What does love look like in 2019?

The images broadcast into our homes not only influence our purchasing behaviour but tell us what we should be hoping and wishing for. When it comes to love, it’s time we were presented with a new ‘normal’ kind of romance.

Izzy Ashton

Deputy Editor, BITE


In 2019 love looks like, well, supposedly anything you want it to, whether you look to Tinder or Tudder (for cows to find a bull, yes, really), to help fulfil your needs. The problem with love though is many of the images we still see are wrapped up in stereotypes and smothered with the ghosts of romantic ideals past.

We have an idea of what we expect from love and a notion that reality must match this ideal, one that is only enhanced by what we see depicted in the media. As we quickly learn however, reality is more messy, unexpected and romantic than our imaginations could ever have created. And so it is with love.

It seems this year brands are waking up to this fact and are starting to show us love in all its forms. This means audiences are seeing their real worlds, their weird and wonderful relationships and their unique selves, reflected back at them.

The images broadcast into our homes not only influence our purchasing behaviour but tell us what we should be hoping and wishing for. When it comes to love, it’s time we were presented with a new ‘normal’ kind of romance.

Below we’ve highlighted some of the brands that recognise love and human connection in all its forms, while encouraging us to do the same.

India’s #FirstValentine

On the 6th September 2018, the Supreme Court of India decriminalised homosexual sex, revoking Section 377 of the country’s constitution in a huge leap forward for the LGBTQ+ community.

Valentine’s Day 2019 marks the first since the landmark ruling, a powerful moment in India’s history. Local homeware brand Borosil is celebrating this change to the law with a Valentine’s spot starring a lesbian couple talking about their #FirstValentine.

The ad highlights that this is the first Valentine’s Day that the LGBTQ+ community can celebrate openly without fear of prosecution. The narrator talks about how she didn’t really hate Valentine’s Day; she just hated the reality that she couldn’t celebrate it in public with her partner.

But this year she can and, as she proudly reveals, they are planning on doing every clichéd romantic gesture in the book, right down to the candlelit dinner. Because love is universal and, as the brand says, we should “celebrate love, truly.”

in-house, Borosil, Mumbai
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River Island’s modern families

When we see families depicted in ads, they are typically portrayed with the historically nuclear makeup: two heterosexual parents, one son and one daughter. But in today’s world, family, and familial love, couldn’t look more different. Families are multi-faceted and this is the reality that River Island are celebrating in their SS19 campaign from Studio BLVD, #ThisIsFamily. In an ode to diversity within families, the brand wants to disassemble the stereotypes long associated with familial love. The campaign, which will run in-store and on digital, depicts blended families, same-sex parent families and multi-ethnic families, reflecting the world as we know it rather than as the stereotypes suggest.

Studio BLVD, London

HP challenges the perception of arranged marriage

Nowadays, if you fancy someone, you can Google their name and the likelihood is that one or more photos of them will pop up. But this wasn’t always the case. What would happen if you could only look at one photo? Would you fly across the world and marry that person 10 days later? This is the fairy-tale romance at the heart of HP’s latest ad from Redglass Pictures, ‘At First Sight’. It tells the story of an arranged marriage by challenging the stereotypes of what we perceive those marriages to be like. In the five-minute film, the love story is told from both of the couple’s perspective, illustrated through photos of the life they’ve shared together. The campaign is part of a bigger HP project, ‘History of Memory’ which explores the evolution of photography to provide a better understanding of how memory and printed photos are linked.

Redglass Pictures, New York
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Looking to the future with Samsung

The future of innovation is explored in Leo Burnett Chicago’s latest spot for Samsung Galaxy, ‘The Future’. With a soundtrack of Que Será, Será, we see both a little girl and a fashion designer exploring their creativity through new technology as well as a tattoo artist sending his designs to a robot. And we see same sex parents, marvelling at the ultrasound of their baby on the phone screen in a gentle moment of peace within an excitable 60-second spot.

Leo Burnett, Chicago

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