Joburg’s glitterati and key influencers converged at Melrose Arch, Johannesburg, on 24 August to experience the launch of ‘Find Your Magic’, the radical new campaign from Axe, a leading male fragrance brand in South Africa.
The Find Your Magic campaign sees the 33-year-old brand, famous for two things: revolutionising the deodorant category and for its iconic advertising, recognise that stereotypical views of masculinity are changing. This is as modern masculinity takes centre stage.
Guests were showed just how the brand has pivoted towards a progressive new vision of masculine individuality while celebrating attraction. They were also reminded of how AXE has changed since it first launched in June 1983, and informed of how masculinity has changed. This was done through an incisive talk by trends guru Dion Chang and guests were encouraged to engage in a vibrant debate on the state of man today.
Taking place Churchills, the hip Melrose Arch landmark, and attended by celebrities, including singers Stoane Seate and Chad Saaiman, comedian Donovan Goliath, female rapper Nadia Nakai and TV personality Denise Zimba, official proceedings were opened by MC Maps Maponyane, a familiar from last year’s Dry Spray Anti-Perspirant TV commercial.
Ryan Fauconier, AXE South Africa brand manager, explained how and why the brand evolved to reflect the changing perception of masculinity. Chang’s lucid talk framed the AXE positioning in a broader social context, which has seen the traditional concept of masculinity disrupted.
What followed was a provocative debate, led by Destiny magazine fashion editor, Asanda Sizani, with Fauconier and Chang joined by AXE influencers. These included Siya Beyile of The Threaded Man, hip hop artist Dash from Durban group Dreamteam and style icon Trevor Stuurman. Together the panel unpacked this progressive new vision of masculine individuality and defined what makes men attractive today.
‘The beauty of being a man today is that you can’t be boxed in. The magic of who we are is that we can be multifaceted – you can get to be who you want to be, and break those stereotypes of the past,’ says Beyile, summing up the crux of the discussion.
Fauconier adds, ‘We believe that men are their most attractive when they embrace their own individuality and that is why Axe is liberating the South African man from the stereotypical ideals of the past. This is to help him become the most attractive man he can be by encouraging each and every guy to “Find Your Magic”.’
The Axe ‘Find Your Magic’ campaign is driven by research, developed via working with over 3 500 men in 10 countries. The research shows that despite social progress, men still feel overwhelming pressure to conform to masculine stereotypes — and that male confidence is shockingly low.
From a South African point of view, the research was carried out to help understand local men in more detail. What it means to be a ‘man’ is moving on for the current generation. There is a definite shift away from the dominant patriarchal model associated with previous generations. The younger generation want to progress beyond rigid gender roles and don’t feel the need to subscribe to any preconceived ideas of masculinity. They want to show a break from the past.
When it comes to their partners, they’re looking for girls who share similar values, outlooks and passions. Love doesn’t mean an end to lust, but signals a fusion between love and lust, while attraction is still paramount.
In response, the new positioning and Find Your Magic campaign inspire guys to celebrate their individuality, reject archaic, stereotypical notions of male attractiveness, and gives them the tools and inspiration they need to work on their original style.
The South African campaign follows the launch of the Axe global campaign earlier this year. In the month’s to come, it will see the arrival of a new range of grooming products to encourage men to ignore stereotypes and express their individuality – no matter what it looks like.
The repackaged and relaunched range of Axe aerosol and roll on products, which inspire individuality while still celebrating attraction, is backed up by an unprecedented new campaign featuring a radical, progressive point of view on masculinity and attractiveness.
The new Axe You, developed by iconic fragrance expert Ann Gottlieb in conjunction with renowned fragrance house, Firmenich, inspires a progressive vision of masculine individuality. At its core, the fragrance retains its classic masculine scent with aromatic herbs and spices with sensual woods, while also featuring notes of black basil and coriander to add a progressive twist, allowing modern guys to reveal their authentic self.
You can view the ‘Find Your Magic’ film here.