The Advertising Standards Authority has decided to investigate the campaign for Unilever’s male body spray Lynx Bullet after the watchdog received a flurry of complaints that the ads are sexist and degrading to women.
The watchdog is to formally look into the 40 complaints after the ASA Council decided there are further grounds for investigation. The ASA referred the matter to the Council last month, as revealed by Marketing Week.
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.”
The watchdog 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.
The Bullet campaign is the fourth Lynx campaign in as many years to be probed by the ASA. 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 while a 2007 TV spot that showed a young woman abandoning an older women in a wheelchair when she smells a supermarket worker’s deodorant was cleared of being offensive to disabled people.
A 2006 television ad for Lynx Dry, which features a man spraying sweat from his armpits was also cleared.