This ad for Axe shampoo (a men’s line under the Unilever brand) is set at a house party full of young people. A man walks through the crowded living room into an empty kitchen and is followed by a woman. After he enters the kitchen, she slams the door behind them both and says passionately “I just want to bury my face in your backside.” Then, she bends him over the oven from behind and rubs her hands and face all over the back of his hair. The man remains silent but looks pleased and excited. The final slogan is “Get some Hair Action with Axe shampoo,” with the words “Hair Action” illuminated in red neon lights. This ad, like many others selling the Axe brand since the early 2000s, suggests that its products can be used by men to attract women.
How would you describe the man and woman in this ad? Who has power? Why?
Does this ad use gender stereotypes (stereotypes of masculinity and femininity)? How would this ad look if the gender roles were reversed?
Why do you think the ad uses the tag line: “hair action” and why is it illuminated in red neon lights?
Do you think this ad might incite controversy? Why? Why not?