Angelic Upstarts: Lynx Turns Boys Into Men

I notice the Lynx Fallen Angel tv ads now have a comedy addendum (see above). What better way to seal the deal with the target audience than some irreverent visual gags with our now familiar fallen angelic lasses? Rule No1 of British popular culture is that where sex goes, comedy must surely follow – titter ye not. Sex takes itself seriously and therefore offends comedy’s sensibilities. It needs to be brought down to size. But the new ad does more than just add laughs – it changes the Lynx Adolescent into a Lynx Man.

Lynx has for a long time put across an image of young men as desperate fantasists who are pretty hopeless with women. Which was certainly true in my case (sorry, ladies, I’m no longer available). They somehow luck out and hey, guess what, it could be that funky deodorant they’re wearing … For the deodorant to be hero, the lads have had to be a bit inadequate. Lynx has been careful not to intimidate our cowering youths with macho body shapes or rugged features: the male models are basically nice skinny indie kids or clubbers too blissed out to be able to pull. Then Lynx comes along: deodorant as aphrodisiac. At times it’s been like watching ads for rohypnol. Not very subtle but gets the message across, it’s relevant, clear, kind of fun. It sort of worked. But you sensed the lads’ immaturity remained, locking them in a dependent relationship with their Lynx. The Lynx was helping them, but it was actually stopping them growing up at the same time. But the new ad makes men – or rather “blokes” – of them.

Now we have a new type of Lynx guy: ‘man in possession of girlfriend’. This is different. He’s in control; he’s got her. He’s moved straight from drooling inanely at the sight of a pretty girl to taking her for granted. He only fleetingly passed her, moving up the status ladder as she was coming down. Now he is embarrassed by her, her god-like aura shattered (presumably by being bedded by him – funny how the power dynamic shifts at that point). The girl is now human – and indeed, being female, a slightly lesser form of human in his eyes. Because he has morphed into a trad bloke.

No longer in awe, he adopts a affectionate relationship with her – he sees her as sweet and quirky – he really wants to pat her on the head more than pleasure her. As in earlier Lynx ads, he’s still the “normal” one coming into contact with the other-worldly – but now he’s tamed her and her other-worldliness is dismissed as oddness. He is a man in control.

So these Lynx blokes go from being invisible to women to seeing right through them in a trice. Dizzying. It’s a study in the “battle and conquer” school of relationships, beloved of 3rd Century A.D. legionnaries and Colin Farrell. As such, it plugs them into a universal male belief system, not just metrosexual yoof.

It will be interesting to see where it goes from here; I have an inkling:

  • In the next ad, he dumps the angel and goes out with her best mate.
  • In the one after that, like the sirens of Greek myth, the bird-women will reveal their hideously ugly visages and attempt to fly off across the Aegean with our heroes in their talons. Cut to a grotesque cliff nest, with Lynx man’s fragrant torso being fed to several hungry chicks. Certificate 18.
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About Simon Riley

Qualitative researcher in the UK. I listen to people from all walks of life and think about what it all means. I work for leading brands, media companies and government.
This entry was posted in 21st Century Britain, Brand communications, Media, Semiotics, Society and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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