When Unilever carried out research on what men really want when pursuing the opposite sex, they discovered that it wasn’t a Boy meets Girl happy ending that young men were searching for. Way too boring!
The male phantasy, as discovered after researching thousands of men in an anonymous survey, was to be irresistable to many women – simultaneously. They also discovered – based on observations of men on a night out – that they could segment men’s behaviour in pursuit of the opposite sex: the Predator – a tough guy whose intention was to leave you breakfasting on your own; the Natural Talent – the confident, good looking guy with everything going for him; the Ideal Husband type – good marrying material; the Friend – the relationship that would never go beyond the dreaded ‘we’re just friends’ stage; the Insecure Novice and the Enthusiastic Novice.
The difference between the last two types was that the Insecure Novice really wanted to play the field and threw all the right shapes but never really got anywhere, while the Enthusiastic Novice was the newcomer, not too self-conscious but not all that successful either.
Why did Unilever care? Well they were trying to up their sales of Lynx male products (known as Axe in the US) and they knew that if they could tap into male daydreams, hopes and, in particular, fears they would be on a winner.
So you guessed it! They focused on the poor old Insecure Novice as their prime target. Guys wanting to get the girls bought it by the bucketload. Teachers in Canada formally complained about the challenge of teaching a bunch of guys who had sprayed on so much deodorant and other Lynx care products that the teachers couldn’t think straight.
The original ads featured more puny guys but later campaigns decided not to so obviously associate the brand with losers. Check them out for yourself!
For more stories from the Marketing Board Room, read Martin Lindstrom’s latest book, Brandwashing.