Warning: The article contains a reference to genitals.

axe ad
(YouTube)
  • A South African YouTube user has complained about the lyrics in an Axe body spray advertisement.
  • But the company says she misheard the words. 
  • The advertising regulatory body says it's possible to hear the offensive lyrics, but found against the complaint.
  • We definitely heard it.


The newly established Advertising Regulatory Board has ruled against a complaint that accused an Axe body spray ad of using extremely rude language.

In the YouTube ad for Unilever's Axe Gold Body Spray, a young man uses the product and then goes to a party. There, someone hits the bullseye with a dart. As everyone is high-fiving one another, the protagonist is left hanging. He "mimes" his way out of the situation.

A complainant objected to the lyrics right at the start of the ad, which she said sounds like “suck my b****”.

Unilever, which manufactures Axe, said the “lyrics” are actually nonsensical words: "Bam Sima Bamwa Sima Sima Ala."

For its part, the ARB says it "is possible to hear (the offensive words), especially if one is expecting it, but various members of the directorate heard different things.”

The majority of the Business Insider South Africa team definitely heard the offending lyrics – but at least one was undecided. 

The ARB also said it is not clear whether the lyrics deliberately crafted to create this possible impression.

“Even if one hears the lyrics as such, the complaint is lodged against the commercial on YouTube. Young children should not have unfettered access to the internet and to YouTube, and as such should not have unsupervised access to the commercial in the medium complained against. Similarly, young children should not have unfettered access to social media that might provide the link to this YouTube video.”

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