Here’s a very special love-at-first-sight Christmas campaign from Belgian cellular company Mobistar.
Two spots, brought to you by Publicis in Brussels, tell the same story from different perspectives—one his, one hers. What appears to be a chance meeting at a skating rink between strangers escalates with further run-ins—in the subway, then the park. Finally they steal a kiss, and she inexplicably runs off.
It’s not totally clear why two ads are necessary in this case, where split perspectives don’t add as much to the experience as they do in, say, Cornetto’s teenage-romance YouTube hack for the U.K., launched earlier this summer.
Agency: Publicis Brussels
Launch: November 2016
But whichever Mobistar commercial you watch first, you’re in for a twist. Watch the spots here, spoiler-free:
We’re going to assume by now that you know the punch line. If only they’d stayed in touch—perhaps with help from the telecom brand—they could have spared themselves some holiday embarrassment.
Sure, the argument doesn’t hold up to strict interrogation. Everyone has a cell phone these days, and decent service doesn’t signify consistent communication. The ads are so deftly crafted and entertaining, though, that these gaps don’t matter.
They play on hackneyed mistletoe vibes to a tee, sweeping the viewer along. Before the reveal, that little voice in the back of your head wonders why the pair keep failing to truly connect, but the scenarios are credible enough that shyness alone could account for this, especially after they neck. That adds power to the reveal: When it does drop, it really is surprising—even if, in retrospect, it seems likely she knew all along.
Regardless, while incest is a taboo, at least it’s being used intentionally, and innocently enough, as a comic device here (unlike in the infamously funny Folgers commercial).