Axe Detailer: Initiating a Change in Men's Showering Behavior

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Case Details:


Case Code : MKTG274 For delivery in electronic format: Rs. 400;
For delivery through courier (within India): Rs. 400 + Shipping & Handling Charges extra


Consumer Behavior / Marketing Communication / Brand Management
Case Length : 13 Pages
Period : 2008-2010
Pub Date : 2011
Teaching Note : Not Available
Organization : Unilever Plc
Industry : Consumer Packaged Goods
Countries : US


The case is about the promotional strategies used by Unilever's personal care brand for men, Axe, for its shower accessory the Axe Detailer, which was launched to encourage the increased use of the Axe Shower Gel. Launched in 1983, Axe's product line included grooming products for men such as deodorants, body sprays, shower gels, and hair care and styling products. Over the years, Axe's promotional efforts had been focused on the 'Boy gets Girl' theme, highlighting the strong fragrance as the product credential which attracts girl. With the success of its body sprays, Axe launched a line of anti-perspirant and deodorant sticks in 2004. The brand then expanded into shower gels for men in 2005.

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However, shower gel sales were not as expected as most of the target customers were more used to bar soaps and it was difficult to trigger a shift in their showering behavior. The management then decided to launch a new kind of shower accessory called the Axe Detailer to boost the sales of Axe Shower Gel. The case also discusses the promotional campaigns launched by Unilever for the Axe Detailer. Though these initiatives were successful in stimulating sales of the shower gel and the shower accessory, some critics questioned the ethics of the company saying that these campaigns were replete with offensive content. The case concludes with thoughts on how the global men's grooming market is flourishing with the entry of several new players and how the competition is heating up for Axe. This case is aimed at MBA/MS level students as part of the Consumer Behavior/ Brand Management/ Marketing Communication curriculum.


Understand the issues and challenges in changing consumers' behavior and perception
Understand the factors that contributed to the success of Unilever in the shower gel market
Study the marketing strategies adopted by Unilever to increase its use of shower gel
Study the campaigns launched by Unilever to promote the Axe Detailer.
Appreciate the importance of market research and application of consumer behavior insights in the development of a marketing strategy
Examine the future challenges for Axe in the men's grooming market and explore strategies that the company could adopt in the future.


  Page No.
Introduction 1
Background Note 2
Extending the Brand into Shower Gels 3
Promotional Campaigns for Axe Detailer 4
'Guywash' Campaign 4
Dirty Night Determinator 5
'Clean Your Balls' Campaign 6
Looking Ahead 7
Exhibits 8


Consumer behavior, Perception, Product development, Perception-changing communication, Target marketing, Positioning, Marketing communication, Branding, Brand extension, Consumer insights, Consumer survey, Adventurous marketing, advertising, Personal care market, Shower gel market

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