In a world of fashion brands and magazines and Terry Richardsons (and the many impresarios funding those of his ilk) and reality TV shows and the Internet seemingly sexualizing our culture (and our young kids) at every turn, it's nice to see an advertisement that can celebrate the first kiss in such a bold fashion. That's it. Just a kiss. And what a kiss. Note: to see the ad, scroll down below the fold.
The "first kiss" ... powerful thing, that. My first kiss was when I was 5 or thereabouts. Samantha King, who lived across the street from our family, she and I were both in kindergarten, and it was a purloined kiss, stolen in front of the entire class. Our teacher had us playing "around the world" where she would hold up vocabulary cards, and whoever said the word first, that child would stand behind the next kid trying to defeat the entirety of the semi-circle of kids. One joker was making his way "around the world," slaying all comers. He'd stand behind each child in a one-on-one competition, reading "cat" or "ball" faster than the kid seated before him, letting out a "hmmph!!" each time he'd clobber some hapless knuckle-dragger.
Samantha was seated next to me, and ole joker was now behind yours truly, with his cold little fingers gripping the back of my plastic chair. The teacher pulled her next vocabulary flash card. "Classroom!" I shouted. He was no match against a future and confirmed sesquipedalian, and I pumped my triumphant fist in the air. Then in one singular motion and in the exact fashion of that 1970's game show, The Newlyweds (whenever the husbands would get an answer correct, they'd always kiss their wives seated next to them), I proceeded to plant a firm and unmistakable wet one on Samantha King, seated next to me, and her soon-to-be-bright-red cheek. Boy, oh boy, did pandemonium break out. It was glorious. Today, there would be lawsuits, suspensions, and newly fashioned guidelines about how to properly play "around the world."
I read a recent article about the BETC agency in France that produced this spot for the campaign they pitched to Lacoste. It's a nice read if you're into that sort of thing. My gig as head of marketing keeps me firmly ensconced in such ephemera, but I like the storytelling aspect about this brand campaign very much. When you watch this spot, notice his nervousness, the false starts and hesitation both on the rooftop and at the table. It's a sweet, bold spot, that nicely captures his flailing about mid-air, bringing his legs and arms akimbo into something of a smooth landing for a first kiss. The rest of the campaign is equally spot-on, with men and women active, walking and perched in the air, strong vision and vantage of what's happening in the busy city, and what the future holds for those like-minded Lacoste loyalists and aspirationalists.
I shared this ad with my two sons (16 and 13 respectively). The subject of first kisses and dating has come up quite frequently as of late. My sons look like their mom, which is a good thing for them and their future girlfriends, believe me. I've shared some advice in this regard, but only because I've been asked. My main advice? Don't do as I did, but be a bit more suave. Don't bumble and stumble, but be brave, bold, self-assured, and .... humble. It's not the cocky, but the confidently sweet who make the best first kissers, er, in this rather paunchy, squishy fuddy-duddy dad's opinion.