Axe, the body spray for men, has sparked past controversy in its advertising by depicting women as latent sex maniacs awaiting the smell of its product to unleash their inner-nymphomaniac. The cologne company’s commercial at this year’s Super Bowl may unleash controversy of a more geopolitical sort.
The one-minute spot, which will be condensed into thirty seconds for the big game, features a Kim Jong-un character standing alongside a lady friend in front of a square of soldiers. In the “mass games” style associated with the Communist prison state, the assembled crowd lifts placards aloft that collectively display the strongman and his girlfriend inside of a heart. The pair hold hands.
The wishful “Make Love, Not War” advertisement for Axe’s new “Peace” body spray follows on the heels of Kim Jong-un’s August execution of his real-life girlfriend. Just three days after her arrest, singer Hyon Song Wol and a dozen others faced a firing squad for allegedly violating the country’s pornography laws by making a sex tape. Given the recent confirmation of Kim Jong-un’s marriage to a former rival of Hyon Song Wol who performed in the same musical troupe, the punishment was widely interpreted as a way for the new husband to leave the past in the past in an extremely permanent way.
But Axe’s Super Bowl spot portrays the North Korean dictator, along with a Middle Eastern leader and World War II and Vietnam-era soldiers, as a romantic willing to ditch war for love. Is this any more realistic than a body spray winning geeks a harem of supermodels depicted in past advertising campaigns? Like the devotees of Axe’s products, one can hope.
Jong-un’s slain sweetheart achieved success in North Korea with such pop hits as “Excellent Horse-Like Lady,” “I Love Pyongyang,” and “We Are Troops of the Party.”