Unilever's Axe: Axe University


Client: Unilever
Product: Axe
Category: Health & Beauty
Agency: Mindshare Indonesia and InMobi
Country: Indonesia
Year: 2014


Campaign Summary

Unilever’s iconic Axe brand has become one of the world’s most popular male grooming brands. Cool, adventurous and never dull, Axe is designed to keep guys a step ahead in the dating game. Unilever’s research and development teams work with a panel of “expert noses” to create fragrances that help men smell and feel their best. Men in more than 90 countries, from the Americas to Asia, reach for Axe every day.

Every year, Axe launches a new variant to expand its market and increase sales. However, as new product sales have increased in Indonesia, past variants have showed a decline in sales. To address this problem, Axe needed a platform where it could reintroduce past variants in a fresh and exciting way to young Indonesian males aged 15-29 who were looking to attract the opposite sex but lacked the confidence to speak to them.

Objective and Context

When it comes to dating and relationships, young Indonesian males tend to be awkward and shy. Many young Indonesian males prefer to play games on their phones, browse news and sports sites and connect with their friends through social media rather than approach someone of the opposite sex. This audience spends an average of 133 minutes every day on mobile.

In recent years, online search queries and online forums have provided a safe space for these young men to seek dating guidance and support. These forums are full of dating tips and Q&As about how to attract women. Axe wanted to help these young men achieve their dating goals while promoting past product variants in a new and engaging way.


Creative Strategy

The Axe target audience is digitally savvy. Rather than executing on-ground activation or simply running TV commercials, Unilever chose to bring this campaign to life in the channel its target audience is most comfortable with – the mobile, virtual world. Axe determined that the best way to reach this audience was by creating an online university where students could learn the art of attracting women. Thus, Axe University was born – a first for Axe Indonesia and the first of its kind in the country.

Given that the audience accesses the Internet from their phones, Axe made sure that axeuniversity.com was a mobile-friendly site. Once registered, students studied three subjects, each representing a specific Axe product variant. Students then watched online video lectures and took an exam to win points. (The lecturers at Axe University were three popular and sexy Indonesian celebrities.) To encourage students to be more competitive, Axe awarded a special prize to the student with the most accumulated points.

To drive enrollment, Axe used the following mobile strategies:

  • Standard banner display ads targeted to both a feature phone and smartphone to gain reach.
  • Invitation video targeted to the YouTube mobile network to showcase dating tips and push video views.
  • Mobile roadblock (ad buy where all ads on the page are dedicated to the advertiser) on the two biggest properties, YouTube and Yahoo Indonesia.
  • Mobile showcase tips for each type of woman men want to attract.
  • Mobile search and social media advertising to drive further campaign reach and engagement.


Below are the results of the campaign:

  • During the 60-day campaign period, a total of 60% of the traffic to the site came from mobile. Mobile ads also gained more than three times better response than counterpart ads on desktop, resulting in a lower cost per acquisition.
  • The campaign saw 30,000 enrollments -- equal to 12% of the graduating population in Indonesia -- and more than 550,000 visits.
  • A total of 1.2 million minutes of branded content was consumed during the campaign.
  • The campaign gained 9.2% market share – the highest gain since 2012.

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