The ruling was in response to a number of complaints over a recent Lynx campaign which offered viewers a choice of “party girl”, “high maintenance girl”, “brainy girl, “sports girl” or “flirty girl” in an online and cinema campaign.
The ads then recommended different ranges of Lynx shower gel to viewers based on their on their “type of girl”. The campaign attracted 17 complaints in total.
Unilever responded to the complaints claiming its Lynx campaigns ran with the theme of how attractive Lynx was to girls in the “mating game” and that audiences have come to expect and be comfortable with the brand’s tone of advertising.
The FMCG giant further defended itself by adding that the cinema ad slots ran with appropriate ‘U’ and ‘PG’ ratings and that some of its online ad slots were timed in keeping with the wishes of clearance bodies such as Clearcast.
The ASA ruled the campaign was likely to be seen as merely illustrating that some people were attracted to others with particular traits.
The ruling read: “While the idea of choosing a “type” may be distasteful, in the context of the ads the women were unlikely to be seen as objects and therefore, we considered on that basis, the ads were unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.”