Unilever became the first company to air a UK ad campaign featuring an overtly gay couple. After launching in the UK on May 18th 1998 - and generating no particular controversy or complaints - the spot was also used in various European and South American territories.
The ad concept was created by Ammirati Puris Lintas then produced by Ogilvy & Mather after Impulse switched agency. O&M were also the agency behind Guiness' 'Not Everything in Black and White Makes Sense' campaign, which was due to air a gay couple sharing a kiss - albeit on the cheek - in 1995 before Guiness got cold feet.
Lesley Lucas, European brand manager at Unilever's fragrance innovation center in Kingston, England, said the appearance of a gay couple brings the brand communication up to date. "The flirtation and thrill of anticipation have replaced the cliches that have long been associated with romance. Young women have a realistic view on life and understand that not all chance encounters will lead to a lifelong romance. It's also a great, entertaining ad."
A Unilever spokesman said company Chairman Niall FitzGerald has been "very supportive" of the ad.
You can watch the full ad below: