Axe / Lynx threatens to boycott Vice magazine over Hamburgers 'art contest' with sex offenders

It's all over the internet, that Neil Hamburger's "AXE body spray and sexual offenders" art contest didn't go over so well with AXE. Hamburgers column in Vice magazine read like this and asked people to submit 'art contest' hoax ads, where Axe body spray was combined with images from the Sex Offender Registry. Axe balked at the idea and threatened to boycott Vice magazine. Vice removed Hamburgers column, but as the Streisand effect dictates, when you try to quell something it'll pop up everywhere else on the internet. @funartcontest on twitter keeps track of the entries, interspliced with Axe-hating jokes and comics mocking Axe's selling proposition. Hamburger clearly doesn't like Axe:

AXE’s master chemist seems to be developing their various fragrances by dumping varying amounts of Hawaiian Punch and/or Country Time Lemonade into the trough-style urinals at Dodger Stadium during the top of the 9th inning—the end product an amalgam resulting from the capture and replication of the the resulting combination of odors.

We don't really need Hamburgers warped contest to see twisted Axe / Lynx ads, they've made those themselves. Remember the "upskirt" mousepad?

...and of course, there was the "upskirt" soap dispenser, an idea I find rather gross.

The campaign strategy for Axe / Lynx has been for years that women will do anything to get with an Axe-man, getting dirty just to be hosed down with the famous Axe peel that's good for "scrubbing away the skank".

In fact, women will drop everything anywhere, just to get with an Axe man if you are to believe the stickers in restrooms. Surely public sex is some sort of offense somewhere, it is at least indecent exposure in most countries. So you'd think Axe / Lynx wouldn't have a problem with this joke on their behalf... ;)

The Axe/Lynx campaign has had its moments, and its lows. We've come a long way from my personal favourite, that started it all back in 1996.

Lynx / Axe - Paid Piper Revenge - (1996) 0:60 (UK)

These days, Axe ejects women it doesn't like, which is more mean-spirited than cleverly humorous.

Selling cologne on the idea that it attracts females, even drives them wild, isn't something new though. Hi-Karate did it back in the seventies.

Hi-Karate - Date / Kung-fu (1974) :30 (USA)

It's not the first time an advertiser has threatened to boycott a publication or show due to its content, but it seems to me this case is pretty much brought on by Axe themselves. Only American Apparel would make a better target.

about the author

Dabitch Creative Director, CEO, hell-raising sweetheart and editor of Adland. Globetrotting Swede who has lived and worked in New York, London, San Francisco, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Stockholm.

Comments (5)

  • Neo's picture

    How daft of them to try and silence the magazine, I'm sure we'll find this on DIGG or Reddit any minute now.

    Jun 07, 2011
  • @tiandygeorge's picture
    @tiandygeorge (not verified)

    What I find really interesting is how Lynx/Axe sit alongside Dove within the Unilever portfolio bearing in mind that their campaigns are fundamentally opposing: objectifying women vs empowering them; embracing the superficiality of women in the media vs rebelling against it.

    That all works fine whilst Unilever stays outside of the public eye, but if they start to make the parent brand more visible then surely they run the risk of looking hypocritical (perhaps a reason for the new Dove body language campaign?)

    Jun 10, 2011
  • Dabitch's picture

    Good point tiandygeorge , lots of people don't make the Lynx + Dove connection, it's as of the left hand don't know what the right ones does. But Unilever totally knows.

    Jun 10, 2011
  • AnonymousCowerd's picture
    AnonymousCowerd (not verified)

    Hmm, not sure I agree with the comments that "Axe were trying to silence the magazine".

    For a rag that positions itself as being "cutting-edge" and "down wiv ver kids" Vice rolled over all to quickly and cowed to the censorial demands of their puppet masters. If it weren't for the internet we'd not know about this story. Vice is rubbish, the ultimate example of consumerist pseudo rebellion that does nothing but enforce the status quo.

    Jun 15, 2011
  • Neo's picture

    If Axe hadn't asked them to cut that contest, the Streisand effect would not have come into play.

    Jun 15, 2011