With Pride Month in full swing, I’m sure a lot of you have started with some projects especially for the occasion. If not (yet), I hope the LGBTQ-themed projects from years back that I’ve been sharing may give you some ideas. This year’s celebrations may not yet be as big as pre-pandemic, but it shouldn’t stop us from staying inspired and creative.

Previously, we looked back at the collection of portraits shot by New York-based director and photographer Geoff Levy for a 2016 Ogilvy campaign. This time, let’s revisit a 2017 ad campaign for Absolut, which was spearheaded by British global advertising agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty.

The spark behind “Kiss with Pride”

Aptly titled “Kiss with Pride,” the project’s Creative Director Vinny Olimpio noted that the campaign was released in time for the 50th anniversary of the decriminalization of same-sex relationships in England and Wales. However, he also reminded us that homosexuality is still illegal in 72 countries.

“We want to share with you how we sought awareness for this fact. We asked individuals from these countries to come together and portray human love and compassion at its most natural state — by uniting in a kiss,” Olimpio added.

via Pride.com

To bring the project to life, Absolut also supported and collaborated with with Stonewall, a UK-based charity that stands for LGBTQ+ people across the globe. Aside from the campaign itself, an exhibit at the Protein Studios in Shoreditch also showcased the photos from the project.

According to the project’s photographer Samuel Bradley, the pure idea behind the campaign drew him to the project. “It’s quite rare for adverting to be for a cause without it feeling disingenuous,” he told Creative Review. He hoped that more people outside progressive cities like London and New York would be able to see the photos. “I would really like the images to reach people outside of that bubble and to start a constructive conversation.”

The kiss as a symbol of LGBTQ+ pride

The kiss is among the universal acts of affection. So, the team couldn’t have picked a more fitting symbol for the campaign. It’s a simple gesture that carries a lot of complexity in the context of the LGBTQ+ community. I love how the photos made the powerful message even more compelling by bringing together real people who should be free to love whomever they choose.

Are you especially drawn to emotions conveyed in photography? I’m sure you’ll also love how the series portrays so much tenderness and passion in such a minimal perspective. It’s also done so well that it remains relevant and moving four years later. It’s proof that some of the most important messages don’t need an elaborate approach to get the point across.

Make sure to also check out the Absolut website to see all the photos and learn more about the campaign.

All Photos by Samuel Bradley. Used with Creative Commons permission.