We sat down with Axe’s new spokesperson for their Shower Thoughts campaign, Carlos Andres Gomez, author of Man Up: Reimagining Modern Manhood.
We touched on the subject of the conversation started with this Find Your Magic ad by the brand for their new Axe Black body wash. Watch it here:
Question: Tell us a little bit about what we are promoting here for Axe.
Carlos: Let me start a little bit about me and how it relates to the campaign. I’m a writer and a performer and I spend my life talking about masculinity. I used to be this sensitive and tenderhearted little boy. It seemed like everyone around me was saying you can’t be sensitive and tenderhearted and also be a boy. I know in 2016 that sounds strange but in the late 80’s that’s just how it was. I spent my whole life since then, since I’ve found my way into being myself and found courage to embrace who I was. I felt really bold to challenge these outdated notions that a guy can only be one thing. I wrote a memoir called Man Up: Reimagining Modern Manhood about that journey of trying to break those things down. I’ve been relentlessly talking about that at colleges, universities, festivals, and earlier this year, I found the Find Your Magic spot. I have never seen a brand express this point of view. I thought it was bold, fresh and inclusive. Literally everything in that video is the sizzle reel of everything I’ve tried to create in my life’s work.
Question: How did you find the Find Magic spot:
Carlos: It actually got sent to me through social media. I think seven or eight friends who know me sent it to me. It was the most incredible video I’ve seen, it’s this bold point of view that’s completely inclusive. The ideas of masculinity, honoring the fact that as guys, we are an infinite combination of ideas and emotions, experiences, and we should be all the things we are and not just one thing. When I think about myself, I’m an emotional, sensitive, artistic dude. But I’m also an athlete, I’m a sports fanatic, I adore basketball as much as I adore poetry. I think in 1988 people would that’s a paradox, that’s a contradiction. In 2016, that’s a complete person. I think Axe was really courageous and bold, starting that conversation with it with Find Your Magic, and the Shower Thoughts video series is a continuation of that conversation. When they initially reached out to me, they found that in a survey, 73% of guys do their clearest thinking in the shower. I chuckled, because life never stops. You wake up, you check your phone, I’m on the subway, I’m texting someone and the shower is the one place to have a break and breath. I was laughing because the place I come up with my ideas for projects, plays and books as well as things I want to be working on, a lot of the times are in the shower. The next question they asked was, do you use body wash? I said I actually have used bar soap my whole life and everybody was shocked. I was really utilitarian, had three minute showers, was in and out. But a few years ago, I was walking through a pharmacy and I picked it up and smelled it. It smells really good, I guess I’ll try one of these. It was refreshing, it smelled good and relaxing. I’ve never thought of the shower as a place to relax and take a moment. The idea with the whole campaign is that men can think the most creatively in the shower and connect with their authentic selves.
Question: Axe typically portrays their consumers in their ads as macho men getting hot women, what did you think of their new direction with the Find Your Magic ad and Shower Thoughts campaign?
Carlos: I think it’s amazing. I think that was something that really drew me to it. From the first two seconds from the Find Your Magic spot, you see the cliche guy with the six pack, flexing on the billboard, and then immediately, it shows a guy who looks like a real guy. He’s just reacting to that. To see any campaign and anyone who is expressing that point of view where they are building an inclusive idea about what someone can look like, where they are broadening the scope, and challenging the outdated, limiting, cliche stereotypes. That’s everything I’m about as a man, as an artist. It’s about challenging those ideas. The fact that this campaign is at the center of it, I think it’s very provocative and very bold. It’s very exciting.
Question: What is the most enlightening shower thought you’ve ever had?
Carlos: It was for my first play, Man Up. That was a solo play that I took to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland. I use that same title in my memoir, Man Up: Reimagining Modern Manhood, a lot of people say that the phrase has a lot of baggage. Totally. That’s the whole reason that I used it. That phrase was the bully of my childhood. That phrase is what I heard relentlessly about me showing emotion or being artistic, or nurturing, or tenderhearted or affectionate. All the things that they said a boy couldn’t be. I wanted to reclaim that phrase and take the power away from it. I wanted to put it under a microscope and rebuild the word and say that this is a phrase that has been thrown in my face my whole life, and now I’m going to throw it back in society’s face.
Check out Axe’s new Shower Thoughts installment below: