[SPOILER ALERT] AXE Super Bowl Commercial :60 Preview Released
To introduce a new line, Axe Peace, the 30-second spot opens on military helicopters flying over a jungle and cuts to a tank driving down the street of a bomb-ravaged city. A young uniformed man reminiscent of the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un then appears — first lady at his side — overlooking a sea of soldiers, and the ad cuts to a leader who is apparently Middle Eastern surrounded by military men and his wife as he opens an ominous-looking steel attaché case with blinking lights and buttons.
“In a world filled with war,” begins a voice-over with movie-trailer gravitas, “sometimes the most powerful weapon is love.”
The tank hatch opens, and a soldier emerges and embraces a young woman, then a soldier who had been in a helicopter runs toward a woman and embraces her. The soldiers filling the square, to the delight of the first lady, hold thousands of colored placards aloft to form a portrait of the first couple framed by a heart. Finally, the leader with the attaché case presses a red button that starts a fireworks display and he kisses his wife’s hand.
The slogan for the campaign is borrowed from 1960s protesters, “Make love, not war.” Text at the close of the commercial urges consumers to support Peace One Day, a nonprofit whose efforts include establishing Sept. 21 as Peace Day.
The global campaign, which also includes print and online ads, and a microsite, AxePeace.com, is by the London office of Bartle Bogle Hegarty, with Rupert Sanders directing the commercial. An expanded 60-second version of the commercial (which forgoes most of the voice-over) was introduced on YouTube on Tuesday.
David Kolbusz, the deputy executive director of Bartle Bogle Hegarty in London, said the commercial “creates a narrative arc that starts off playing off the tropes of many films about war and conflict.” Ultimately, he continued, what viewers had thought was saber rattling is actually men “showing their affection for the women who had captured their hearts.”
“Social mores are changing and guys are changing and there’s more of an equilibrium” between the sexes now, Mr. Kolbusz said. “It’s not us-versus-them anymore, but rather more of a symbiotic relationship.”