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Who knew watching 20 strangers kiss for the first time on camera would be so interesting? With over 37 million YouTube views in just three days, this clothing brand ad that initially masqueraded as a viral video is drawing kudos as well as some viewer ire.

The first thing I thought when I watched this video was “I wouldn’t mind being one of those twenty people,” because they are all absolutely gorgeous. Then I realized that while they may all technically be strangers, there was nothing random about the professional models, actors and musicians included in this video. But I’ll be honest I didn’t think this was a fashion ad. Maybe a social experiment about awkwardness and intimacy, but not an advertisement for a clothing line.

Filmmaker Tatia Pilieva paired up with Wren Studio, a LA-based fashion label, to launch this video in support of their 2014 Fall collection. Wren’s founder and creative director Melissa Coker said that the video was launched as part of Style.com’s video fashion week. “We make these fashion films every season,” Coker said. “I strive to make them an interesting film that exists on its own rather than something that feels like a commercial, and it seems to be touching people — not only people who are in fashion and would see this, but also random guys who aren’t connected at all”.

So, while initially it seems as though the intention of this video was to pay tribute to every first kiss ever the reality is it was a brilliantly executed marketing stunt that got millions and millions of people talking about the Wren fashion label.

However, many who were drawn into the video by the apparent random romance are feeling “duped” when they find out that it is, indeed, an ad. In today’s transparent world, audiences don’t like to be duped. But when you look at 37 million views (and growing), all the social shares and chatter, plus the earned media (even if it’s negative), a whole lot more people know about this brand than they did four days ago.

~ Tracey Jeffas, Account Supervisor, The S3 Agency


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