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Company: Unilever
    View Company Scorecard / Contact Company
Brand: AXE
Ad Title: The Lift
Business Category: Fragrances
Media Outlets: Television
Country: New Zealand
Region: North America, Europe, Asia, Latin/South America, Australia/New Zealand
Agency: Lowe Worldwide
Year: 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003
Target: Mainstream
Ad Spotter: Romain Greco
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Theme(s)

Leatherman

Theme Breakdown

AdRespect Score: 
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A sexy man sprays himself with a fragrance on an elevator and exits as a nerdy man gets on. The nerd is joined by a woman, who gets so hot and bothered by him that she stops the lift to ravish him.

The doors open and she recomposes herself as she leaves, the nerd's hair is a complete mess after their moments alone. As the doors nearly close, a hand stops them and a stereotyped, overweight leatherman eyes the man with a big smile -- the nerd looks very nervous.

In the U.S., the ad is alternated with different endings, such as another attractive woman, and an old woman. Oddly the female version showed up on a gay-themed program, "Gay Weddings" on the Bravo cable network in the U.S.

While the inclusion of the leatherman is not problematic, the use of homophobia for a simple laugh is. The man could simply be surprised instead of fearful.

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Geoff Coupe , Gouda, The Netherlands
Definitely not PC, but very funny, and very well done!

David , Cambridge, MA
The "nerd" isn't "fearful". He's dazed from the woman, surprised by the leather guy, and maybe just not into leather guys. He sure gave the departing "sexy man" an eager look.

Peter , Nyack, NY
The ad is predictable. It would have been funnier to me if it started out with two gay guys (or women) and a women (or man) entered later.

Kesley , Hialeah, FL
There is also another version of this commercial that has an old lady entering the elevator later instead of the leatherman or the other woman. I think they put the other versions because it might have been offensive or something. They don't show the "leather man" version on MTV anymore, and they're very pro-gay.

Guy Bertrand , Montreal
The so-called nerd (I think he is kind of cute) looked very uncomfortable and nervous when the gorgeous woman came in the lift but he seemed very satisfied when the door reopened. Who knows, maybe he was even happier after his close encounter with the leather guy! The ad does not go that far but we can always make up our own personal endings!

Michael , Atanta
I watched this a couple of different times to see if the guy's reaction changed depending on the ending. Indeed it does - when another young woman enters, he's thrilled, but clearly appalled at the other endings: old woman and leather man, and once I saw a dog with a pink bow. So, I think it clearly uses homophobia for a laugh. Unfortunate because the axe commercials are truly funny. And because he does look rather wistfully at the first sexy guy.

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AdRespect Score:

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