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The Axe brand has long advertised its personal care products for men with ads featuring weak-in-the-knees women who seem driven to mate with any human male doused in the Axe scent. But lately, Axe has been making an effort to grow up. The latest sign of that is a new commercial featuring a kiss between two men.
The ad, launched in Australia where the brand is known as Lynx, encourages men to “go out, see amazing things, get an amazing job. Kiss the hottest girl – or the hottest boy.” Accompanying the voice-over is an image of a young man doing all those things, including locking lips with another handsome young gentleman.
The commercial from agency BBH London will also run in other markets beyond Australia. It is notable because Axe’s advertising in the past has been exclusively heteronormative. Even the ads that treat women as partners in love as opposed to sexual objects to be acquired, have exclusively shown men who pursue women as their protagonists.
While the ad also suggests that the young man could have a wife and kids in the future, the mere fact that it encourages viewers to kiss whomever they choose, of either gender, is winning the brand some publicity, and positive attention on social media.
It is also a sign of a change that has been afoot in advertising for some time, but has accelerated in the past year or so: more and more advertisers are including more diverse portrayals of families and couples in their commercials. Brands such as Cheerios, Expedia.com, and Honey Maid have all won attention for these types of ads.
Also this week, Tiffany & Co. showed a gay couple in an ad campaign for the first time. Among a series of seven featuring real couples who have gotten engaged, the “Will You?” campaign included a same-sex couple.