OkCupid’s Advertising Campaign Raises Eyebrows in the Online Dating World

Source: OkCupid

When building a relationship with someone, what are you truly down for?  Are you down to fire up the kiln or Farmers market?  The society in which we live in today is more dynamic than ever before and it’s changing.  The way technology created a new avenue of interaction has evolved. To be more specific, dating culture has been transformed with the use of technology. There are many dating sites, such as Tinder, Bumble, Zoosk, eHarmony, Blackpeoplemeet.com, and Coffeemeetsbagel. These dating platforms and the influence from mass media has promoted a “hook-up culture”; casual sexual actions between two people. This created a domino effect where teenagers and young adults worldwide have become fixated on sexual activities with another partner. The expectations in a relationship have been engulfed with the term “DTF.”  When you hear the acronym “DTF” what comes to mind? Everyone knows it means “Down to Fuck” no one expected that those three letters for a split second would capture the attention of millions in a more positive light. People taking their eyes off their phone screens to snap a picture of these 3 letters. All the eyes of commuters in the city that never sleeps were captivated by this new DTF wave.   

OkCupid is one of many dating platforms which redefines the hookup culture through using humor and creativity. They launched their new campaign where each ad featured a new version of the acronym, “DTF” in the subways and streets of New York City and many other cities. “Created by Wieden + Kennedy New York under the brand’s first CMO, Melissa Hobley, the ads recast DTF—typically meant as a derogatory term for women who are “down to fuck”—into new interpretations that represent what single people might really be looking for in a relationship.” The ad drew praise from women who felt that dating should be more than just hooking up.  

Many supporters felt that they had stories to tell, passions to share and things to talk about rather than the temporary fulfillment of sexual interactions. Emphasizing the beauty of truly getting to know the person for who they truly are and not what they look like. The ad promoted diversity, the beauty of being different and accepting others for who they are. It resulted in an overall 50% boost mention of OkCupid. Although the ad had a lot of acceptance and praise there was also some backlash. The entire campaign was rejected outright by the Chicago Transit Authority. New York City’s Subway rejected the ads featuring headlines “Filter out the Far Right” and “Four Twenty.” The ads that referenced politics, drugs and sexual metaphors saw some backlash from opposing parties. OkCupid’s “DTF” advertising campaign promotes lesbian sex, prostitution, drug use, and promiscuity that will be open to the eyes of millions including children,” some critics said. Regardless of those critics, the ad served its purpose to create a buzz around its brand by integrating social matters in their campaign in this generation that is the beauty of marketing and creating a message by tapping into current controversies. Any publicity is good publicity because the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.  

By using phrases that stimulate chatter whether they are provocative or a sensitive topic, OkCupid capitalized on popular slang to help send their message and increase brand awareness. They gave their users the power to recreate their own dating life and make the relationship fulfilling for both partners. This allowed people to rethink their expectations in potential relationships. So, are you down to build a home or just get a 1-night motel rental?