20 Strangers Kissing, And I’m Feeling Duped

On Monday, Facebook was flooded with a viral video about 20 strangers kissing. These strangers were paired up and asked to kiss each other for the first time. I didn’t watch it on Monday, but finally broke down and watched it yesterday and immediately loved it. I even shared it because it made me so happy.

The viral video about 20 strangers kissing isn't just a short film, it's also an ad. Why finding this out left one blogger feeling duped (even though she keeps watching it.)

Have you seen the video yet? You can watch it here. I’ll wait before I continue…

Sweetest thing ever right?! 20 strangers kissing! It was awkward and funny and sweet and passionate. I thought it was and thought about it throughout the day. The strangers were all rather good looking and put together, but I figured they got a little makeup session and styling or something before the shoot.

Then, yesterday afternoon, we all found this out – Wren studio, a womens wear brand out of Los Angeles, announced on Twitter that the video was shot as part of an ad campaign for their Fall 2014 collection:

Well, I didn’t find out via Twitter, I found out when someone posted this article via Slate.com on Facebook (it’s a great article, read it.) And like the article says: “I’m betting that if Pilieva had filmed the video with a more diverse cast of all the people in the world who constitute “strangers,” the result would have been more unsettlingly comedic than searchingly romantic.”

Call me naive, but now I’m feeling kinda duped. Although it was fun to watch I am bummed to find out that the 20 “strangers” kissing  also happened to be paid models. And I’m bummed that it wasn’t originally shared as an ad.

Does it change the way I feel about it? Yes. I thought I was catching innocent, beautiful moments but these models knew what they were doing. So they made it passionate, sweet, more for show than feeling.

Did you watch the video? How do you feel about it being an ad?


  1. I actually recognized one of the women from television or film, and one other woman was talking about how she was an actress on the film, so to me it was pretty evident that these were hired subjects. And I honestly am not bothered by that. I still think it captures the silly, awkward sweetness of kissing someone for the first time, and I suspect - strongly - that even random strangers, if brought into a studio and filmed like that would still put on a little show. It's like doing your first stage kiss in front of the cast/director. You get caught up in it as much you're nervous. Being put on the spot charges the atmosphere. And as an ad campaign? Brilliant. I mean, we all know the puppy and the Clydesdale aren't really BFFs living on adjoining farms, and yet we all puddle up over that ad. It's the emotional reaction. Tie that to your brand, and it will be memorable. Cameron recently posted..RuinsMy Profile
  2. I have seen this all over the place, but didn't watch it until just now in your post so I never had the chance to feel duped. I always suspect everything online is orchestrated and edited for promotion anyway. That said, loved this video and wouldn't mind kissing the short guy in the hat even if he is a little age inappropriate. He looked like he knew what he was doing. Poppy recently posted..I Would Love PowerICE Bars (In the Summer)My Profile
  3. I was so taken by this video too and I am feeling really duped as well, but I bet that's the case with more than half the stuff we fall for. ): Great concept and it worked... we are all talking about it today. Wait, what do they sell? j/k Tonya recently posted..Show & TellMy Profile
  4. So right now was the first time I watched it. I read your post all the way through and then watched the video, so I knew going in it was an ad. However, the tension, the awkwardness, the intimacy...it was all there. I think if these are paid actors, regardless, there is still some vulnerability in such an intimate act. I loved watching it - it stirred memories of my own first kisses. Now, as an ad. BRILLIANT. I get that you feel duped but the advertising model has changed and this company has managed to transform a traditional medium into something that fits into how consumers are now being advertised to. But, I'm with Tonya... no idea what they are selling? Gum? wendy recently posted..I Might As Well Be Using A Glue StickMy Profile
  5. They did seem to be a little uniform in their approach. I think real people would have been different and more awkward. Of course, I haven't had a first kiss since I was sixteen years old and everything I did was awkward back then... Joey recently posted..The Watchdog & The Deranged BirdMy Profile
  6. I haven't seen this until now, and I don't care if it's an ad - a kiss delivers an immediate connection even if these people were brought together for pay. Tell me that none of them felt something in those moments, and I would be hard-pressed to believe you. I love this video. Andrea recently posted..Plugged InMy Profile