ASA refers Lynx Bullet ads after complaints of sexism

The Advertising Standards Authority has referred a campaign for Unilever’s male body spray brand Lynx Bullet to the ASA Council after receiving a flurry of complaints that the advertisements are sexist and degrading to women.

The watchdog has received 35 complaints about the campaign, which includes television and poster activity, and has asked the council to consider the complaints “to establish whether or not there appears to be grounds for an investigation”.

The television ad, created by Bartle Bogle Hegarty, shows a young man unnoticed by attractive women who pass him on the street, but who can seemingly see them in their underwear. He then sprays himself with Lynx Bullet and is then noticed by a young woman, who can then see him in his underwear.

The ad concludes with a voiceover and strapline “Never miss an opportunity with new Lynx Bullet. Pocket Pulling Power.” A spokesman for the ASA says the watchdog has also received complaints that the use of the word “bullet” links the product with the use of weapons, while a poster campaign that features the line “get off at every stop” is offensive and unsuitable for children to view.

However, a spokeswoman for Unilever says it is “surprised” to hear the watchdog has received complaints.

“This ad, as with our other famous advertising campaigns, is designed to be loud, fun and outlandish based around the concept of women acting in an unusual way in response to men wearing a Lynx fragrance,” she says.

Last year, an ad for Lynx Dry that showed a man performing tricks with his eyes received 78 complaints for being “offensive” to people with visual impairments but the ASA did not find grounds for investigation.

Unilever launched Lynx Bullet in January as the first pocket-sized male body spray in the UK.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here