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.
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.