Business Case Studies, Marketing Strategies / Strategic Marketing Case Study, AXE Effect in the US: Success through Viral Marketing?

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Case Title:

AXE Effect in the US: Success through Viral Marketing?

Publication Year : 2007

Authors: Vasuda Aich & TR Venkatesh

Industry: Home Appliances and Personal Care Products


Case Code: MKS0112B

Teaching Note: Available

Structured Assignment: Available

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Unilever introduced AXE body deodorant in the US market in 2002. The launch signalled the birth of a new male grooming product, body deodorant with odour controlling properties. In 2004, within two years of the launch, AXE became the leading brand in the $1.3 billion US men?s deodorant market with an 80% market share, and a 13% share in the deodorant market. By 2005, AXE was the fastest growing deodorant brand and had achieved sales of over $100 million. Unilever made use of TV advertising, interactive consumer destination events linked to the product website and on-line video games to promote the product among the young males from the 18 to 34-year olds. The case talks about the direct promotion strategy, where viral marketing played a major role, adopted by Unilever to tackle competition in this segment.

Pedagogical Objectives:

  • To illustratethe concept of viral marketing
  • To understand the dynamics of the US mens Deodorant market
  • To understand how to successfully introduce a new product in a market, already having established players.

Keywords : Unilever, AXE body deodorant, AXE effect, Male body deodorant, Male grooming market, Direct marketing, Consumer events, Viral marketing, Marketing Strategies Case Study, On-line promotions, Multimedia promotions, Podcast ads, Event marketing, Male toiletries


  • Background
  • Launch of AXE Male Deodorant Body Spray
  • The AXE House Party: March 2003
  • Subsequent Marketing Activities
  • The Next Move

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