Did Noah even wear deodorant? Or, Lynx does it again.

My attention was brought this evening to Lynx’s ad for their Get It On For The End Of The World 2012 deodorant spray. Tapping into the Mayan prediction that 2012 will see the world’s end, the ad is set in a post-apocalyptic style world where a man roams alone (whilst the lyric “no man can walk alone” plays in the background…see what they did there?) and takes on the biblical character of Noah, building a creatively modern take on the ark (pumping speakers and a work-out suite to boot). A strong, appealing ad so far. ‘Noah’ then sprays the deodorant in question – and Lynx does it again. Instead of animals coming in “two-by-two, hurrah, hurrah”, women sporting smouldering looks and tight denim hotpants appear out of nowhere, perfectly synchronised and forming an ordered queue to get into the ark in the typical “you-smell-so-good-I-can’t-stay-away fashion” we have become so used to seeing. The title takes on a second meaning – and implied is that spraying deodorant is not the only way Noah is ‘getting it on’. Can Lynx’s creative team not think of a new hook? Is “The Lynx Effect” not a little tired? Do they not themselves yawn at their portrayal of women as powerless sex objects? Do they want to continue to insult men by suggesting that without them, they won’t be ‘getting it on’?

The ad is, I’m sure you see, offensive for a few reasons. Two major issues are:

The disrespect for the sacred Scripture and story of Noah found in Muslim, Jewish and Christian faith is blatant. Manipulating and sexualising a text considered to be God-breathed is not acceptable to a wide range of people.

Secondly, women replace the animals found in the original recount of the story of Noah. They take on the formation of a line of animals being herded into a pen (or boat) and seem to be powerless in light of the scent of the Lynx product. They are also extremely sexualised and objectified in their presentation. Women: animals, but powerless, and purely sexual. As someone pointed out in a related Twitter discussion, how on earth are women both animalised AND sexualised in one instance? What a feat, Lynx.

Incidentally, men are also objectified in the ad – Noah seemingly HAS to show off his six-pack and spray Lynx for the animalised women to appear; it is his physical appeal that brings the women to him, not his creativity or genius behind building the ark.

To complain about the ad, here are a few guidelines and the appropriate form to the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) here.

Furthermore – ironically, Lynx is owned by Unilever who claims to be  “wholeheartedly committed to ethical trading.” As Charlotte Reynolds voiced here last month, I echo the demand for “ethical trading” to take on a more comprehensive form. Ethical treatment of employees across the production line, yes. But what about ethical advertising? The ethical treatment of holy texts and the ethical portrayal of men, women and children? Unilever, this is just not good enough.

8 thoughts on “Did Noah even wear deodorant? Or, Lynx does it again.

  1. Usually I think LYNX adverts compliment their brand image very well (despite upsetting a minority). However this one does appear to be purely about shocking the audience by offending all kinds of demographic!
    Thanks this helped a lot.

  2. How is it disrespectful? At worst it’s imitation (the sincerest form of flattery, a quote attributed to a former cleric no less).

    Also, doesn’t the supposed objectification of men counteract that supposed sexism towards women?

    1. Thanks for commenting. I think the problem is where imitation changes things in a degrading manner – Lynx took a story from a text considered to be sacred by many and sexualised it. Unfortunately, sexism doesn’t counteract sexism. It is a question of HUMAN worth: whether in relation to men or to women, I don’t believe anyone should be objectified. “Two wrongs don’t make a right”, etc.

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