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

Brand continues to get more inclusive

Headshot of Tim Nudd

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

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@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.