Axe is enlisting an army of influencers.
The Unilever-owned men’s grooming brand has tapped 30 male influencers for its Hair Creators campaign, designed to bring attention to Axe Hair styling products.
The Hair Creators are comprised of a gamut of social media stars who have varying degrees of reach, but their combined followers equal roughly 26 million. Throughout the month of March, each Hair Creator will be sharing on their own Instagram accounts a video they produced themselves detailing how they use Axe styling products in their daily routines. The influencers — a list of names that includes actor Josh Peck, musician Tyler Ward and the duo behind a foodie Instagram account called @BrunchBoys — will also star in Axe-produced how-to videos. Also, each day in March a different Hair Creator will take over Axe’s Instagram page with the brand’s master barber Pedro Rosario, to answer user-generated questions on hair styling.
The men’s hair styling market is largely untapped, according to Axe.
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“There is huge potential [to grow Axe Hair styling products] as men become more interested in style — 65 percent of guys don’t style [their hair] at all or only style on a special occasion,” said Piyush Jain, vice president of hair care for Unilever in the U.S., who noted that the main goal with this campaign is to increase Axe Hair’s market penetration in the U.S. for its styling products. “Most guys feel that styling is overcomplicated, or they don’t want friends or people around them to judge them for trying too hard. We want to prove that styling can be easy and make them feel more confident.”
The influencer videos — dubbed “Instagrooms” — are designed to do just that. Jain noted that the members of the Hair Creator group were selected for their relatable qualities. All of them curate accounts that fall into one of five categories that Jain referred to as “passion points” for young men. Basically, each influencer is either a comedian, into video games and technology, an athlete, musician or a foodie. “Men appreciate comedy and relatable content, so each of these influencers has a [comic] aspect as well,” said Jain.
Jain noted that the Hair Creator campaign will involve content produced by both the influencers and Axe — the Axe content will live on the campaign’s digital hub, instagroom.com/stylehacks. “User-generated content is important because it comes directly from their voice,” said Jain. “But we also think creating our own content creates more of a reach, so we’re doing that as well.”
The campaign is in tandem with the packaging revamp of Axe’s styling products in the U.S. In January, the simplified packaging, which is mostly black with some injections of bold color, started rolling out to mass retailers. “We want to appeal a little broader in our reach,” said Jain. “With our earlier packaging, Axe appealed on the younger end of our target and we wanted to bring in mature male consumers. It’s more mature and sophisticated.” By mature, Jain is referring to the older end of Axe’s target consumer base — 24- and 25-year-old males. For men more chronologically mature than that, Unilever has Dove Men + Care.
Jain noted that going the influencer route is part of a larger effort on Unilever’s part to engage more with the social media set. “Across the masterbrands we are using more influencers — they are on the rise and we need to partner with them more.”