Axe’s Make Love, Not War, was broadcasted during this year’s Super Bowl and has successfully made an impression on its audience. With four different story lines, this advertisement begins with an intense tone and keeps the audience at their feet. The first ten seconds laid out the context of the four story lines – a Middle Eastern man carrying a silver briefcase, a tank rolling over a doll, a communist leader standing above a crowd, and helicopters and soldiers flying over fields. The underlying tone felt like something big was going to happen and the background music helped to heighten the suspense.
Although the different story lines were broken up, the central message and purpose was very clear. The first scene is of a Middle Eastern man who carries a silver briefcase into a room of what appeared as the world leader, his wife, and his advisors. The leader then opens the briefcase, revealing that it was actually a nuclear football. He flips open the lid to the red button, signifying a nuclear explosion and war, and looked over at his advisors. The second scene takes place in an apocalypse as the tank rolls through the city. The people run away from the tank but one woman approaches it head on and gives it a look of determination. The third scene involves a communist leader, his wife, his subordinates, and a crowd in a plaza. The leader is standing above the crowd and him and his wife is presenting a stern facial expression. The fourth scene has multiple helicopters fly above fields and shows a soldier looking nervous. The farmers and their families look above at the flying helicopters as they are eating and some run away as it approaches. With semiotics and the signifiers in this advertisement, it is signified that the four story lines are located in the Middle East, Europe, North Korea, and Vietnam – places that have been associated with war in the past and present. The scenes involved people of different races wearing uniforms or clothes that may be used to infer their geographic location and associations. The advertisement involved two main roles, the world leader and the solider, those who make the decisions and those who fight.
After the first ten seconds, it can be inferred that – the Middle Eastern leader will push the red button, leading to a nuclear explosion and war, the communist leader will be giving a speech to the citizens, the tank will fire, and villages will be raided. Contrary to belief, none of this happened, but instead, heartwarming actions of love is demonstrated. Axe is attaching love and peace to their product, to choose love, not war. The Middle Eastern leader did push the button but it set off fireworks for his wife, the communist leader had planned a surprise for his wife, the soldier inside the tank is the woman’s lover, and the soldier on the helicopter was visiting his lover. Axe uses current day cultural references in order to successfully attaching this image to their product, which is also named Axe Peace. The love that is expressed is so powerful, powerful enough to stop war and likewise, their product.
The Creative Revolution was a shift from conformity to individuality, emphasizing on the creative approach. The creative approach appeals to the general audience, and especially youth and those who are cynical of advertisements, or alienated spectators. It is not made known that the advertisement is for Axe Peace until the last five seconds, where they present the product and the fact that they are supporting Peace One Day. This technique originated from the Creative Revolution, where the product is not officially advertised until the end, in order to keep the attention of the jaded audience. Along with associating the product with peace and love, referencing it to a concerning issue such as world peace may appeal to a large audience; and more specifically, a younger audience. Their support to Peace One Day may also intrigue the audience to purchase their product since it is for a good cause.
Make Love, Not War also serves as an ideology. It has socially and culturally construct the world, what war means to our society and it’s associations. It shows the role of the world leader and the soldier, as well as the effects of war on people all over the world. Axe Peace presents love as the solution to war, but love is not actually capable of doing so. Thus, the advertisement suppresses the irrationality of being able to stop war with love. Nonetheless, Axe was able to successfully convey their message the the audience.