Hinge is the dating app that’s challenging how we see online dating.

First launched in 2013 pitting itself against rivals like Tinder by only matching friends of friends to increase the likelihood of finding a compatible match, the brand soon realized it needed something more.

Re-launching the app with a new proposition, the new Hinge is appealing to those who are “over the game” of swiping, encouraging us to reimagine online dating. But for people to believe in their new message, they needed a campaign that would hit home.

The Insight

“81 percent of Hinge users have never found a long-term relationship on any swiping app.” This insight, along with several others spread across their new web page entitled The Dating Apocalypse, was uncovered using their very own user data.  

Based on a survey sent out to 300 users in August 2016, they found that not only did users agree with their view of the dire state of the current online dating world, they were frustrated with an industry drenched in fakery. This told them online daters were looking for more than the “hypnotic allure” of swiping apps, which gave them an idea.

“Our insight is rooted in the simple human truth that when you are true to yourself, you find the right partner to match”, Ellery Luse, Strategy Director tells us.

“Ask any relationship expert what the key to success is and they will use one word—vulnerability.

Humans generate meaningful connections by sharing their vulnerabilities with one another. But in a world where dating apps turn relationships into a game of hookups, truly putting yourself out there can be a little scary.”

The Message

“We’re living through a dating apocalypse, defined by a rampant, emotionless hookup culture.” These are the words of John Paul Titlow which feature on the Hinge site along with several others in an attempt to spread their core message:

“Dating apps have become a game, and with every swipe, we’ve all moved further from the real connections that we crave. So we built something better.”

In an effort to combat that fear factor both in the experience of their app and out in the real world of dating, Hinge launched their out-of-home campaign across New York City, created by Barton F. Graf, telling stories inspired by their users.

“This work is the first step in many actions to establish a more honest and thoughtful conversation around dating”, says Luse.

Using this data to identify key trends in behaviors and preferences, the ads focus on revealing the truths behind online dating experiences, coupled with the tagline “Let’s be real”, encouraging people to try something better.

Source: Hinge

“The first rule of OOH is ‘8 words or less’”, say Molly Wilkof, Copywriter, & Zoe Kessler, Art Director. “But we wanted this campaign to show everyone that Hinge is different. This dating app has serious depth. So we decided to break the rules to prove it. Our long, winding love stories were perfect for a city like New York where we’re mostly talking to foot traffic. OOH also meant we could write these stories around their specific locations, which was important to us.

Each contextual story was meant to inspire new users to think of Hinge as a part of the New York City landscape, fully integrating into the dating experience that Hinge is offering.”

The Result

Taking inspiration from Spotify’s data-driven OOH campaign, Hinge’s similar approach proves the value that lies in listening to your consumers.

By tapping into insights provided by their own users, the brand could ensure their ads were as authentic and credible as possible – giving them the real edge they needed for people to buy into their proposition.

As the Hinge team explain:

“We wanted the element of realness in this campaign, so we decided to pull inspiration directly from our users.”

Source: Adweek

Cleverly leveraging storytelling, the teams used what they found out about their consumers’ likes, dislikes, personality types and quirks to tell tales they knew would strike a cord.

An ideal example of marketing that works, the ‘Let’s Be Real’ campaign expertly uses insight to challenge perceptions around online dating and spread an impactful message.

Note to brands: It pays to listen.

A Word from the Team

Molly Wilkof, Copywriter, & Zoe Kessler, Art Director

“The idea came before the media buy. We wanted to show off one of Hinge’s most unique features: profile prompts. These prompts are where Hinge users can show off their real personality, something you can’t really do on other dating apps. Our long stories helped show people their answers make a real difference because they could lead to so much more. Once Hinge acquired specific OOH placements, we were able to write contextual stories for each billboard that referenced their locations.”


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