Behaviour Change

PROPAGANDA FOR CHANGE is a project created by the students of Behaviour Change (ps359) and Professor Thomas Hills @thomhills at the Psychology Department of the University of Warwick. This work was supported by funding from Warwick's Institute for Advanced Teaching and Learning.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Unrealistic Powers of Lynx

The above video is an advertisement for men's deodorant from Lynx. In the advert the man sprays himself in the morning and transforms into a 'chocolate man' where upon he goes about his day. What is particularly noteworthy about his day is that he attracts women everywhere he goes and with everything he does and rather than actively seeking such interactions, just by virtue of using the deodorant and turning into chocolate these interactions come to him.

Goldenburg, Mazursky and Soloman (1999) characterized successful ads as those that adhere to certain 'abstract patterns', which they termed creativity templates. They identified six such templates and in regards to the Lynx advert above, it seems to me that the most applicable is the Extreme Situation Template.  What this creative technique looks to do is represent unrealistic and absurd situations to highlight and emphasize certain key characteristics and attributes of the product that is being promoted.

In this case, the attribute being emphasized is the smell of the deodorant, it being so good that women will be 'all over you'. The 'absurd situation' itself is the transformation of the man into chocolate; obviously using a chocolate scented spray won't do this in real life but it is implicit within the context and content of the advert that by using it you become an irresistible temptation to women, which is something that a lot of young (straight) men want to be.

The fundamental idea behind the Extreme Situation Template is to push forward a particular attribute of the product by representing the product in a bizarre context that is completely distinct from what it is actually used for. By doing so, the unrealistic nature of the situation is immediately obvious to the potential consumer but by specifically targeting the advert to exaggerate the use of the deodorant to an unrealistic limit, it still represents an understandable analogy and metaphor for the consumer.

In short, the 'Lynx: Dark Temptation' makes use of the Extreme Situation Template. It draws our attention to the fact that the product has the attribute of making you smell irresistible to women and does so by representing a situation where you use the deodorant in an unrealistic way, that is by literally turning into chocolate


Goldenberg, J., Mazursky, D., & Solomon, S. (1999). The fundamental templates of quality ads. Marketing science, 18(3), 333-351.

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