Brand Republic informs us that Unilever's Lynx brand has escaped a ban for its TV ad in which a man showers people in jets of sweat from his armpits. The spot was originally created by VegaOlmosPonce, Argentina and adapted by Lowe London for the UK market. Twenty people complained to the ASA that the ad, which begain airing in September, was "offensive", "insensitive" and made fun of those suffering from hyperhidrosis, a condition that causes excess sweating.
Lynx owner Unilever said that to avoid people taking the ad seriously, it had exaggerated the sweating to such an extent that it was clearly not real.
The Advertising Standards Authority said: "The images of sweat spurting from the man's underarms were exaggerated and unrealistic and were unlikely to be taken seriously." However, it did acknowledge that some people might find the ad distasteful.
Additionally a spot for Virgin Trains, entitled "Apache" by Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R has also escaped bannage. There were 83 complaints stating it was "racist and used an outdated cultural stereotype of Native American people".
BBC Magazine reviewed the spot and liked it.
Brand consultant Keith Lovegrove, author of Railway: Identity, Design and Culture, who was a fan of the Cary Grant advert and is impressed with this one too, says he particularly enjoyed the notion of the Apache chief attempting to steal the passenger's intellectual copyright. "Perhaps that's the 21st Century equivalent of lever-action Winchester Carbines," he says.
According to the Guardian, several complainants believed the commercial trivialised Native American history and the treatment of the people.
Responding on behalf of Virgin Rail, the ad agency said it was meant to be a light-hearted "affectionate homage" to the cowboy and Indian film genre that kept with the brand's theme of making ads in the style of classic films.
The Advertising Standards Authority acknowledged these arguments and agreed that because it was set in a "fictional and imitative context", the ad was likely to believed as a parody of western films, and not a comment on Native American people or their history.
The newspaper ad (depicted top) that follows the thought of the campaign, where time on the train leads to a big idea.