Finding their magic: a year of influence for AXE

Creating an influencer led platform to engage 16 to 21 year old guys.

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Axe had spent years talking about being attractive. But for most young men today, attractiveness isn’t about looking like everyone else. It’s about making meaningful, authentic connections with the world.

So, Axe was dangerously losing relevance. It had just launched a global campaign, ‘Find Your Magic’, which aimed to liberate guys from stereotypical manliness and encourage them to be the most attractive person they can be: themselves. But our younger audiences needed a bit more convincing.

Our challenge was to remodel Axe by creating a social platform that would engage 16 to 21-year-old guys in an innovative and dynamic way.

We realised that to many young guys, ‘finding their magic’ was a work in progress. We needed to position Axe as a source of inspiration – not from a group of models, but from guys they could actually relate to.

In early 2018, Axe’s ‘Year of Magic’ on Instagram had begun.

We worked closely with the Axe teams and their audience segmentation to identify four global passions for our youth audience: style, dance, gaming and music.

Against each of these we used digital data sources – Spike, PEG and Crimson Hexagon – to identify micro-influencers relevant for our audience who could share a unique story about their passion, talent, attitude and individual style. This included a self-taught dancer from London, a skateboarder from the Bronx, a football freestyler from Brazil, and a Moroccan street photographer.

For each influencer, we then created a suite of Instagram feed posts, that would interconnect to form a virtual grid, with each grid containing four types of content:

Passion points: Each influencer focused on one passion point. Their posts could then be converted into locally-targeted digital assets based on key passion points.
Product shout-outs: The product plays an active role in the grooming routine for of all our influencers. Each product post was also converted into a secondary targeted paid media post, to further highlight Axe’s style credentials.

Life & Style: Our influencers shared their preferences for life and style. These posts included partnership links with key events (like Gamescon) or brand ambassadors (like Lil Yachty).

Magic: Our influencers all shared their magic: what makes them, them, as well as the journey that got them there, to inspire our audience to be themselves. These posts were then tagged with the influencer’s friends and supporters to introduce Axe to that community.

We helped Axe move from an outdated, fragmented and inconsistent communications platform to an innovative, scalable social platform that celebrated modern masculinity in a relatable and authentic way. 

As a result, we grew followers by 13%, engagement by 14% and unaided brand awareness by 5% (all year-on-year).

 And this is just the beginning.


Ogilvy has been producing iconic, culture-changing marketing campaigns since the day its founder David Ogilvy opened up shop in 1948. Today, Ogilvy is an award-winning integrated creative network that makes brands matter for Fortune Global 500 companies as well as local businesses across 132 offices in 83 countries. The company creates experiences, design and communications that shape every aspect of a brand’s needs through six core capabilities: Brand Strategy, Advertising, Customer Engagement and Commerce, PR and Influence, Digital Transformation, and Partnerships. The company also provides a comprehensive range of services around business to business marketing and services, management consulting, brand identity, analytics and research capabilities, multicultural marketing and behavioural change. Ogilvy is a WPP company (NASDAQ: WWPGY).

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