When I first posted this commercial for Axe on Facebook my friend, Thom Cordner commented, “Axe has finally grown up.” A great review, actually. Axe has indeed grown up. “Fear No Susan Glenn” not only captures the turn-on of being young and horny and surrounded by beautiful girls (a genre Axe has beat until bloody) but, unbelievably, something akin to pathos as well.
In the film, an older man recollects a girl from high school. We hear his gravelly voice as the camera takes us down memory lane. The man tells us Susan Glenn was not just another girl. She was the girl. “In her presence all that was beautiful before she arrived turned grotesque.” In drama class, we see cheerleaders, malevolent harpies, flailing before Ms. Glenn. It’s a stunning scene underscored by a brilliant line. One of many. The man’s recollection is poetry, literally and visually –macabre at times but lovely and desperately true.
Here is longing. Unrequited love. If only the man had the courage, charisma and wisdom of age. He pines: “If I could do it again, I’d do it differently.” And finally we see the man, and it’s Keifer Sutherland! Wistfully. Shaving before a mirror. And then gone. Fade to black as we hear the final keys of a melancholy piano. Super: Axe. Fear No Susan Glenn.
This film took my breath away. I’m not sure if it was entered into Cannes (if not why not?) but I like it better than most of what won there. According to this website the spot heralds the beginning of a campaign “marking a different direction for the ‘get laid’ brand.
As fun as some of the porny Axe work once was this trumps all of it. Respect to BBH New York and Unilever. As for copywriter (Peter Rosch) and art director (Nate Able); Guys, this is your masterpiece.