'Offensive' Lynx adverts banned by advertising watchdog
- 23 November 2011
- From the section Business
Six adverts for Lynx men's toiletries have been banned in their current form by the advertising watchdog after attracting more than 100 complaints.
The Advertising Standards Authority concluded that the five internet adverts and a poster "were likely to cause serious or widespread offence".
Many complainants said an ad for Lynx shower gel was sexually suggestive.
Lynx manufacturer Unilever said its adverts provoked diverse reactions and it had not intended to cause offence.
The adverts were circulated during the summer.
The poster for Lynx shower gel showed a woman in a bikini under a shower at a beach, with the headline: "The cleaner you are the dirtier you get."
The 113 complainants said it was sexually suggestive, demeaning to women, and inappropriate for public display because it could be seen by children. Some of the complainants reported they had seen the poster near schools.
In its adjudication, the ASA concluded the poster was "likely to be considered offensive by many members of the public, particularly those who were accompanied by children".
But the ASA said two TV ads in the campaign, featuring a group of women in bikinis, were unlikely to cause offence because they had timing restrictions to protect children.
Five internet adverts for Lynx Dry Full Control deodorant, which featured model Lucy Pinder, attracted 15 complaints.
The adverts, shown on sites including Yahoo, Hotmail and Spotify, showed Ms Pinder eating an ice lolly, stripping wallpaper or bending over an oven door.
In a separate ruling on the internet adverts, the ASA concluded that they were irresponsible because they had been placed on two websites, Rotten Tomatoes and Anorak, which "were not protected through age verification or other similar targeting".
It noted that Unilever intended the adverts to be a "tongue-in-cheek take on the 'mating game'", but the various activities carried out by Ms Pinder were "presented in a sexually provocative way".
The adverts were "likely to be seen as gratuitous and to objectify women", it said, and would also be "seen as degrading to women".
The watchdog warned Unilever to ensure its adverts were "appropriately targeted" in future.
A spokesman for Lynx said: "As an advertiser we strive to be responsible and observe strict guidelines for all brand communications.
"Lynx adverts often provoke diverse reactions and opinions but it is never our intention to cause offence."
Last month, at a Downing Street summit, the ASA said it was tightening its rules to protect children from unsuitable images.