Viral Videos as Advertisements

Of course you’ve all seen it already but here it is again:

Recently the Internet video “First Kiss” has been appearing numerous times on everyone’s Facebook Newsfeeds.  The three and a half minute video shows stylish people who come together for the first time in order to kiss in front of a camera.  The results are what you would expect: some encounters are very awkward while others are passionate and over-the-top.  The video was posted on Youtube on March 10th and as of today, March 13th, the video already has over 44 million views.

Yes the video showed attractive people wearing attractive clothing making out, which already is enough for a video to gain a significant amount of views on the Internet.  But what sets this video apart is that it showed the awkward interactions just as much as it capitalized on the suave ones.

Although never a real secret, people are just figuring out that this video was an advertisement for the clothing brand Wren.  Not only did people not notice that the video was an ad but they didn’t even notice that the word “wren” appeared anywhere in the video.  Did this extremely subtle name placement really improve sales by a considerable amount­? They probably increased however minimally just through the video’s huge exposure; someone had to have Googled the name “Wren” and visit their website.

The New York Times reported that Wren saw a “significant bump” in sales and the artist whose song is featured in the video also saw a huge increase in sales (Koblin 2014).

So the Ad worked.  But now that articles are appearing on the Internet “exposing” it as another advertisement, will sales go back down?  Personally I don’t think so because without this video 44 million people would have never heard of the L.A. clothing company Wren.  The ad focused on more than just the products meant to advertise.

New York Times also said that the creator of the video never expected the video to be this successful and when she was told that it was on the front page of Reddit, she had never heard of the site.  It also was reported that the people in the video, however good-looking, really were just friends of the video’s creators.  No one in it got paid.  I think that this knowledge will cancel out any negative brand images from making the video seem like it wasn’t actually an ad (Koblin 2014).

This video raises the bar on advertising and continues the shift to straight-to-the-internet ads.



Koblin, J. (2014, 3 13). A kiss is just a kiss, unless it’s an ad for a clothing company. New York Times. Retrieved from

Pllieva, Tatia. FIRST KISS. (2014, March 10). YouTube. Retrieved March 13, 2014, from

4 thoughts on “Viral Videos as Advertisements

  1. This is all over my newsfeed, and I had absolutely no idea that this video was an advertisement for Wren… mad props to the marketing geniuses behind this campaign. It plays upon the vulnerable yet tender nature of humans, and is a subtle appeal to emotion. It’s absolutely genius.


  2. This video has blown up my news feed. I think it’s really smart that the brand was an undertone for the video. People tend to be turned off by advertisements screaming the brand’s name.


  3. I am embarrassed to admit how charmed I was by some of the couples in this video. I thought this was an incredibly creative ad that truly cut through the clutter of typical brand placement. Skeptics should learn something about good advertising and look at the 44 million hits its gotten.


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