New Age Masculinity – A Paradigm Shift for Axe

In light of Brutal Fruit’s recent brand fail this women’s month, Axe’s recent move towards a progressive vision of masculinity and attractiveness is incredibly refreshing and most welcome.

The brand gathered some of Johannesburg’s most influential pop culture millennials at Churchills in Melrose Arch earlier this week to introduce a new Axe for a New Man. This paradigm shift towards the modern day definition of masculinity and how women tie into that has been dubbed, the Axe ‘Find Your Magic’ campaign.

Stereotypical views of masculinity (like many things) are always in flux and the brand has always been aware of this. As such, trend forecaster Dion Chang provided us with some insight into the brand’s thinking and explained that the aim of the campaign is to encourage men to ignore stereotypes and express their individuality – no matter what it looks like. In addition to that, working towards being a more attractive prospect to women as opposed to being a domineering, seductive, lothario has become a more important ideal to the Axe man.

“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, helping him become the most attractive man he can be by encouraging each and every guy to Find Your Magic,” said Ryan Fauconier, Axe South Africa Brand Manager.

Axe enlisted three local influencers, blogger Siya Beyile of the Threaded Man, hip hop artist Dash from Durban group Dreamteam and style icon Trevor Stuurman, to lead the debate on masculinity & attraction and to encourage men across the country to ‘Find Your Magic’. The panel discussion was headed by Destiny Magazine’s Asanda Sizani.

The ‘Find Your Magic’ campaign is driven by research, developed through work with over 3,500 men in ten countries which shows that despite social progress, men still feel overwhelming pressure to conform to masculine stereotypes — and that male confidence is shockingly low explained Axe in a statement.

From a South African point of view, the research was carried out to help understand our South African man in more detail. What it means to be a “man” is moving on for the current generation – we see a shift away from the dominant patriarchal model associated with previous generations. The younger generation want to move away from 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 & lust – attraction is still paramount.”

The next few months will see the arrival of a new range of grooming products aimed at encouraging men to ignore stereotypes and express their individuality in all its forms. Axe also wants to gives men the tools and inspiration they need to work on their original style. The first product in the range is Axe You, developed by iconic fragrance expert Ann Gottlieb in conjunction with renowned fragrance house Firmenich.

“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,” explained Axe in a statement.

You can view the ‘Find Your Magic’ film here:

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Main image credit: Cedric Nzaka via Twitter


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