The ad shows a woman fiddling with her scarf as she gets ready for a date, when her mother enters the room. The mother
enquires if she is going out and when she will be back. She then sits on the bed and looks on while the daughter gets ready. While the girl tries to convince her mother that she is going out to attend a ‘theatre festival’, the mother sees a Tinder notification on her mobile phone. The girl then asks if she looks okay, to which her mother replies, “I right swipe this,” approving of her daughter’s look and clearly hinting that she knows she is going on a Tinder date. She further adds, “Wear kajal, it has its own charm.”
Was that an ad for Tinder we saw? Or was it a Shaadi.com commercial? That’s the first question that comes to mind on watching Tinder’s maiden attempt at launching an ad in India, albeit on the digital platform. This is clearly an effort from Tinder to localise its offering to suit Indian sensibilities. By showing a mother approving of her daughter’s Tinder date, the ad is looking for societal (read: parental) approval when it comes to dating. But does it work? Not quite.
Recently, Tinder also rolled out a campaign for its paid subscription service called Tinder Plus for the European market. The 90 second spot showed a single woman on a pan-Europe trip, featuring her right-swipes. Mind you, there was no advice issued in that ad by the girl’s mother for Tinder dates in Europe. While the two markets may be different, one can’t help but feel the Indian ad talks down to its audience. Indians who use Tinder know what it stands for. There is no need for pretence and the brand doesn’t need to disguise itself as a matrimonial-cum-dating app, in a desperate bid for parental approval. Moreover, it is difficult to don a sanskaari cap when the global positioning is quite something else.
On Tinder India’s Facebook page which released the video, the company states: “The people we meet and the connections we forge change our lives. Tinder is how everyone today meets new, like-minded people around them….. #SwipeRight to a world of possibilities.” Is Tinder trying to position itself as much more than a casual dating platform? Maybe .
“We are seeing increased adoption of the app and a cultural shift towards openness when discussing the topics of dating and relationships.We need to start having open conversations and debates to address existing stereotypes and talk more openly about dating and relationships,” says Taru Kapoor, head – India, Tinder, while explaining the idea behind the video. But by portraying itself as a parent-approved dating app, Tinder risks looking similar to matrimonial sites. But in all fairness, even the latter are changing with time and no longer target parents who are looking for a suitable match for their children. The conversation has shifted, youngsters are at the helm of their own dating/marriage decisions and a new age brand like Tinder should have understood that.