Lynx AI

Source: Unilever

Unilever said the product was designed to “tap into generation Z’s fascination with the world of tech and crypto”

Lynx has handed over its NPD process to artificial intelligence to devise its latest fragrance.

Brand-owner Unilever said the new deodorant – Lynx A.I. Body Spray – was developed “using 46 terabytes of data, 6,000 ingredients, and 3.5 million potential fragrance combinations”.

The limited-edition product was made in collaboration with Swiss fragrance company Firmenich, “combined modelling, formula prediction and optimisation” and Lynx’s “consumer trends knowledge and expertise” to come up with the “unique scent combination”.

Firmenich develops flavours, fragrance and ingredients for several brands – its work, it claims, reaching “four billion consumers several times a day, in more than 100 markets: from their breakfast cereals and their coffee in the morning, to their shampoo, shower gel and fine fragrance when they go out at night”.

Unilever said the product was designed to “tap into generation Z’s fascination with the world of tech and crypto, which has seen exponential growth in recent years”. 

The new SKU would, the company added, help revitalise the deodorants category, which has encountered a slowdown in growth since 2017, according to Nielsen data. Shoppers spent £62.4m less on deodorant in the 52 weeks to 11 July 2021, according to Kantar.

“With fragrance currently the second biggest need state in the category, after performance, Lynx A.I. will support Unilever’s long-term strategy to drive value and growth back into the deodorants category,” the company said.

The 200ml body spray will be available in Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Wilko, Boots and Superdrug for a limited period from this month (rsp: £4).

A QR code on the product’s packaging can be scanned by shoppers to reveal a holographic version of the brand’s ambassador, British rapper Aitch.

“There’s also an augmented gamification which allows people to spray the can in AR to reveal a code. The code opens an exclusive Lynx competition, with the prize winner awarded an event hosted by the hologram of Aitch,” Unilever explained.

In March, Unilever revealed a three-year strategy aimed at driving value in the deodorant category via “a series of new ground-breaking, technology-driven products”. The launches are happening across its Sure, Lynx and Dove brands – which between them command about 60% of the UK deodorant market.

The deodorants market “was in serious need of a makeover” said Monique Rossi, marketing director for deodorants at Unilever, at the time. “Our cutting-edge R&D facilities here in the UK and globally mean we’re in the perfect position to take a lead on driving value and growth back into the deodorants category.”