"Offensive" Lynx ad kisses off ASB complaints

Rachael Micallef
By Rachael Micallef | 24 February 2015

Complaints against the latest Lynx TV ad, showing a kiss between two men, has been dismissed by the Advertising Standards Bureau despite several complaints, including one comparing it to the demands of terrorist group ISIS.

The advertisement is for Lynx's hair product range, depicting a young guy who uses the product like a silver screen movie actor. It shows him kissing a woman, with the voiceover stating he could “kiss the hottest girl,” and then shows him kissing a man, with the voiceover continuing “or the hottest boy”.

The ad received a barrage of complaints for showing “sexually explicit material”.

One complainant said: “Yes, Australia is a free country, but this ad seems to me to show the gay minority dictating terms to the normal majority.”

It continues: “ISIS has some ideas on how things should be run, ISIS believe these ideas to be the only way. Fortunately, Australia is not accommodating ISIS, yet... The ad has homosexual content... is immoral and deeply offends my/our religious beliefs.”

Another complainant said: “The man kissing another man in the ad promotes homosexual behaviour and has nothing to do with the product.”

A complainant also called the ad “revolting” and added “I will no longer purchase any Lynx products as a result of this filthy commercial.”

The ASB dismissed all complaints against the ad, noting that it is not inappropriate to show gay intimacy in advertising.

“The board noted the overall tone of the complainant's concerns suggesting that the advertisement features sexually explicit material,” the ASB said. “The board considered the scene involving the two men kissing and noted that the scene is very brief and that the kiss is not lingering and is not particularly passionate and does not then lead to any further kissing or intimacy.”

In response Unilever, which owns the Lynx brand, said the commercial was not in breach of the advertising code.

“The scenes in the television commercial depicting the young man kissing another man on the lips are in line with prevailing community standards which treat gender and sexual preference fairly, impartially and tolerantly,” Unilever said.

“ For example, the television commercial has received praise both nationally and internationally for the progressive and nonchalant manner in which it shows the two men kissing on the lips.”


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