which is so ingrained upon the youth of America, is the basis of Axe’s campaign.  This technique, I will venture to say, is highly effective as millions of young males consume Axe products daily.  If there weren’t an outlet, Axe would have no success, but since there is undeniably an outlet, Axe is doing well.  It seems that if an audience member wants to immunize themselves against this genius ad campaign, they must re-wire their brain.  But in all seriousness, Axe commercials strike adolescent males on their most primal sense but if anyone searches for immunity all they need is a dose of common sense to realize that it probably is too good to be true.  Although self-admittedly, this Axe campaign is brilliant and can be very clever and humorous, it utilizes a technique or platform of sex and sex appeal to manipulate the consumer of the mediated communication.

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