Lynx is moving away from its ‘1990s lads mag’ branding, here’s why

The days of the Lynx Effect and adverts showing women drawn in hordes to any man wearing its fragrance appear to be over as the brand attempts to move away from its “1990s lads mag” style of branding and looks to a more “mature, sophisticated” messaging.

Lynx built its whole brand around the male fantasy of women – and even angels – clamouring over each other to reach the object of their desire. Its sexual humour and over-the-top set-ups helped it appeal to young men and become one of the biggest brands in the male grooming sector.

That strategy, however, is “not relevant anymore”, brand manager David Titman told Marketing Week.

“It doesn’t reflect how guys view the world and the mating game. The rules have changed over the years and there is that perception that is no longer relevant.

“There is a growing consumer demand for things that are sophisticated, premium, and Lynx needs to fit into that trend. We are trying to modernise and also genuinely drive appeal,” he said.

Unilever-owned Lynx has come under fire for its advertising in the past, with people complaining that its advertising was “too sexual”, “objectifying women” and “promoting racial stereotypes”.

Titman said Lynx is “not ashamed” of that strategy, saying it is “part of the brand DNA” and success of the Lynx brand.

“We are and should be proud. That positioning crafted the brand we’ve got today, we’re not ashamed of it. Our marketing will always be about the guy but will we be as overt as we have been in the past about Lynx being a ‘mythical potion’? Probably not,” said Titman.

This year’s launch of its new ‘Black’ range is its biggest step yet along this route. The campaign banner is “Bring the Quiet”, with TV ads (above) promoting both the master brand and its separate products.

Brand transition

The ads are noticeably different from previous campaigns. Gone is the “Lynx Effect” messaging, the gaggles of girls, to be replaced with a more understated look and feel.

The same is true of the Black product – which has deliberately been given a more subtle fragrance. While the range is aimed at current and new customers, it’s also a deliberate attempt to appeal to older consumers that may have stopped using Lynx.

Lynx began on this road a couple of years ago with the launch of its Apollo campaign, which saw the brand team up with astronaut Buzz Aldrin to give fans a chance to go into space. However it maintained its bloke feel with ads suggesting “nothing beats an astronaut”.

Its Peace campaign last year continued the shift with a tie-up with event Peace One Day and a campaign that encourage Britons to positively influence their communities.

‘A product and a brand job’

Sales of Lynx are “maintaining market share in a declining market”, according to Titman. Figures from Euromonitor show that Lynx’s market share globally dropped slightly in 2014, to 14.2% from 14.6% the previous year while the overall market saw sales value rise by 8%.

Lynx is looking to grow share – particularly in the deodorant sector.

Lynx conducted extensive customer research to look at both the brand and product to find out if it had an equity job to do around the brand or a product job. What it found was that it was a bit of both.

“If we’ve fallen out of people’s repertoire we’ve called out for a reason and we wanted to understand what that is.”

Lynx brand manager David Titman

“If we’ve fallen out of people’s repertoire we’ve fallen out for a reason and we wanted to understand what this is,” said Titman.

“This campaign is a bit of a hybrid. One of the reasons people leave the brand is they think the fragrance is too overpowering so this is designed to appeal to people that may have lapsed out of the brand. Hand in hand with that is the campaign itself. We are solving the product issue and the brand issue and elevating Lynx to a new positioning,” he said.

Becoming a style brand

Part of that positioning is a new focus on becoming a leader in male style and grooming. Lynx is opening a concept store in Shoreditch that will act as both a retail and event space and host pop-up cinemas, music gigs, talks and seminars.

It has also signed a retail collaboration with Asos and has a concession in local barbers Jack the Clipper to “dial up its style and fashion elements”.

While the aim is to get people down to the store to experience the “physical manifestation of the brand”, Lynx is also looking to generate content that it can share online – from showing live gigs on YouTube to holding Q&A sessions around its seminars.

Digital is a big focus for Lynx as it looks to drive more online sales. Hogan said male grooming generally under-indexes online, in part because communicating fragrance online is difficult, but says it is the duty of a market leader like Lynx to try and “crack the issue”.

The transition to the new brand position will take a few more years, admitted Titman. If you’ll miss the old brand, here are a few highlights from its ads:

Lynx Excite

It seems even angels aren’t immune to the effects of Lynx as the brand showed in this ad for its Excite range.

Lynx Instinct

Lynx went back in time for this ad, which showed women clamouring for a more ‘modern’ caveman.

Lynx Attract

One for the men and the ladies as Lynx attempted to repeat its success in the female grooming sector.



There are 3 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Matt Stockbridge 15 May 2015

    As a wise person once said, we may not have liked the identity of the brand but at least it had one. That brand was also Iconic and had a large market share in a declining market and today it’s almost dissappeared. Let’s hope that there isn’t a “We are going back to the core brand values” message in a few years. This might finally be the opportunity for a serious challenger to start making an impact. It’s not as though many haven’t tried in the last 20 years? If the main problem really is the scent then change the scent rather than elevating Lynx to a new positioning. Whatever that means

  2. Ed Whitehead 15 May 2015

    I wonder which of the ads are getting the most plays in this article page. Seriously though MW – it would be good to know….

  3. Steve Therave 2 Jun 2015

    Lynx became iconic (again) when it tapped into the late 90’s/00’s lad culture. It appealed to it’s target audience and told them beautiful women were accessible (even if you didn’t work out and were not ‘typically attractive’). However, the ‘lad’ has changed. He has become more hipster and this is who they are now tapping into, complete with there ‘instagram-esque’ filtered lighting and neutral shades used in the new ad campaigns. Full marks to them for acknowledging that change and look to become more relevant.

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