Motorbike, pickup truck and a ride on a bull? Now that’s quite ‘The Long Journey’

Once again, UNIT team up with MullenLowe London to deliver the post-production for Axe’s hilarious new spot, ‘The Long Journey’

The spot features a male protagonist who receives a text from his girlfriend telling him she is home alone. Much to his delight, our protagonist enthusiastically gets changed, sprays his Axe Dark Temptation and runs out the door, hitching a ride on quite literally any mode possible. He first hitchhikes with a motorcyclist, before being wiped clean out by a low-hanging tree branch. He then wakes up in a trailer with a flock of sheep and a rather strange-looking shepherd, before jumping off and setting off on foot, crossing cliffs and rivers before reaching his humble abode for the night – the forest floor. Much to his surprise, he is awoken by a bull, which he somehow tames and, you guessed it, rides all the way to his destination. Thanks to his new friend, our protagonist finally reaches his girlfriend’s house, who clearly isn’t home alone anymore as he is met at the door by her father. His girlfriend then comes to the door, takes one whiff of him and drags him inside – thank you Axe. 

UNIT very much enjoyed working with director Luis Gerard and all the crew at Rebolucion from the early stages of this hilarious and brilliant commercial for Axe. Having a person interact with a fully CG creature is about as hard as it can get in VFX, so advising the production team on the best practises for the shoot helped to deliver this project on time, on schedule and on budget.

UNIT’s first steps were to concentrate on making a creature that was appropriate for the story. The bull had to be big, muscular and scary in order to drive the message across that our hero has managed to tame something so ferocious and feral. Once the overall proportions of the character felt right, our creatives started the arduous task of grooming all of the fur across the animal, before adding realistic touches like grass and mud that was embedded amongst that fur. 

Our 3D lead, Sid Harrington-Odedra, comments on the intricate detail that went into creating the bull: 

Once we received an edit, we could see how close the camera was to our creature, so we knew that some additional simulation work was going to be required in order to sell the realism of the bull on screen. The team created a pipeline which would simulate the fur, the skin sliding and the fat jiggle autonomously before rendering a shot. This made the process extremely smooth and only relied on a small lighting and rendering crew to manage all of the shots.
Finally, UNIT’s compositing team were able to take plates of our protagonist, who was often riding a mechanical bull in a separate location, and seamlessly place him in the hero location plate, and then on top of our 3D renders! Pure magic.”

Suraj ‘ Sid’ Harrington-Odedra

Click the bottom right of the image to watch the commercial.


Client: Axe
Title: The Long Journey

Agency: MullenLowe London
Agency Producers: Alex Pemberton, Claire Toms & Alexia Saunders
Creatives: Gavin Nastili, Tarik Bedevi & Gavin Cumin
Global Business Director – IPG: Federico Duberti
Group Account Director: Gavin Fullick & Samar Rezvan

Production Company: Rebolucion
Director: Luis Gerard
Producers: Germán Sánchez & Florencia Arrizabalaga

2D Lead: Fraser Cleland
Nuke: Leanne Pletersky
3D Lead: Sid Harrington-Odedra
3D Artists: Arnaud De Mullenheim, Jofre Balboa, Fabio Messina, Felip Docolomansky & Josh Barlow
Shoot VFX Supervisor: Miguel De Hoyos
Design: Matt Rowley
Colour: Denny Cooper
Sound Design: Jamie Thomas
Sound Mix: Hannah Webster
Producer: Isabella Wakley