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Ayushmann Khurrana in the new Axe campaign 'Ab Teri Baari'
Ayushmann Khurrana in the new Axe campaign 'Ab Teri Baari'

Axe's campaign 'Ab Teri Baari' aims to break traditional rules of masculinity

  • The music video titled 'Ab Teri Baari' features actor Ayushmann Khurrana and rap star Naezy who are performing the song
  • THe video also features Sunil Chhetri, Dharmesh Yelande, YouTube sensation ‘BeYouNick’ and actor Shashank Arora

‘Be a man’, a casual phrase, often thrown at young men forcing them to comply with the society’s traditional rules of masculinity clearly shows that stereotyping is not gender dependent. To break socially accepted notions of masculinity such as men shouldn’t show emotions or always sport a macho look, Hindustan Unilever-owned deodorant brand Axe has launched a new campaign with the country's top influencers across industries.

Created in collaboration with digital platform Arre and media agency Mindshare, the music video titled 'Ab Teri Baari' features actor Ayushmann Khurrana and rap star Naezy who are performing the song, co-written by them. Composed by Clinton Cerejo, the music video brings alive the personal stories of Indian football captain Sunil Chhetri, dance superstar Dharmesh Yelande, YouTube sensation ‘BeYouNick’ and Made in Heaven Amazon original series actor Shashank Arora.

The song is a strong call for Indian men to stop worrying about the rules of society and the dreaded ‘Log kya kahenge’ (what will people say) and instead focus on finding what makes them unique. Built around Axe’s brand purpose of inspiring men to express their individuality and becoming their most attractive selves, the song mirrors the brand’s communication platform of ‘Make your own rules'.

Talking about the concept, Nippun Aneja, general manager - deodorants and men’s grooming, Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL) said, “Many boys in India still feel an overwhelming pressure to conform to masculine stereotypes. There are many said and unsaid rules on how to ‘Be a Man’ - the way you look, act and interact with your peers; even your career choices and hobbies are being judged through the lens of being ‘masculine enough’. We want young men to feel free from the pressures of these ‘rules’, discover what makes them unique and work on it. Axe believes that expressing your individuality is what makes a man attractive, so go ahead ‘Make Your Own Rules’ and be the best version of yourself."

The digital campaign will be promoted across social media as well as digital platforms.

Ajay Mehta, vice-president, content+, Mindshare said, “Axe has always been an iconic youth brand with communication deep rooted in the pop culture. The idea was to use music and more importantly hip-hop as a genre which has been recently quite popular among the younger audiences. While Ayushmann and Naezy have lent their voice, the music video features some of the top influencers who not only resonate with the brand but are real-life examples. Each of them have a unique story to tell which brings alive the brand’s narrative in a compelling manner. It’s a light-hearted piece of content which is fun, catchy yet inspiring."

Often synonymous with sexist advertising, male grooming category, dominated by deodorants, is taking baby steps to talk about equality and respect. Axe, which has once relied heavily on ads which made men wildly popular among women often dressed in skimpy clothes, is changing the way it pushes the brand to consumers, adding larger purpose.

In 2018, male grooming brand Brylcreem range, co-created by HUL and Amazon India, urged young men to change their mindset and become more respectful towards others. The campaign featured actor Siddharth Malhotra.

In 2016, Emami Ltd-owned deodorant brand ‘HE’ called out various sexist deodorant ads in its campaign featuring comedian Vir Das.

While heavily sexist advertising in the deodorant category is on a decline, brands such as Marico Ltd-owned Set Wet and Vini Cosmetics' Fogg play around light-hearted teasing and wooing of one's love interest.

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