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Paid media: has Tinder spawned a new sub-category?

On a Jubilee Line journey to a platonic dinner date, two tube cards adverts compete to promote Tinder. It’s paid media, but it isn’t paid for by Tinder.


A Lemur hooks up with some non-fiction

In the first, a presumably promiscuous, or at the very least, picky lemur is amazed by the number of non-fiction titles available on Audible, saying “That’s more than I swipe through on Tinder.” With that level of activity, you wonder how the little primate has the time to listen to audio books at all, but perhaps multi-tasking is within a lemur’s grasp.

Audible's paid media underground advert Lemur on Tinder

Your mum’s alright!

Directly opposite the first, the second ad headline reads Get your Mum off Tinder! This one is for Lumen, a dating app for the over 50’s. The thought of your mum popping up as a possible love match for one of your friends is quite funny. Question marks over targeting aside, the unknown Lumen brand appears at half the size of the one they’re hoping to siphon users away from.

Lumen paid media underground advert Get your mum off Tinder

Is it legal?

Much has been written about mentioning other brands in your advertising. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has a page dedicated to the do’s and don’ts of it. But this is slightly different as there is no direct comparison being made. Nevertheless, mentioning a brand in a commercial (rather than editorial) context with the intention of promoting your own brand is potentially risky.

Tinder should encourage it

Latching onto a powerbrand’s fame in an attempt to raise awareness of your own is rarely an effective strategy. Neuroscience studies on marketing have shown that famous brands ‘own’ connections within our brains. So, when a less well known brand mentions a famous brand, it’s the brand that means something that is registered, that is reinforced, that is remembered.

Paid media? Earned media? Or something else?

In Tinder’s media audit later this year, will these mentions be put down in the Earned or Paid media column? Or should there be a new column – Gifted media. However it gets classified, Tinder owned the journey.

Read our related blog What is a living brand that talks more about how a brand only exists in the mind of the audience.


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