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Playing cards have been with us since the 14th century, when they first entered popular culture. Over the centuries packs of cards, in all shapes and sizes, have been used for games, gambling, education, conjuring, advertising, fortune telling, political messages or the portrayal of national or ethnic identity. All over the world, whatever language is spoken, their significance is universal. Their popularity is also due to the imaginative artwork and graphic design which is sometimes overlooked, and the “then & now” of how things have changed.

Axe Deodorant

Clearly promoting good personal hygiene, each card shows a young, pouting female model posing seductively and appealing to the playboy.

Axe Deodorant Playing Cards by Zecat, Argentina, c.2004

A 52-card French-suited pack, with 2 jokers + strip poker score card, in a matching box, was given free with each pack of Axe deodorant sold to customers in South American countries. The item is manufactured anonymously, except for the words "Zecat" and "Ind Argentina" (made in Argentina) appearing on one of the box flaps in some editions. There are several editions, with slight differences in the photographs, and different bottles of deodorant bodyspray shown on the Jokers. In some editions the box has text in Spanish and Portuguese, and in others there is no text or information on the box. Clearly promoting good personal hygiene, each card shows a young, pouting female model posing seductively and appealing to the playboy. Zecat specialise in promotional gifts and merchandising for retailers supplied mainly from China and have offices in Argentina and Chile (www.zecat.com).

Axe Deodorant Playing Cards by Zecat, Argentina, c.2004

Above: the pack comes in several editions for different countries, but is essentially the same in each case, with 52 different photos on the cards + 2 jokers + Strip Poker score card.

Axe Deodorant Playing Cards by Zecat, Argentina, c.2004 Axe Deodorant Playing Cards by Zecat, Argentina, c.2004 Axe Deodorant Playing Cards by Zecat, Argentina, c.2004

Above: Axe Deodorant promotional playing cards produced by Zecat for several South American countries including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela. Anonymous manufacturer, c.2004. This example shows Touch deodorant bodyspray on the two jokers. Other editions show Unlimited deodorant bodyspray.

Axe Deodorant leaflet, c.2004
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By Simon Wintle

Member since February 01, 1996

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Curator and editor of the World of Playing Cards since 1996.

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