Thank god AXE has reassured us that its body spray is not the official scent of race hate and insurrection.

Don’t you love brands pretending to have ‘values’ beyond ‘sell more stuff’?

Unilever disavows the behaviour of this particular ‘Anarchy’ AXE bodyspray.

When a can of AXE body spray (it’s known as Lynx in the UK and other countries) was found in the debris left after the Capitol invasion, the brand managers at Unilever couldn’t stand idle. What if people decided that the fabled ‘Lynx Effect’ was actually a white supremacist radicalisation tactic? Thank god that my teenage years spent in changing rooms with atmospheres of approximately 60% Lynx Africa rendered me immune to this devious ruse.

Years ago, I briefly had a freelance job ghostwriting responses for a senior phone company executive during a Twitter Q+A. I sat in a room at their UK HQ surrounded by the exec himself and a coterie of people from the in-house marketing department and the PR firm they handled to make them look good. Every word of every tweet was picked over as if they were mites being inspected then eaten by a bunch of hungry monkeys.

That depressingly prosaic experience in a conference room in Slough — the town Betjeman wished would be erased in a hail of friendly bombs — came to mind when I read the following tweet from AXE:

Somewhere in the US, a group of people scurried around to approve words that would make you feel the disembodied voice of bodyspray (and assorted products) believes in democracy and the peaceful transition of power. They wanted you to believe that, if they could, a million cans of bodyspray would march peacefully on Washington and select a scent spokesman to stand at a dais and declare:

“I have a dream that one day every armpit shall be deodorised, ever crevice and buttcrack shall be made fresh, the rough places will be made smooth…”

AXE doesn’t stand against violence and hate. AXE is a brand values Powerpoint. AXE is a strategy. AXE is hot women telling desperate young men that smelling ‘better’ is the route to more sex. AXE doesn’t care what happens as long as people keep buying deodorant. AXE doesn’t know who’s President, but it definitely knows they have armpits.

Anytime you see this kind of horseshit, think of Stewart Lee’s ‘the values of the Carphone Warehouse’ routine. Brands have no values beyond money.

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