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The Trade Desk

Day 23: Cannes winners remembered - Axe "Excite"

Bartle Bogle Hegarty London picked up a Grand Prix for Axe's "Excite" in 2012 - find out the story behind the campaign

Bartle Bogle Hegarty London was on a roll in 2012. It had already been awarded Campaign’s Agency of the Year at the end of 2011, having produced some outstanding work that took people back to its heyday, and picking up £8 million revenue from new business.

That work wasn’t just some pretty films, rather helping brands such as Axe, (known as Lynx in the UK) turn around its fortunes. Winning a Grand Prix in the Creative Effectiveness category for "Excite" was the icing on the cake as it pushed the agency further into the creative limelight.

The brand’s last most-popular scent before Excite was in 2008 with Dark Temptation. Axe had fallen from being the best selling men’s deodorant in 2010 after sales dropped £8.1m to £101.7m, according to Nielsen. It was overtaken by Sure which had sales worth £112.4m.

BBH helped Axe see that it needed to think again about the interests of its target audience, and realised that the young men were no longer into the sexy girl images used in previous ads. It was a bold move away from the "helping guys get ahead in the mating game" brand message.

The spot "Even angels will fall" depicts a number of angels falling from the sky, much to the bemusement of local onlookers. Dressed in pale colours with a halo above them, they walk through the town towards a man getting off his motorbike.. The angels smile at the man as they tear down their halos. It then emerges that the man had used Axe Excite earlier that morning.

At the time, the jury president David Jones, former Havas and Euro RSCG global chief executive, said the campaign was based on a "really smart consumer insight" that men are searching for an angel and "not the hot sexy girl".

BBH London was an agency that desperately needed reviving and this work played an important part in helping it get back on track. Not only did the ads excel creatively, they delivered Axe the return on investment it so desperately needed.

The gains were high for BBH too, marking it’s 30th anniversary by pocketing another Agency of the Year gong from Campaign.

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