When it was revealed during Avengers: Endgame that Iron Man is a fan of Axe body spray, the Unilever brand’s marketing team had no choice but to immediately "react like a bunch of teenagers," said Axe’s brand director Mark Lodwick.
He explained that a team member saw one of the first screenings of the movie on April 24 and "very excitedly" described the scene involving Axe "in great detail" to colleagues. In the movie, while trying to fix Iron Man’s suit, Ant-Man says it smells like Axe body spray. In response, Iron Man says, "I keep it on my desk for emergencies."
"We just found out that Tony Stark uses Axe, keeps an emergency stash, and that Ant-Man smelled it on him, so we of course reacted like a bunch of teenagers that had their comic book fantasies come true," said Lodwick. "Then, we calmed down and were like, ‘What do we do now?’"
The Axe marketing team knew it had to do something immediately, he said. The next morning, the squad of "brand, PR, creative and media minds" sprang into action. The team gave itself 24 hours to form and lock the plan while running on creative ideas that allowed it to get involved in the conversation. However, the team was careful not to respond too soon, making sure not to spoil anything for Avengers fans.
"We strategically leaned into Twitter as the most viable platform and flexed up on a dedicated crew to monitor the community and directly engage, encouraging real-time dialogue, spreading the word and above all having some fun with it," said Lodwick.
Axe engaged on social with posts and mocked up fun images that referenced the scene to get fans chatting.
Edelman’s team crafted the social strategy and has been responding in real-time to fans on Twitter.
"We’ve gotten a lot of responses," noted Lodwick. "Our fans are so awesome and created their own impressive memes and GIFs that have been getting shared around as well."
The brand has responded by sending them the latest Axe Chill line of products.
"We do have some more exciting Axe news on the horizon that ties back to Marvel quite nicely," said Lodwick. However, he could not give any further hints.
Avengers: Endgame broke all box office records in its debut. In its opening weekend, it raked in $357.1 million in North America and $1.2 billion globally.