Is modern dating in crisis?

10 : 01 : 2018 Technology : Culture : Youth
Dating Deserves Better by Wieden & Kennedy for OKCupid, US Dating Deserves Better by Wieden & Kennedy for OKCupid, US

The issue then for brands is in relaying an element of this gravitas to their consumers while remaining fun and engaging.

Rhiannon McGregor, foresight writer, LS:N Global

Swiping left and right has become a ritual for many. Figures from Tinder suggest that the average user dedicates 90 minutes a day to reviewing their matches. Yet despite this, research by the Global Web Index shows that perceptions of Tinder as ‘the shallowest dating app ever’ are affecting uptake, with only 1% of global internet users having subscribed to the dating app.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that consumers are exhausted by the superficial nature of the app, with many suggesting that Tinder matches are inferior to meeting in real life (IRL). ‘Looking for a date on Tinder is like going to the petrol station for dinner at 2:00am bc [sic] everything else is closed’, states one cynical user on Twitter. So, given this break-up with Tinder, how can dating brands move into this space and create a spark with consumers?

While the market share of this $2.2bn online dating market is made up of younger consumers – with one in eight people between the ages of 18 and 30 saying that they met their most recent partner through online dating – dating brands have until now failed to seize the opportunity to lure them away from Tinder. Last week, however, OKCupid launched its first advertising campaign, Dating Deserves Better, which playfully addresses the topic with its shrewd take on the popular hook-up acronym Down To Fuck (DTF).

So, given this break-up with Tinder, how can dating brands move into this space and create a spark with consumers?

Created by the co-founders of Toilet Paper magazine, artists Mauricio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari, the colourful campaign aligns itself with Gen Viz’s visual-first culture, offering playfully provocative images such as a handgun being held above a toilet, alongside the tagline Down To Filter Out the Far Right. The series of 10 images add meaningful cultural relevance to the dating scene, which has for too long had a crisis of conscience.

In fact, research suggests that far from being superficial entities, online dating brands have added a great deal of value to society at large. At the end of 2017 scientists from the Universities of Essex and Vienna published research demonstrating that, by expanding people’s dating horizons beyond their immediate social bubble, dating brands had helped to create a more diverse and broad-minded society. The issue then for brands is in relaying an element of this gravitas to their consumers while remaining fun and engaging.

After its launch in 2012, Tinder was able to reach new heights of dating success because its gamified format ticked the fun and engaging boxes but it lacked the substance to encourage users to commit to a long-term relationship. At the end of 2017, Facebook and Condé Nast launched Virtually Dating, a five-part series that sent couples on virtual reality (VR) blind dates. While it may initially seem an odd, gimmicky idea, the premise cleverly used advances in technology to bridge the divide between IRL and digital dating. Daters were made to choose their own avatar, which included dragons and polar bears, allowing them to move beyond the banality of endless selfies and instead better explore their date’s personality.

Find out more about the current Courtship Crisis and how you can get consumers to match with your brand.