If you have been anywhere near the internet in the last two days, particularly on any social media sites, the chances are high that you have seen a beautifully executed black and white film of 20 strangers kissing for the first time. The short-form clip, by filmmaker Tatia Pilieva, portrays the excitement, anticipation and awkwardness of that first kiss – on camera, no less. It’s actually very moving in an unexpected way and has definitely caught the imagination of viewers, generating 27,308,875 YouTube views in 2 days and 79,013 social shares in last 24 hours (at time of writing). Not seen it yet? Take a look. Pretty SFW, although it does contain quite a bit of hetero, gay and lesbian making out, obviously:

The video gained a huge amount of traction before being revealed as an ad for LA fashion company Wren. The cast of ‘strangers’ includes models Natalia Bonifacci, Ingrid Schram, and Langley Fox, musicians Z Berg of The Like, Damian Kulash of OK Go, Justin Kennedy of Army Navy, singer Nicole Simone, singer-actress Soko, actors Karim Saleh, Matthew Carey, Jill Larson, Corby Griesenbeck, Elisabetta Tedla, Luke Cook, and Marianna Palka.

It’s been fascinating to see how the video has rolled out across the internet and the reaction it’s had. In the space of 48 hours it’s gone from being picked up by a few sites and shared by a few viewers to saturation point on social media, to oh, it’s just another video ad for a clothing line. It’s a fantastic piece of footage that deserves the promotion it has received but how many viewers are feeling just a little cheated that they watched something that was presented as a part-sociological, part-arthouse insight into human behavior. The chattering classes are already preparing the case for a backlash but we have a feeling that Wren might just get away with this one. This time.

Thanks to YouTube and Unruly for the stats.