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Love For Sale: The 8 Most Romantic Ads Ever

Valentine’s Day isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Here’s some love-focused spots to put you in the mood.

  • 01 /08 | Sagami Original "Love Distance"

    The most memorable condom advertising has tended to fall along one of two lines: "hot"--to promote the activity associated with the product--or horror--to highlight the consequences of not using the product (STDs and children). When Japanese brand Sagami wanted to promote the thinness of its condom, it zagged, and went for a sexy message couched in soul-stirring romance instead.

  • 02 /08 | KFC "Love Is Forever"

    You may roll your eyes at the association between romance and fried chicken, but your cold heart surely melted a little at this tale of lifelong love in reverse from Ogilvy Johannesburg.

  • 03 /08 | Samsung "Work Trip"

    Romance shouldn’t just be about desperate, new love, should it? Isn’t it also about getting through the less glamorous business of a long-term commitment? Samsung and 72andSunny tip a hat to keeping the fire alive.

  • 04 /08 | Puma "Hard Chorus"

    Puma and agency Droga5 have made it their business to reconcile a guy’s love of football with his love for his life partner (going so far as publishing a white paper that provides a scientific answer to the question of who men love more--their spouses or their clubs). In 2010, the brand and agency created a Valentine’s Day campaign featuring real football fans from around the world singing classic love songs. Men who found themselves with an impossible conflict--a game and a romantic holiday falling on the same day--could send their mates this loving chorus and a personalized message while they spent the evening with their other love at the local stadium/bar.

  • 05 /08 | REN "Love Clean Skin" (NSFW)

    Please note the warning here. You may choose to watch this later as it gets a little naughty. There’s lots of skin involved in this video for REN skincare but there’s such a gorgeous, almost pure, vibe it can hardly be called dirty. Call it a simple celebration of the act of love.

  • 06 /08 | John Lewis "Journey"

    U.K. retailer John Lewis is known for its big, emotional Christmas spots. In this latest spot, a snowman goes to great lengths for a gift for his lady (Valentiners, take note).

  • 07 /08 | Starburst "Hello"

    As Lionel Richie and this fellow know, sometimes your feelings can only be expressed in a bust of your beloved.

  • 08 /08 | Google "Parisian Love"

    Google tells a love story through search.

Is there a "special occasion" more disliked by a larger proportion of the people who end up participating in it than Valentine’s Day? It’s the arbitrary, coercive nature of the whole business that probably accounts for some people’s distaste—after all, what’s less loin-stirring than being guilted into being romantic (and spending money).

Then again, anti-Valentine’s sentiment could be stoked by the cheese-laden advertising that appears during the season—cheap appeals to buy jewelry, guilt-driven prompts to get those flowers, anxiety-inducing reminders of meals and trips left unbooked.

Making ads that get romance right is one tough brief. So, in the spirit of the occasion, we offer a showcase of messages that strike the right chord, whether your taste runs sappy, sexy or strange.

And since we would never forget those of you who reject the whole exercise and wish to wallow in melancholy and bitterness, check out the 8 Videos That Will Rip Your Heart Out And Crush You.