Unilever's Lynx invests more ad budget in content as 'reach' becomes a meaningless metric

Content budgets are on the up at Lynx

Unliever-owned Lynx is upping its content marketing budget and inking music-based partnerships with the likes of Boiler Room and Kyra TV for the coming year as it moves away from simply trying to reach the masses with ads, and instead giver fewer men more engaging content.

Lynx has overhauled its marketing in recent years, ditching the 'use Lynx to get laid' tactic and instead encourage men to be themselves and play up their individuality.

Speaking to The Drum at Advertising Week Europe yesterday (20 March), Rik Strubel - global vice president for advertising at Lynx- said that since the U-turn three years ago, the perception of the brand is now 98% positive and it continues to receive encouraging messages from men on the advertising push.

"In the past, we had a massive reach and got to a lot of people with what was great advertising for a while, but that's not the measure any more. Of course, reach is important, we're a mass brand that needs to reach as many people as possible but just reaching them, meaning that you appear somewhere, you're only there for a second. So we've done a lot of work on conversing more."

The work includes the 'Find Your Magic' and the 'Is it OK...' campaign which played on the idea of changing the results from common searches men made on Google. For the latter, it partnered with Vice and Snapchat to create dedicated social content that Strubel claimed delivered a 21% increase in engagement rates and the highest ever "swipe up rates" for Vice on Snapchat.

And it's these kind of results that have led Strubel to reconfigure the brand's ad budgets to put more into content and partnerships over flagship TV campaigns.

"The days when we would pay millions for an ad to run...that's not what we're doing anymore. We're being efficient but big budgets are going into content," he said. "It's been a real step-change and we're investing more in content than I ever have in my time with the brand."

For the coming year, Strubel plans to "go all in" on music and appear in the places where a guy spends his time. It has inked three major partnerships; one with global online music broadcasting platform Boiler Room, another Kyra TV, a British video platform, and has another deal with an as-yet-unnamed "global superstar".

"It's about moving that whole content journey on," Strubel explained. "We are looking to create an engagement platform that will go on for years and create moments of attraction, online and offline."

The shift is in part due to the overhaul parent company Unilever has made to the advertising plans for all of its major brands: making fewer adverts and stepping up its investment in digital media.

To this end, Lynx (also known as Axe) launched a new campaign in the US four weeks ago, playing on the idea that life's embarrassing moments can be turned into opportunities to show your individuality.

Dubbed 'You're Gold', it's made of several 15, 10 and 6 second pieces of 'mobile-first' content as well as branded gifs and boomerangs that will run on Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube and Facebook.

"It's cheeky and lighthearted, more than you would have seen with other campaigns, which we did deliberately to find a younger audience," he said.

Having got off to a strong start in the US, Strubel said it will soon land in the UK and other European markets.

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