Brand Health Check: Lynx
Despite some memorable ads, sales of the male-grooming brand have fallen.
Largely through some cheeky and memorable advertising campaigns, Unilever's Lynx managed to fend off many attacks on its 'cool' credentials over the years - even the endorsement of that most potent symbol of all things naff, Alan Partridge.
The brand's core consumer base of teenage boys either did not know or did not care that the deodorant they hoped would give them success with 'the ladies' was also favoured by the fictional regional radio presenter.
Its most recent ad campaign, inspired by Top Gun, features two pilots with sensitive skin competing for the affections of a beautiful woman. Inevitably, the one who does not use Lynx's Dry+ Sensitive loses out, falling into the sea.
However, the 'Lynx effect' of the male fragrance, which has variants including Africa, Instinct, Bullet and Fever, also appears to be plummeting, according to SymphonyIRI.
Its sales fell by 2.3% in the year to 12 June, while its competitor, Sure for Men, enjoyed a 14% increase over the same period.
During the recession, some retailers reduced the shelf space devoted to deodorants, and some Lynx lines were delisted. There is a danger, therefore, that despite its best advertising efforts, the brand will lose its place in the hearts of a new generation of young bucks.
What can Unilever do to revive the 'Lynx effect'? We asked Sean Kinmont, creative director of 23red, who has worked with Budweiser and Bacardi, and Paul Arscott, planning director at Big Communications, whose clients include WKD.
SEAN KINMONT, creative director, 23red
Remember the ads for Impulse body spray featuring men 'acting on impulse', losing their inhibitions and approaching the sweet-smelling girls with bunches of flowers? This strategy was so successful that Unilever launched Axe for men; a deodorant that smelt like a cologne.
The positioning was similar: a fragrance so seductive that it caused girls to make the first move. This helped to launch the brand and generated a raft of award-winning campaigns that received global acclaim.
Branded as Lynx in the UK, it appealed to a new demographic that emerged during the 90s - 'lads'. The deodorant successfully tapped into a zeitgeist that venerated Loaded magazine as its scripture and required its followers to cover their bedroom walls with posters of Eva Herzigova.
Now it is synonymous with cheeky viral advertising in which men are no longer seduced but virtually molested by gorgeous women. Recently, former glamour model Keeley Hazell moonlighted as said babe, and now actress and TV presenter Jessica-Jane Clement is entertaining the boys.
However, somehow the magic has been lost. Lower-cost brands are stealing market share, sales are down and the brand is stuck in puberty while the audience's tastes have matured.
- Reinvent the 'Lynx effect' by rewriting the rules of seduction to make them more relevant and rewarding to today's audience.
- Create a fresh brand platform with a series of events allowing a lucky few to experience the 'Lynx effect'.
- Revamp the packaging and perhaps collaborate with a respected designer on a new fragrance.
PAUL ARSCOTT, planning director, Big Communications Group
Lynx has performed wonders in recent years, making young guys believe there is something interesting about deodorant and that, given a well-timed spray or two, your luck is in with the opposite sex.
This strategy works on single young men, because it promises all that they desire. Confidence is the single biggest motivational driver (83%) for deodorant buyers; Lynx promises it by the canful.
A real problem of this strategy is that the brand becomes a victim of its own success. Lynx, being a symbol of his sexual freedom, isn't appropriate for the bathroom shelf of a young guy with a new girlfriend.
Performance brands, and those with skincare heritage, are growing in appeal.
Lynx has become a lifestyle brand, or even a phase you pass through, and continues to innovate in format to stay alive. However, the next generation of young men wants a lifestyle brand of its own to identify with. Lynx is in danger of following the footsteps of Old Spice and Brut.
- Develop the 'where-next' strategy for Lynx. Its values are now firmly embedded in UK youth culture, but their application needs new relevance.
- Strengthen the emotional connection beyond the 'mating-game' platform, and tap into other areas where confidence plays a key role in the lives and motivations of the core audience.
- Capitalise further on the unisex proposition to develop other life-stage connections with men.
- Work on NPD and packaging in consultation with female purchasers (of their partners' toiletries) to make Lynx more acceptable.
- Be prepared to break the mould of advertising to create the next generation of brand advocates.
This article was first published on marketingmagazine.co.uk
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