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As part of the launch of a new fragrance called Anarchy, Axe is to use Facebook to create a graphic novel that fans will help to write.

A far cry from its usual – and often controversial - creative, the brand is for the first time launching a scent for women as well as men, and hopes that this campaign will appeal to both genders.

The first of two commercials created by the London office of BBH appeared on Axe's Facebook page yesterday, ahead of a global rollout to various TV channels in over 60 countries.

Anarchy: The Graphic Novel, went live today. Created by digital agency Razorfish and Aspen Comics - it is written by Scott Lobdell, a previous author of X-Men comics and three major DC Comics titles.

The plot will follow the exploits of the 'Anarchy Girls' as they unleash chaos around the world. In an interactive twist, fans will be able to direct the characters, plot and outcome of the story.

But appealing to women could be difficult. Axe and its UK counterpart, Lynx, have until now promoted the brands with campaigns agressively targeted at a male demographic.

Not only that, but will this send a confusing message to an already well-defined audience?

David Vinjamuri, author of Accidental Branding and an adjunct professor of marketing at New York University told New York Times that historically a teenage boy would look at Axe's advertising and see: "the girl that you want and the guy that you are".

What was brilliant about Axe is they said make the girl hunt you based on your smell.”

However, he warned that when when you start talking to those outside of your core audience, you lose credibility. “The moment you start talking to girls, you lose credibility with teenage boys.”

As a creative idea, Axe’s use of Facebook is interesting. The graphic novel market has been enjoying a renaissance for perhaps the past decade, thanks in large part to Hollywood’s continuing love affair with an array of superhero characters. 

However, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. It’s unlikely that one campaign involving women will put young men off the scent of Axe – or Lynx.  But in an attempt to innovate and diversify, sometimes you can lose sight of the strength of what you’ve already got.

Vikki Chowney

Published 10 January, 2012 by Vikki Chowney

Vikki is head of community at TMW. You can follow her on Twitter or Google+

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