In my last blog post I wrote about Ellen that selfie with all those other celebs at the Oscars and how it was a publicity stunt for Samsung and this post is, sadly, about another viral publicity stunt. For me it takes all the joy out of something to realize that it was a sham, just some deeply-embedded commercial. It has made me wary of new memes, especially viral videos, which will be related to today’s topic.
I was browsing Facebook when I saw a video entitled “First Kiss” that promised to be about “20 Strangers Kiss for the First Time”. It was filmed in black and white and seemed to be some sort of social experiment, which the sort of thing I’m interested in. I clicked on it hoping to see some statistical analysis of how many of the people actually went through with it and how many did if for more than X number of seconds.
I found the video honestly very boring. The first thing I notice was that people were all really skinny. It just sort of stuck out to me because anything using random people would probably have participants who weren’t sticks. All of the people were also ‘attractive by normal societal values’, which was the another odd thing I noticed. The last main thing that struck me how the way that these people behaved. Sure, they were awkward as expected, but a bunch of them started making out rather than sharing a quick closed-lip kiss and then literally running away to hide- which is what I would have done in that situation. In fact no one got embarrassed enough to run away, which I found unrealistic. Also, the music was so sappy. The whole thing seemed very off to me and I honestly disliked it.
I watched the video spread through the web over the next few days, interested to see what the internet would make of it. There were nay-sayers like myself, but all the same the video kept popping up on Facebook and went viral on Twitter with the hashtag #FirstKiss.
And then, of course, it was finally revealed that the video First Kiss was just an advertisement. For clothing.
The Youtubers who made the video above, are known as Daily ReHash. At the end of their explanation of the tweet that exposes the video as an ad they ask their commenters if they thought the video was cute or deceptive.
I’ll personally call this as being deceptive.
At the beginning of the video it does say “Wren Presents” but since Wren isn’t a well known clothing brand and their twitter handle is “@WrenStudio” it was easy for the audience to believe that Wren was a film studio trying to get their start and happened to come up with a piece of art that went viral. After four days it has 48 million views. But I feel that those views are based on… well… lies. The Youtube account it was posted under has the name “Tatia PIlieva” not Wren, and the category on Youtube that it is under is “People & Blogs” not ads.
It is very clever marketing but if deceptive marketing continues to masquerade as non-marketing viral videos and memes people are going to get pretty sick of being manipulated by these companies.