The End Of The World As We Know It

Occasionally, as you will know, faithful blog trotters mine, I get a little bit taken with a prime example of the admaker’s art, and all overcome with how brilliant they are at selling stuff. I know how sad this is, but, still, credit where credit is due – when I have been presumptuous enough to try and identify key trends in communication (any communication, nota bene), I have always put humour right up there at the top of the list. Make people laugh in an unexpected, wry, self-deprecating or genuinely funny way (and you’d be surprised, or maybe you wouldn’t, at how much humour isn’t, actually, genuinely funny – and is none the worse for it) and you’ve got ’em.

Everyone likes a laugh – better still, everyone likes a clever laugh – and never more so than when everyone’s hurting financially, as we all are currently. (As those who were elected to take care of the world instead f*ck it all up on our collective behalf. Thanks.)

Now, obviously, not all brands or companies can use the humour route. Oil exploration, energy generation, financial services (and related industries) and funeral directors – amongst others – face something of a challenge if they want to make funny, and my advice would be not to try. Thus and therefore it actually behoves those brands who can do it – mostly fast-moving consumer goods with personality (think beer and crisps and smoothies) – to get to it on the hurry up. Take, for example, the truly magical ‘Good Call’ Fosters adverts – if you’re not familiar, can I suggest you do a YouTubey on their ass – which never fail to make me feel better about life in general.

(However, and extraordinarily germane to this post, have a look at this link and breathe a collective ‘wtf’. )

So, the latest commercial execution to make me feel so much better about things in general, to restore my faith in humanity, is the latest Lynx ad, for its 2012 Final Edition deodorant. Yes, snorkellers, I am going to post a link to it, but before I do that, I need to make the odd incisive observation – as is my wont.

For those who don’t know, Lynx is a (sorry, Lynx guys) fairly downmarket range of male grooming products – shower gels and deodorants. But the brand has become iconic through its marketing communications – it’s clever, it’s tongue-in-cheek, it’s not too serious – hell, it’s sexist, but even the laydeez have a laugh (*). Personally, I’m a customer. Those who are familiar with the products and what they appear to promise will share my frustration at the fact that, to date, no angels, or bikini-clad women have actually invaded my personal shower space while I have been using said products, but I look at it like the lottery – gotta be in it to win it.

(*) How do I draw this conclusion? Read on, blog rollers, read on.

Anyway, long story etc etc. As you’ll all know, the world is going to end on December 21 2012. Or perhaps not – perhaps it’ll be more a sort of cataclysmic event, and not an end. Or possibly, it’ll be a sort of spiritual transformation and things will not only not end, they will positively continue, but perhaps in a different fashion.  (NB again – I have to say, all this strange stuff going on in the world currently – continent-sized icebergs in Antarctica, earthquakes in Japan and SF, flooding in Thailand, 29 degrees in the UK in October, social unrest globally, the Arab Spring and Greece about to cause the biggest period of economic instability since economics was invented by that nice Mr Milton Keynes – does make you wonder whether we’re not, in fact, lining up for a cataclysm. Just me?)

So the nice Lynx people make a fabulous leap of creativity, announce their Final Edition body spray and make an ad – well – watch it for yourself here. I like this a lot. It is clever. It looks good. It has a nice soundtrack and, best of all it completely embodies what I perceive the brand to be about. Tongue-in-cheek – we all know that no amount of body spray is going to render a bearded carpenter (hey – new connection! One I’d missed! It’s sacrilegious as well!) magnetically attractive to women – but, well, I’ll keep using the stuff. You know, just on the off-chance. Anyway. Enjoy.

Finally, and tying up all the loose ends. I’ve posted a link to a Lynx Facebook page deliberately. I’m drawing the conclusion that the laydeez are having a laugh as well, despite it being a tad sexist, because they don’t appear to be complaining.

I posted a link to the Pink News and its questioning around the homophobic nature of the Fosters Good Call ad as an illustration that no matter how clear you are about your intentions, no matter how obvious the comedy, not matter how clearly it is a case of ‘laughing with you, not at you’ – there’s always space to be filled, comments to be made and, yes, people who will take offence at anything.

And with social media, these joyless, humourless, literal and narrow-minded curmudgeons get their say. Check out the comments on the Lynx Facebook page. Here’s an example:

“This is a really sick fuckin ad, playin on peoples fear and vulnerability. take it off tv ads idiots…..”

There are those who champion the use of social media in a marketing context because it’s all about the conversation, the learnings from the consumer – well, you try having a conversation with, or learning from, that particular fucknut.

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