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NEW YORK In the age of popular dating apps that require users to swipe left or right based on photos, online dating platform OkCupid has recently made it a brand mission to give its users a more involved, positive online dating experience. The brand prides itself on giving users the ability to include more personal information in their profiles, specifically by providing questions that contribute to the app’s signature match percentage score.
Building on this “substance over selfies” mantra, OkCupid launched its first marketing campaign in January revolving around the well-known dating app acronym D.T.F. (feel free to search it on Urban Dictionary if you’re unfamiliar), with the goal of subverting the acronym by encouraging people to redefine the “F” for themselves. The campaign, which was developed by ad agency Wieden and Kennedy, includes cheeky online and real-life ads in New York and select markets, featuring phrases like “DTFinish My Novel,” “DTFoot the Bill,” and “DTFifty-Five Hour Binge.” Eye-popping, surrealist images depicting people in a variety of situations related to each phrases—such as going to the farmers market and having a TV binge-watch—were photographed by Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari to accompany the phrases.
“The D.T.F. campaign is an extension of OkCupid’s mission to focus on substance and depth—and to reflect back the issues and passions that people care about. So this campaign is for anyone who wants a way to bring their full selves to dating,” said OkCupid C.M.O. Melissa Hobley. “We hope that everyone who sees the campaign feels empowered by our brand promise to bring more substance to dating, and takes the chance to define for themselves what matters to them and what they want.”
To celebrate the campaign launch and bring it to life, OkCupid hosted its DTFix Dating party on January 18 at the Frank Gehry-designed IAC Building in New York, where the company is located. The event, which was produced and designed by Small Girls PR, featured life-size wall installations of the ads, as well as activations and food and drinks inspired by different “D.T.F.” phrases from the campaign.
“For the DTFix Dating event, we really wanted to focus the attention on the creative itself, so it was important to find a space that we could do that in a big way,” said Hobley, who added that the goal was to have the event feel like a gallery opening. “We also wanted guests to be part of the campaign, so we set up activations that allowed guests to step inside the creative.”
Activations included a “DTFall Head Over Heels” photo booth, as well as a postcard activation that invited guests to send letters to elected officials—including President Trump. Last year, the company introduced a “Trump filter” that let users block or include Trump supporters.
“At the event, we wanted to reflect this unprecedented moment where people are connecting and getting together over politics. So it was important to give guests an opportunity to not just talk about these issues, but to take action too,” said Hobley. “We had branded postcards where guests could write to the president or various elected officials about the issues that matter to them—such as #MeToo, Planned Parenthood, and immigration. We also purposefully had this event on the eve of the Women's March—of which we were a proud founding sponsor—so of course we also had a poster-making station.”
Here's a look at how OkCupid translated the marketing campaign into an event.