Pride in London has just passed and, as ever, the festivities turned the capital’s traffic-clogged tourist centre into a rolling street party powered by Lady Gaga tunes and glitter.
Walking around almost any major Pride event these days, it is difficult to avoid branding, whether in the form of rainbow-daubed Burger King crowns or themed Red Bull handouts.
This kind of brand participation is also incredibly visible online. Over the last few years, major companies have invested significant time and resources into high profile pride campaigns, ranging from PSAs to short films.
This time around, vodka brand Absolut has come up with one of the year’s absolute best.
While the title ‘Equal Love’ suggests a fairly standard Pride ad campaign, the content is anything but. The spot opens on a young couple kissing in a dingy neon-lit pool bar. As the camera tracks away from them, we suddenly see a group of menacing greasers watching.
Chief Greaser wanders over to the couple and – miraculously – starts kissing one of them! Newly joined, this pair whirl away across the bar until they’re met by yet another eager young romantic. She kisses Chief Greaser and they disappear into the night.
Set to The Crystals’ ‘There’s No Other Like My Baby’, the spot continues in this fashion, like a daisy-chain of snogging. Eventually one of the couples finds themselves outside, getting arrested for public indecency.
Of course, it’s not long before the alleged criminal is snogging the arresting officer in the back of their patrol car. It’s such a heightened, almost silly, expression of intimacy and sexuality that you can’t help but find it charming.
Obviously, there is a political element to the extended snogfest in ‘Equal Love’. The couples we see are different ages, races and genders and the spot’s laissez-faire attitude to romantic self-expression is clearly gesturing towards larger points about LGBT freedoms.
But it’s also to Absolut and agency BBH’s credit that the campaign also plays as a visual feast, a joyous celebration of movement set to music. In that sense, it seems like the creative team may have taken some cues from last year’s smash musical La La Land.
Just like Damien Chazelle’s film, the set pieces in ‘Equal Love’ speak for themselves. Longtime viral ad fans may remember Tatiana Pilieva’s ‘First Kiss’, which paired off strangers to capture their first kiss together on film.
While ‘Equal Love’ may not have the documentary edge of the spot, it does share the same enthusiastic, free-spirited sensibility, with gorgeous design to complement the spontaneity of these sudden kisses.