by Rosemaira De La Cruz.
Have you ever seen a commercial for Axe deodorant? The ads use humor and exaggeration, targeted to men, to sell the product. The message: Women go crazy for guys who wear Axe. For example, the “Axe Effect-Women Billions” commercial shows tons of women in bikinis running out of the woods and the ocean to find the man who just sprayed on Axe. In other commercials women lose their minds and break into Axe’s signature song- and wild, sexy dance—“Boom Chicka Wah Wah,”for guys wearing Axe.
However, this time, the company’s daring approach may have gone too far.
“Axe Fallen Angels,” the newest commercial for the product, has recently been banned from television in South Africa because it offends some members of the Christian community. In the commercial, female angels fall from heaven to earth in search of the man who uses Axe. The angels toss their haloes to the ground once they find the guy who is wearing the scent.
According to reports, a devoted Christian complained to South African regulators about the commercial calling it offensive. The Advertising Standards Authority pulled the ad saying that “it could offend Christians.”
Members of the Christian club at CCNY are also outraged. “It is sad to see how the media makes serious issues a joke,” says Dilia Sanchez, 20, who belongs to the club. “If you think about it the Bible states that the devil was a fallen angel, so what exactly are they referring to when they say even angels will fall?”
According to some students, the media is constantly using Christianity to sell products. “They are just simply looking for a way to make people laugh,” says Maureen Gonzalez, 21, who is also a member of the Christian club at CCNY. “They forgot about the Christian community.”
Sanchez isn’t laughing. “The angels dropping their haloes to the ground means that they are forgetting about their pureness,” she says. “I don’t think it’s funny and don’t understand why anyone would joke about it.”
Axe Fallen Angels commercial is disrespectful to some but they are not surprised by it. “Media has been mocking the Christian religion for a while now,” says Gonzalez. “Look at cartoons such as South Park and Family Guy. They even go as far as to showing Jesus Christ,” says Gonzalez.
Some Christians do enjoy the commercial. “I actually thought it was kind of funny especially at the end when they drop their haloes,” says Camille Sykes, 23, who goes to Baptist church every Sunday. “It is clever to have the angels drop their haloes in order to seek the guy that smells so good.”
Nancy Tag, chair of the Media Communication Arts department at CCNY, believes religion is a very sensitive subject and should be avoided in ads. “We feel that religion should be private rather than public, and advertising is very public expression,” says Tag. “Since advertising often uses humor to sell, using religion as the source of humor risks being offensive.”