World Kiss Day: The most famous kisses in advertising

Celebrating World Kiss Day, kisses have also inspired the creation of iconic advertisements.

Words by Miriam | Photograpy by Patrizia | Styling by Beatrice

30 December 2020 

Today we celebrate World Kiss Day, the world day dedicated to the kiss that, over the years, has taken on many more meanings than one might expect. Kissing today is not just a private moment, it is also a revolutionary gesture that reinforces social bonding.

Even kisses, like breakfast together in the morning or an aperitif after work, are a button that brands like to press to engage their users, to make them feel at ease and meet their needs. But some have entered our collective imagination, showing the creative skills of the advertisers who designed them.

Perugina, the romantic kiss

From fists to kisses, Perugina has become the queen of every Valentine’s Day. With the idea of putting a cartouche with a romantic quote inside each chocolate, the Umbrian company has won the place of honour among the sweets to give to a loved one. The famous lovers on a blue background is the work of the then advertising graphic designer and art director of Perugina, Federico Seneca, who first painted it in 1928, inspired by Hayez’s famous kiss. Seneca dressed the two protagonists in more modern clothes and placed them in a clear night, thus creating a dreamy and iconic image that has made advertising history.

Benetton, the scandalous kiss

When one of the most controversial Italian photographers and one of the most irreverent fashion brands meet, a time bomb can only blow up. This is what happened in 1991, when Oliviero Toscani took a truly unforgettable photo for Benetton.

At a time when advertising became a way of shocking the viewers and engaging them in social issues, Toscani chose to portray a priest and a nun kissing, beautiful and enveloped in a chaste, angelic light. The two lovers caused a scandal and were censored under pressure from the Vatican, but not without shaking the opinion of the public who, from then on, would always expect a certain type of language from Benetton, in line with the philosophy of breaking down the barriers of social conventions and living a life in colour.  

Dolce & gabbana, the hot kiss

The Italy of La Dolce Vita has always been a Dolce & Gabbana trademark. And there is nothing more Italian than a summer on Capri, on a boat, immersed in the blue sea, with the Faraglioni as a backdrop. British model David Gandy is the star of one of the hottest kisses in the ad world. Having emerged from a dive, he leans over model Marija Vujović in a love scene that is interrupted at the most beautiful moment by director Mario Testino’s camera shot. Over the years, various models have followed, but Gandy has remained flawless in his role as the charming Latin male, as has the location and the evocative soundtrack ‘Parlami d’amore Mariù’. The British statesmen even counted this scene among the most sensual ever conceived for an advertisement.  

Algida, the unexpected kiss

The stars of the summer, Algida croissants have focused on love stories with happy endings for years. One of the best-loved is undoubtedly the 2015 sports ad, with a song by Cesare Cremonini as its soundtrack, which tells of him and her falling in love at first sight on a bus and searching for each other until they finally find each other again thanks to an ice cream. The girl pretends to offer him the last bite and, at that moment, unexpectedly steals a kiss.   

It’s clear that advertisers never go too far from the truth. After all, we all think of our own story as an adventurous journey with a sweet ending, just like the delicious chocolate tip of the croissant.