Adwatch (Aug 3) - Top 20 recall: Lynx has an effect

Unilever's male-grooming range still raises a smile with play on attraction theme.

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No wonder this ad got the top spot this week. When I looked it up on YouTube, I must have found the naughtier version of this 30-second, safer variety. There's no denying which one I enjoyed more.

In typical Lynx fashion, we are faced with a young man miraculously attracting reams of lovely women. This ad is clearly aligned with the 'Lynx effect' proposition - the brand's promise of 'something extra' to enable average men to seduce girls.

A young man taking advantage of a shower at a beach uses a bottle of Lynx bodywash and is intrigued by its effect on nearby women. Together with the strapline, 'The cleaner you get the dirtier you get', and brilliant choice of music (The Wash by Brenda and The Tabulations), this is another amusing way to make the claim that the smelly stuff makes the user irresistible.

Deodorant has a mundane category benefit and the sector is riddled with banal advertising. Lynx does a great job of keeping its core product central to its advertising without having to sacrifice laughs.

I'm constantly impressed by how long the Lynx gag can last. Repeated refreshment of the dichotomy between slightly awkward men and smokin' hot women due to a heady scent seems never to get boring when it comes from Lynx, and it has done well to make the sort of ads that implicitly initiate the desire to share it with friends.

The industry has quickly learned that the best TV work is the best because it is content that it seems a crime not to share - one could suggest that Lynx did this before its time. It made shareable content that lasts 30 seconds, while other brands were making messages that lasted 30 seconds. There's a big difference.

I wonder whether Lynx is lucky because it owns a special ingredient: having fun with the fact that people love to look at hot women. O'Neill Amsterdam proves this point - it sent a gaggle of bikini-clad girls on surfboards through the canals, to the track Plage by Crystal Fighters. The video had 600,000 views on YouTube in a month with no ad support and, from what we can tell, little media budget: great content that celebrates beautiful girls in a cheeky way.

What can we learn these days from Lynx? Well, the old rules still apply; it still has a strong central thought, the product has a clear role in the target audience's lives, it still seems differentiated from the rest of the category and it still produces shareable TV ads.

TV is far from dead, but is now often a starting point for building bigger stories. There is a newer, crucial addition to creative strategy: work that inspires further intrigue with a bigger story, and thus a deeper relationship with the brand and product, is what we should all be aiming for.

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