There’s nothing like getting banned by the Advertising Standards Board (ASB) for generating masses of free PR.
The latest Lynx ad, that is seeks to encourage Australians to clean their dirty balls (the double entendre is more than intended), has been censured for denigrating the elderly.
Let’s face it. When it comes to Lynx ads, you know you’re entering interesting territory. This is not the first time a Lynx ad has been censured by the ASB. Last year, another ad was removed because it objectified women.
Most of the Lynx ads use double entendres, scantily clad women and, a sense of humour. They are designed to polarise – you either love them, or you hate them.
Complaints against this latest Lynx ad, a Unilever product, began immediately after its first television airing.
However, Lynx was cleared of many of the complaints made by the viewing public, including that it demeaned both sexes, was racist and, used bad language.
It might be tacky. It might be tawdry. It might even be annoying. But, the thing is, the dirty balls campaign isn’t even new.
It is, in fact, a direct copy of an ad for Axe in the US. Basically, Axe is rebranded as Lynx in the Australian, UK, Ireland and New Zealand markets. The Axe version of the ad is two years old. So, we’re not talking about original advertising here. Chances are, if you follow internet viral videos, you saw the original US version in 2010.
Plus, the official Lynx response video (Video #2) that was released after the ABS censure, is also a direct copy of the ‘press conference’ ad for Axe (Video #4). It seems obvious that all of this was a planned part of the strategy. The banning of the ad by the ABS has just added a whole new dimension two the second planned ad and it’s added a boost to the campaign.
But is it offensive? It’s peppered with double entendres about balls, so, if that isn’t going to be your cup of tea, so to speak – don’t watch the following four videos. As we say at Anthill HQ, it’s a bit salty – not the language, but the over the top, overt double entendre.
If the campaign for Lynx is going to be a complete copy of the US one, the next cab off the rank will be a ‘cleanest dirty photos caption context’. Expect to see these to be shared in your Facebook newsfeed soon.
Is the whole campaign in bad taste? Possibly, but it’s a Lynx ad. What else can be expected? Every ad prior to this has trained the audience to expect nothing less from Lynx, as a brand.
Perhaps the only thing that could be considered offensive in this ad is the acting in the Australia version (Video #1). It seems to fall remarkably flat compared to the US version (Video #3). It’s a bit like watching the US remake of the IT Crowd.
However, it should be noted that the Axe campaign was not censured in the US. Yet, is has been in Australia.
If you’re interested, you can read the full report of the ASB decision. The report also includes the details of the complaints made against the ad.
Have we lost our sense of humour, or is this ad really offensive?
Video #1: Lynx Balls ad (Australia)
Video #2: Lynx response to the banning of the Balls campaign (Australia)
Video #3: Axe Balls ad (US)
Video #4: Axe media conference ad spot for the Balls campaign (US)