Since Axe is all about helping its male consumers out with the ladies, why not just let them know exactly what women want? Axe Puerto Rico and DDB decided to do just that—so they conducted The Sexy Beast Survey, which sounds like an enlightened, fun idea in keeping with the newer, more progressive Axe branding.
Until you think about it for a minute.
This survey asks women bad Cosmo-style questions and then attempts to create a physical picture of "what women want"—by distorting an average-sized digital male avatar to comic proportions.
The questions include such absurdities as:
He's Jack and you are Rose, the Titanic has sunk and you're floating on a table in the middle of the ocean. He:
1. Kisses you like it's the last time. Literally.
2. Finds a way to make you feel safe in spite of the hypothermia.
3. Makes jokes so you forget how close death is.
4. Before he freezes, leaves all of his belongings to you.
Thus, I got to choose whether I was interested in sex, security, a man who can make me laugh, or a man with a lot of cash. They then showed me my "ideal man"—a picture of a long-tonged, big-eared, creepy purple monkey creature whom they claimed was a visualization of my perfect sexy beast.
Well, it was certainly beastly. I think it was supposed to be funny.
On the surface it seems like they were trying hard. We're asking women what they want this time! But we only have a specific set of predetermined answers that allow them to pick which stereotype they want. We're helping men know what women want! But we're showing them a creepy distorted figure that's sure to mess with their self-image when we list big feet and a six-pack as key features.
See, who needs a six-pack when you've got the nose, as 72andSunny's remarkable new Axe ad pointed out? What's valuable about you is going to be different from guy to guy. Trying to figure out what all women want, when different women want different things, and trying to conform to a single image of ideal guyness, is dangerous. It's a driver for eating disorders and a call for mean guys to be douchebag enforcers of a single male ideal. It's actually more dangerous than Axe's previous brand of ridiculous male fantasy advertising.
See, Axe is a brand that is sorta, kinda, maybe trying to clean up its image a little—moving from juvenile hyperbole (one spray of our product and women will come running from all corners of the world to attack you with sex!) to the reality that taking a bath and smelling decent is table stakes, and beyond that you actually have to ante up something of value to stay in the game.
This quiz won't give the men of Puerto Rico anything of value. Trust me on this, guys, a billion Cosmo style quizzes will not help you figure out what women want because different women want different things. Some want the six-pack, yeah, but others want the nose, the suit, the moves, the fire. You do you.
Just make sure you work on it. Bathing, grooming and, yes, smelling decent are a requirement. Just not a guarantee.