At first blush (pun intended) it would appear that Tatia Pilieva’s First Kiss video of complete strangers kissing – with 156 million YouTube views and counting – was a brilliant viral hit. First Kiss was created as a subtle advertisement for clothing company Wren Studio with all the women in the video wearing Wren clothing. “We deliberately set out to create a film, not a commercial.” But what were the essential ingredients that made this video so successful?
1. Showing Emotion
The video (above) invited 20 strangers to meet and kiss for the first time – and captured both the awkward and endearing results. “They shed all these layers in front of our eyes and in front of the cameras and that sweetness and kindness resonated with people.”
2. Making it Real
Each couple was asked to meet on the set – and then they just let the cameras roll. “It felt so real and sincere and it was,” Director Patia Pilieva told the New York Times, saying each couple really did meet for the first time the day they shot.
3. Turning it into something big
First Kiss succeeds as a clever social experiment in the awkwardness of intimacy – showing a quick study in how easily a kiss creates a visceral bond between two people who barely know each other’s names. For the awesome video maker, Tatia Pilieva, the outcome is amazing: She’s succeeded in creating something culturally interesting and something that has people interested in discussing its very meaning.
Some of the viewers have told Wren Studio that it “restores their faith in love.” That’s pretty good branding.
4. Telling a great story (and don’t be obvious about trying to sell something)
The fact that it was wasn’t obviously a video advertising campaign may be why the video garnered 1,392,296 Facebook shares, and 68,740 Twitter shares in just 31 days. Wren creative director, Melissa Coker wrote in Business Insider that, “Traffic to the Wren website increased 14,000%, and 96% of those visitors are new to the site. Sales in the online store are up over 13,600% compared to the week before the First Kiss Video was released.”
When the video was released on Youtube it reached the front page of Reddit by the first evening. By the next day the video had been viewed almost 2 million times and by the end of the week, it had been viewed over 60 million times. It spawned a bunch of parodies, and was covered in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, CNN, Bloomberg TV, Adweek, Fast Company, Inc, and many more journals and blogs.
How can you put these lessons into action for your own video storytelling?
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