Never Thought We’d See This, but Here’s an Axe Ad That Has Two Men Kissing

Brand continues to get more inclusive

Axe has been trying to move away from its narrow, misogynistic views on relationships and sexuality for some time. But this BBH London spot is easily the Unilever brand's most inclusive yet.

Airing first in Australia (where the brand is called Lynx) before rolling out to other global markets, the hair-care spot packs a lot into 60 seconds. As our hero flips through TV channels at home, we get brief scenes that take place inside each show—with the protagonist in the lead role.

Around the 30-second mark, though, we get a scene that would be remarkable for many brands—and astounding for Axe. "Kiss the hottest girl," the voiceover advises the Axe user, "or the hottest boy!" And in the vintage scene, we see the guy do just that.

Even better, they don't make a big deal of it. And it's not even mentioned in the press release. (Nick Gill, executive creative director of BBH London, says he's "enormously proud" of the ad—because it's "witty, exciting and full on filmic invention," not because it's revolutionary in any way.)

The spot has been getting press just for the gay kiss, and no wonder. Axe has been proudly regressive for years. It's a shock to see it suddenly get this progressive.

Client: Axe/Lynx
Agency: BBH, London
Creative Team: Jack Smedley, George Hackforth-Jones
Interactive Art Director: Vinny Olimpio
Creative Directors: David Kolbusz, Nick Gill, Gary McCreadie, Wesley Hawes
Team Director: Cressida Holmes-Smith
Team Manager: Freddie Vereker
Strategist: Tom Callard
Strategy Director: Agathe Guerrier
Business Lead: Helen James

Film Credits
BBH Producer: Glenn Paton
BBH Assistant Producer: Katie Burkes
Production Company: Biscuit Filmworks
Director: Noam Murro
Executive Producer: Orlando Wood
Producer: Jay Veal
Director of Photography: Eric Schmidt
Postproduction: Framestore
Editing House: Work Post
Editors: Neil Smith, Saam Hodivala
Sound: Will Cohen @ String and Tins

Print Credits
BBH Producer: Sally Green
Photographer: Alan Clarke
Typographer: Rich Kennedy

Local Agency Credits
Client: Lynx Australia
Marketing Director: Jon McCarthy
Senior Brand Manager: Johnny Hammond
Brand Manager: Lindsey Roberts
Digital Agency: Soap Creative
Media Agency: Mindshare
PR Agency: Liquid Ideas