Digital disruption is everywhere. Airbnb, the world’s largest accommodation provider, owns no hotels. Uber, the world’s largest taxi company, owns no cars. Facebook, the world’s most popular media owner, creates no content. And Alibaba, the world’s most valuable retailer, owns no inventory.
And just as surely, mobile dating apps like Tinder have disrupted human behaviour, reinventing age-old courtship and dating rituals.
“Oh no” I hear you scoff, “no one I know is on Tinder.” Well, if they’re aged between 18 and 35 years and single, there’s a good chance they’ve tried it, even if they won’t fess up to it.
Mobile dating went mainstream about five years ago, and by 2012, it had overtaken online dating. It is estimated that there are currently 50 million users on Tinder. 1,500,000 are based in Australia (with Melbourne leading the way). “Swipe right” and “swipe left” has well and truly entered the popular vernacular.
So why am I telling you this? Because we know that Millennials and Gen Zs are increasingly immune to traditional advertising approaches. We as marketers need to understand their native behaviours on these platforms in order to identify the creative opportunity to engage with them.
But a word of warning. Since ads aren’t currently an accepted part of the experience on Tinder (even though ad formats started to roll out in April), brands need to create campaigns that fit within the context of the dating app. It requires ideas that are driven by content that is informative, compelling, rewarding and entertaining. Tinder is definitely not for every brand, but some clever marketers have found engaging ways to connect. Here are some of my favourites.
Social Tees Animal Rescue
Tinder users in New York City were delighted to find they could match with an adorable puppy that needed a home. After exchanging a few texts with a pup that caught their eye, they had the option of meeting up with the dog for a walk to help decide whether to take the relationship to the next level via adoption. If you swiped left, the puppy got a sad, red “Abandoned” label slapped over its picture. Over 1,500 matches were made within the first hour of the project.
Anti-smoking organisation ASH
Anti-smoking organisation ASH created two Tinder profiles for the same girl with one major difference – one profile showed the girl smoking and the other didn’t. The girl then liked 1,000 men. The girl who was not smoking received double the amount of matches compared to the smoking girl, cleverly tapping into a major disincentive for young women to smoke.
The Immigration Council of Ireland
In order to raise awareness of the fact that, at any given time, 2.4 million people around the world are victims of human trafficking, The Immigration Council of Ireland developed a great campaign on Tinder. Users swiped through a series of images of a woman as she becomes progressively more bruised. Afterwards, messages appeared such as “Your options are left or right. Women forced into prostitution in Ireland have none.”
The TV series Suits had no concerns about its brand image when it partnered with Tinder to promote the show. Tinder users had the opportunity to match with popular characters, Harvey Specter or Rachel Zane.
Ex Machina: The Movie
Men who attended this year’s SXSW festival matched with a beautiful 25-year-old woman named Ava only to discover, after chatting back and forth for a while, that Ava was a robot whose Tinder profile was created to promote the film Ex Machina, which premiered at the festival.
After a bit of friendly banter, Ava’s suitors were directed to her Instagram profile promoting the film.
Creative opportunities to stand out and be noticed by Millennials and Gen Zs abound on these new platforms – are you prepared to boom-boom-boom, swipe your brand?
Jo Stone is Director of Strategy at BCM