Ad Nut
Aug 23, 2019

The scent of a gamer: Lynx tie-in with Xbox debuts, with a dull film

An inexplicable dual-branded product line launches in ANZ with a four-minute paint-by-the-numbers film about a socially awkward guy who (spoiler alert) gets the girl in the end.

So, apparently, we live in a world where two big companies, armed with the best market research money can buy, decided that a line of Xbox-branded Lynx/Axe products—body spray, deodorant, shower gel—made sense.

The reasoning escapes Ad Nut. Does the stuff make you smell like a gamer? Or does its existence imply that, exactly in line with stereotypes, gamers really need help to avoid causing olfactory offense? Is the Xbox fragrance—"a fresh scent of pulsing green citrus, featuring top notes of kaffir lime and winter lemon, aromatic herbal middle notes of mint and sage, and woody bottom notes of patchouli and clearwood"—scientifically formulated to appeal to gamers? Or is the stuff brilliantly engineered to chemically interact with and therefore overcome some sort of natural funk inherent to Xbox players?

Ad Nut does not know. But who is Ad Nut to argue? Surely the pairing is genius on some level that's not perceptible to mere mortals like Ad Nut. It'll probably be a massive success. 

As fun as it is to speculate, we're not here to pick apart the product itself, but rather the marketing. How does massive FMCG company Unilever, and more specifically the Lynx/Axe brand, which has done interesting work before, choose to introduce this ground-breaking product line in Australia and New Zealand?

With a "four-minute launch film, created specifically for the teenage male gamer audience and fine-tuned for social distribution", of course.

Unfortunately, this apparently means the entirely predictable, surprisingly glacial, trope-filled film above, which traffics in the most simplistic "insights" imaginable about gamers and teens. Is there a socially awkward but likeable protagonist? Check. A seemingly unattainable love interest. Naturally. A jealous bully ready to thwart our hero's dreams? You know it. Some allusions to popular games? Do you even have to ask? A happy ending? Come on. 

The film is exactly what Ad Nut, or you, or anyone, might have come up with for this product after a few minutes' thought. It's predictable and rooted in annoying stereotypes and just plain uninteresting. The Street Fighter climax is not only easy to predict from very early on but also falls flat when it finally arrives. The video is meant to be light-hearted and fun, but it's ponderous—seeming much longer than its running time. And it's surprisingly light on knowing gamer references and cool visuals. The whole thing seems like a missed opportunity given the richness of the gaming universe.

Are we not entertained? No. No, we are not. 

But interestingly, just like in another campaign Ad Nut looked at recently (see "Kayak campaign proves brevity is the soul of wit"), a couple of the cut-downs of the longer film are surprisingly enjoyable.

See that? The characters don't wear out their welcome. The super-tight editing gets us to the action without any dilly-dallying. Everything just works because it's more tightly packed and over quickly. Point made. Done.

Maybe Ad Nut is just an impatient creature. But brands and agencies should think hard: Do you really need a long-form online video? Do you really have something that can sustain interest throughout the proposed running time? Can you 'Lift your game' and deliver something that surprises and delights and actually entertains? If not, maybe stick to being concise.


Client: Unilever
Unilever Marketing Manager, Deodorants: Scott Mingl
LYNX Brand Manager: Marc Holloway
LYNX Assistant Brand Manager: Maxine Townley

Client: Xbox
Marketing Lead AU/NZ: Julia Lehepuu

Creative and Production: Emotive
CEO: Simon Joyce
Chief Strategy Officer: Tyler Wilson
Business Director: Marshall Campbell
Group Creative Director / Director: Zane Pearson
Senior Creative/2nd Unit Director: Rory Pearson
Additional Writer: Nathan Burley
Senior Producer: Fiona Patterson
Assistant Producer: Michael Hollis
DOP: Simon Ozolins
Editor: Sam Gadsden
Media Agency: PHD
Visual Effects: Blockhead VFX
Sound Composition and Design: Rumble Studios
Motion Graphics: Chris Angelius
Colour Grade: Scott Maclean

Ad Nut is a surprisingly literate woodland creature that for unknown reasons has an unhealthy obsession with advertising. Ad Nut gathers ads from all over Asia and the world for your viewing pleasure, because Ad Nut loves you. You can also check out Ad Nut's Advertising Hall of Fame, or read about Ad Nut's strange obsession with 'murderous beasts'.


Campaign Asia

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