I recently came across an advert on the tube apparently calling out to London’s singletons in an overly familiar tone. It failed miserably, not only because I now fail to recall the advertiser but because it patronised its audience of “single professionals”, unwillingly dressing them in the same rags of desperation. No wonder that the story lines in ‘Sex and the City’ typically picture otherwise – the relationship-hungry professional is no Cosmopolitan or Nobu date. The copy ran along the lines of “you are in the tube, there is no eye contact, no conversation. No wonder you are single”. Umm, thanks? As if meeting “the one” in the tube would be plausible otherwise, or worse suggesting that, as a working professional, you spend all your life on the tube. In fact the whole usage of the term “professional” annoys me (and this advert is not alone in doing this) – somewhat unjustly implying that being a generic “professional”, puts you firmly on the fast lane to singledom. A kind of 41 year-old virgin in real life, but more “professional” naturally.
However, rant over. What I really started this post about is Match.com, or rather Match.com’s advertising by Mother London, which stands out among the AdTurd material that largely constitutes the marketing of online dating services. In the last year Mother have produced two TV ads for Match.com with lyrics “I like old music” and “she began to dance” probably being familiar to you. The two ads play to a slightly old world, fairy tale nostalgia – the boy being the wooing, ukele-playing “prince charming” (personality faultless) and the girl, the intrigued target to his affections and Match.com’s Cupid. I love the execution of these ads, the fact that the characters look normal and, cheesy though it sounds, look made for each other. I am not convinced that falling in love at first click exists on a dating site, but watching these ads makes me all the more gullible and optomistic about it.
Both adverts focus on couples at the start of their “love stories” (rather sweetly put by Mother) but rather than going all gooey, soppy-eyed and roses on the audience, the scenes show two individuals attracted to each other through their differences and similarities. Not a pout or a dirty look in sight. I also like how the adverts move beyond the “professional + single” stereotyping that I evidently so despise, to focus on the online dater as an individual – something that does not always come across in its competitors. The characters are sweet (in a rather quaint way), quirky and I wish them well in the same way that you want Ross and Rachel to tie the knot. The only question that remains is if Match.com lives up to its advertising?