Between White Label (eeeeyyyy Mountain Dew!), Matte Effect, Signature, and whatever the heck they are calling the standard line that has Kilo and Phoenix and them, the Axe branding model looks more like a rubber band ball at present.
The packaging of Axe products has seen two facelifts in five years, and with classics like Pepsi not even budging their font since the late 2000s, this may be a red flag of a brand fighting for relevance in a world of marketing old brands as something more posh and more new than they actually were.
The line expansion done correctly was Old Spice’s Fresher, Wild, and Hardest Working collections. Personally I could do without the hypermasculine jargon on the labels (then again Marines are hyped anyway simply for being Marines), but the brand has maintained a steady line of scents and neatly organized them into thematic groups. Three scents of Old Spice have been rebranded since 2013: Belize to Citron, Komodo to Desperado, and Lionpride to Krakengard. They still fit in a line of sorts. Axe, in comparison, is just getting confusing.
My example of this isn’t the stumbling progression of their fancy-name line (Urban, Adrenaline, Signature, and Gold, which smell great but are either in their own category or are categories). It’s a more obvious representation.
My first experience with Axe hair products was around 2013 when I came back from semester break with a haphazard attempt at a fauxhawk. I was trying to show a girl I fell out with that I was doing just fine without her alliance in my department (she continued to ignore me; shocking). The can that that mess came out of was bulky and perfect for my college douchboy identity. I was trying to be what I wasn’t.
Now, we have what I actually use, which I bought somewhere between then and last year. It’s a lot more honest about the content, and are easier to fight with than tiny tins of pomade.
Lastly, we’ve got the tiny tin, which has won over in our age of minimalist marketing. I’m as hipster as the next, but when you can’t remember what your brand looks like, it gets pretty frustrating.
The endless revamps don’t stop there. Below are two redesigns of the Axe body wash that have a source citation for their brand being so popular. Citations = timelines. This makes this research fun.
Axe Peace was a revamp circa 2014, or at earliest 2013, since the citation of the brand’s consumer trend is 2012. The Excite, which is the current design, has to be around 2015. The citation on this bottle is 2014. So we have two confirmed overhauls within about two years of each other. I see this as problematic because Axe has lost its “look”. To be quite honest, I hope the current design sticks around, but I can’t guarantee that, either.