Procter & Gamble
This conglomerate has tried its hardest to make its offbeat Old Spice ads as bro-tastic as possible and establish itself as the official deodorant of the NFL.
Yet, for the second straight year, P&G is taking fire from a competitor that smells remarkably like a junior high locker room after gym class.
Axe is back, and parent company Unilever is spending another $4 million to follow up last year's debut. In 2013, its Axe Apollo ad offered 23 seats aboard a private spacecraft. This year, Axe went surprisingly sober and adult with its message, unveiling a 60-second version of an ad for its new Axe Peace promoting love and peace over war and conflict. Given the Axe brand's history to date, this could have been incredibly trite and sophomoric. Instead, it's a cogent, well-expressed message that nominally mentions the product it's promoting.
P&G, meanwhile, has responded with absolute silence. Given the circumstances, that's probably for the best. Old Spice Man has no answers for such a serious statement.
-- Written by Jason Notte in Portland, Ore.
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