Axe Advertising Unilever

Scientists suggest there may be some truth to ‘the Lynx Effect’ advertising slogan after all


By The Drum Team, Editorial

October 23, 2016 | 3 min read

For years, men’s brand Lynx advertised itself on the premise that a spray of its deodorant could make even the most average of Joes become irresistible to women.

lynx effect

The 'Lynx effect' in action

And while its campaigns may have seemed far-fetched, scientists are now suggesting that there may indeed be some truth to the marketing hype after all.

The Sunday Times, no less, today reports that “scientists have discovered that a splash of a well-chosen fragrance instantly lifts a less attractive man’s sex appeal several notches”.

It suggests fragrance can be a leveller for the kind of unprepossessing men depicted in the Lynx campaigns, who it says are otherwise at a disadvantage because they “emit far less of the sex hormones by which women subconsciously rate men’s appeal”.

“For men, fragrance use appears to be enhancing levels of body-odour masculinity,” said Caroline Allen, of Newcastle University’s Centre for Behaviour and Evolution, in a research paper.

Unilever, which owns Lynx and the Axe brand name it goes by outside the UK, dropped ‘the Lynx effect’ advertising slogan at the turn of this year in favour of a new approach promising to inject more ‘honesty’ into the male grooming category.

And even a scientific endorsement probably won’t be enough to make it change back, because as the Times says, this research is applicable to all male fragrances and not all of its findings represent good news for the industry.

“The research found there is little point in alpha males — those with muscular physiques, deep voices and larger jaws — using fragrances because their natural odours do a far better job,” the broadsheet reports.

The research was conducted by asking 20 men and 20 women to wear ‘odour collection pads’ under their arms for a day. A panel of odour raters then assessed their smell while another panel judged their appearance.

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