Dear Axe and BodMan,
You have a lot in common, primarily that you are nearly the exact same product – both manly-scented deoderizing body sprays. There are 2 major differences:
1. BodMan has been around a heck of a lot longer (in the US, it seems – see Post Script)
2. Axe (known as Lynx across the pond) is hugely successful; BodMan is not. (Side Note: Tag Body Spray has attempted to piggy back on Axe’s strategy but has not been nearly successful due to the fact that it’s a lame imitation.)
Now why the difference between Axe and BodMan? Simply marketing.
You can watch a BodMan ad here.
If you didn’t check it out, here is the description: Sweaty men playing football, dated up-tempo music, woman saying “Hot bod, I want your bod” and an image of cheapo-looking, clear containers filled with a concotion that looks radioactive. It’s cheesy and unappealing to men. Sure it plays on women being attracted to men, but the execution is horrific. For a description that illustrates my point, read the post by Stinger97 on this forum. (These ads were running in 2007, think about that.)
Guys probably got Bod Man only when their well-meaning mothers stuck it in their stockings to give them a sly reminder to freshen up.
On the other hand, Axe stormed onto the seen with controversial ads that appealed to men’s basic instincts – getting laid. And if smelling good is what it takes, men will cover themselves in Axe. (Trust me, I know more than a few.) I had a friend who initially thought Axe was lame, but the advertising was edgy enough to grab the interest of some women as well and pretty soon he was going through a can a week.
Additionally, Axe has gotten extremely creative. There have been entire programs that are, quite simply, Axe ads. They’ve aired both on Spike TV and MTV (Game Killers). Spike TV aired “Exposing the Order of the Serpentine,” an alleged 30 minute news-doc about how a secret cult of men who, I guess, worshipped snakes and got laid by beautiful women. This was, of course, an extended ad for Axe’s Snakepeel Body Wash. Some people might find it a bit sleazy, but the content could be considered actually entertaining, which is where Axe always scores big. Sure it’s a little risque at times, but that it what Axe is going for and the audience eats it up. At times, it is even artsy. Check out this Lynx (Axe in England) ad:
Seriously, I could see an NYU student hawking this thing at an independent film festival.
Additionally, Axe has nailed the product packaging where BodMan also miserably failed. Instead of the hideous container that (I’m pretty sure) is fashioned to look like sculpted abs that Bod Man uses, Axe has sleek black containers with abstract graphics. Bod Man has updated the look on some of the products, but if you check out their website…Well…see for yourself.
The point being, Bod Man could have been Axe six or seven years before Axe came on the scene – though I would have dropped the “Man” half of the name.
As I’ve said before, strategy makes all the difference.
PS. Evidently, Axe, you launched in France (huh, really) in ’83. Although you didn’t come bounding onto the scene in the US til around ’03. Maybe you were spending those 20 years perfecting your tactics. Though I must say, I associate the french with sex…but not using smelling good to get it. Points to ponder, I suppose…