About two years ago, when Tinder first entered India, there was a collective hurrah from the country’s young and single: finally, here was an app that brought the phrase “hook up” back into fashion and lingo and which, importantly, didn’t seek to judge casual sex, one night stands or just frivolous dating. Until now.
The Indian user has somehow managed to give the impression to Tinder that there is a need for another matchmaking/matrimonial portal. The latest ad by the company in India has a mother “swiping right” to her daughter’s choice of a necklace with her kurta, hinting at her approval of the match. The daughter also makes it a point to let us know that she will be back home by evening. No hooking up, mother.
Apart from the fact that the ad is badly scripted and in desperate need of better actors, it forces you to wonder why Tinder wants to be the next shaadi.com? Why is the marketing technique of the company tilting towards saccharine sweet fairy tales? Even the app’s Facebook page has a post with a photo of a beaming, recently engaged couple with gooey quotes on how they met on Tinder. Cute Humans of New York style tale, sure. But this is not their target group.
It’s for those who want to Netflix and chill, grab a quick coffee or a drink or sext – and perhaps those looking for friends with benefits. Not those looking to get married. In a country that has one foot in arranged marriages and another in moral policing, here was an open secret downloaded on our phones that let the alternative breathe.
A Tinder ad should have been sassy and sexy, something like the Fastrack watches commercial with the “Move on” tagline. Of course, any kind of social interaction opens up a world of possibilities, as does Tinder but there is already an unspoken understanding that this app is for stress-free flings – ones that might last a night or a month or forever but that is not the point. This is the global image of the brand, and by coming up with this ad, Tinder is accepting defeat in India.
The message is loud and clear. Tinder is now too `sanskaari’, and it’s time to swipe left and head elsewhere.