Give Ads a Break

Another week, another viral video people won’t stop sharing on my Facebook feed. This week, the fifteen minutes of fame went to a Youtube video called “First Kiss,” in which a motley crew of couples who started the filming as complete strangers share first kisses with each other. While some couples shared innocent pecks, others swapped spit without any concern for an audience. The video, which racked up an impressive 46 million views in less than a week, inspired a number of different reactions from my Facebook friends. Most of these were something along the lines of “Oh my god, this is so adorable I CRIED,” though some of the cynics were understandably creeped out by it.

Many of these reactions changed later in the week, however, when some of the zealous sharers realized that the video may have had other intentions than making them squeal. The video is in fact an advertisement created by Style.com for a clothing company called Wren based in Los Angeles. This is relatively subtle-when I first watched the video, I didn’t catch that it was an advertisement at all. But this did not stop people from feeling manipulated and bitter towards the video, and I can only wonder why.

I’ve noticed as I started taking advertising classes that people tend to be negative towards the whole practice from the beginning. Even students in advertising classes scoff at many of the ways companies try to sell their product, viewing the practices as invasive and annoying. Of course, I get it-it’s not fun to get interrupted in the middle of Honey Boo Boo with a Coke commercial, and billboards on the roads can be unsightly and obtrusive. But the viewers of “First Kiss” were not obligated to watch the video, and many of them enjoyed it before they realized what t truly was. To me, this is an example of extremely effective advertising, one that entertains while still promoting a product. The video is a solid 3-and-a-half minutes long, and considering most people don’t last through a 30-second ad on Youtube, this attests to its success. Advertising like this should not be frowned upon simply because it is an ad, but should be celebrated for changing the way companies promote their products.

References
Koblin, J. (13 March, 2014). A kiss is just a kiss, unless it’s an ad for a clothing company. NYTimes.com. Retrieved 14, March 2014 from http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/14/business/media/a-kiss-is-just-a-kiss-unless-its-an-ad-for-a-clothing-company.html?_r=0.

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5 thoughts on “Give Ads a Break

  1. Lol I agree with the comment above. While I watched this i did not even realize that this was an advertisement and I really liked it. I kind of wish all advertisements were as discrete as this one. In my opinion, just because this video was an advertisement doesn’t make it any less moving or take away any “points” from the story being shared.

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  2. I didn’t know this was an advertisement either, until I read this post. I did not notice a product being sold which might be considered a problem because it obviously didn’t promote me to buy anything or generate brand awareness.

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  3. I didn’t realize it was an advertisement either. I liked it before but knowing that it is an advertisement definitely makes me doubt its legitimacy and if it’s genuine.

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  4. I was definitely disappointed to hear that the viral video was an advertisement. But I agree, that doesn’t completely take away from the warm fuzzies that the video gave everyone. Sure, it was meant to sell you something, but it was still pretty cute.

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