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.