Axe Spray vs. Calgon: Go to Space or Take me Away

Have you seen the commercial with the buff lifeguard who saves the hot, bikini-clad young woman from a shark attack by beating the shark to death and, as she recovers in his arms, she sees a man dressed in an astronaut suit standing on the beach in the distance as the words "Nothing Beats an Astronaut" appear on the screen? She then runs across the beach, forsaking Mr. Buff for the somewhat nerdy-looking guy in the astronaut get-up.

This is a commercial for Axe Apollo, the body spray that is used ostensibly by men ages 16 to 25 so that, even though they don't shower regularly, they smell good.  The kicker to all this is that Axe is holding a contest to send it's users into space courtesy of the Axe Apollo Space Academy (the "AASA").  If you don't believe this, or for your chance to to be one of 22 people with a chance to win a trip to space, check out

Axe has even enlisted former astronaut Buzz Aldrin to help promote this chance of a lifetime.

Who wouldn't want to go to space? But to try to sell yourself as an agent of Axe Body Spray and to compete with God knows who for the chance seems not only far-fetched, but a little risky. Are you excited by the possibility of riding inside a metal ball and being subjected to 6G? Since I am not of prime Axe Body Spray age, although I do often buy Axe because it is about 10% of the cost of the most popular men's cologne, I would be extremely cautious about stepping into space because the smell-good guys say it's a good idea.

I did, however, think about what Axe Body Spray could potentially offer us less X-games eager types that is not quite as adventurous as a trip to space, but which has already proven to be a tried and true advertising success. It's been done by that paragon of women's bath products, Calgon.

In the 1970's the Calgon advertising people felt that the ideal way to sell bath soaking and good-smelling products was by simply promoting the fact that bathing in Calgon's bath bubbles could remove the bather from the everyday reality of the boss, the dog or the kids amidst her "take me away" dreams. The ad concludes with the tagline, "Lose Yourself in Luxury."

Even though the ad campaigns are some 30 years apart, the concepts maintain a common thread. We are always looking for an escape. With Axe, the advertisers want us to escape by competing for a trip into space. With Calgon, the commercial writers actually provide the viewer with a trip further than space - somewhere within your own imagination.

After watching the sheer pleasure exhibited by the Calgon lady as she escapes reality in an outdoor Roman bath amphitheater and, in contrast, listening to the narrator extol the virtue of training and competing for a chance at space travel available through Axe Body Spray, if I'm going to try to escape the job, the kids, and the dog, I'll look for someone to please take me away and give me some Calgon.

I may wind up smelling like a woman as I lose myself in luxuy, but at least my brain won't be scrambled.

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