The advertisement to be analyzed is the deodorant “Axe’s” Canadian billboard ad stating “For Men Who’d Rather be With a Woman Than a Horse. Canada’s #1 Men’s deodorant”. The ad seems to be very simple in its content having only the two mentioned phrases and a big picture of the deodorant itself. However, there is a significant connotation to the first phrase that has to do with another competing brand “Old Spice” body wash for men. The viral campaign of a half- naked man mounted on a horse with an “Old Spice” in his left hand, saying “I am on a horse”, has been hugely popular and highly discussed in social networks. The remarkable aspect to note here is how the competing brand “Axe” was able to find a way to tap into the success of its rival’s advertising and effectively promote the benefits of its own product for the general public.
Thus, it could be said that this kind of an ad serves a number of purposes: 1) demonstrate the superiority of the advertised brand and humiliate the competing brand in a concealed way 2) appeal to the existing knowledge about the association with the other brand (in this case the object of association is a horse) and build upon it a new association (a woman), more powerful than the previous 3) accentuate the difference between different people who use the implied products 4) appeal to people’s sense of humor. These sorts of techniques make this advertisement quite memorable, which is one of the most important targets for any marketing campaign. The message of difference and superiority appears to be central for this ad, since it is placed at the center of the space in capital letters. The colors used (black, white and blue) literally re-iterate the colors of the advertised deodorant displayed on the right side of the ad in the same pattern – a black background, white letters and the highlighting is done in blue. Thus, the visual effect of the advertised product is doubled to make it even more memorable for motorists and pedestrians.