Match’s recent campaign Let’s Make Love featuring Rebel Wilson shines a light on all the sh*t young people deal with when it comes to dating apps. Over six ‘episodes’ Rebel tackles dating tips, late night texts and meditation for daters.

“Right now, single people are out there getting it, but what are they really getting from [these dating experiences]?” asks Rebel in the hero video, Singles, Get Your Heart On!

“They’re getting ghosted and zombied and mermaided.”

What Match did right

For this campaign, Match engaged a humorous and well-known host that gained immediate attention for the brand.

In the making of the ‘podcast’ series, Rebel posted Instagram stories of herself in the studio with reference to the #LetsMakeLovePod, creating interest in the brand and the series they were working on.

The staff even celebrated internally with branded cookies and merch. The hype was real.

The campaign went live with a series of six video episodes promoted across social channels featuring Rebel Wilson in the podcasting studio. The episodes were effectively teasers for the podcast series.

But if you were intrigued enough to go to the campaign landing page you wouldn’t find a podcast, but the series of six video ads for the campaign that go for an accumulative period of less than 4 minutes including a 10-second ad titled “Try Match Today.” Talk about an anti-climax.

How Match missed an opportunity at audience engagement

As far as an ad campaign goes for Match – this appears to be an attempt at brand awareness and repositioning for the younger market who are sick of being ‘ghosted’ by the matches on its competitors’ platforms (Tinder, Bumble, etc).

But if we’re talking about engaging the target audience (young singles), the brand has a lot more work to do.

Match needs only look as far as Bumble to see an example of a competitor effectively nailing audience engagement in this industry. And they’re going for the same audience, with the same message.

Bumble uses its blog ‘The Buzz’ to communicate the platform’s values and add value to users. They’ve also engaged influencers to create actual podcasts for its audience, including this one they did with the popular podcasters from Shameless Media.

Love etc. by Shameless Media and presented by Bumble Australia talks about everything from sex and cheating to who pays on the first date – powerful conversations that are highly relevant for the audience. And while Bumble is paying for the partnership, they are accessing an already engaged audience that’s bang on with their target market.

Bumble’s example is a wholesome approach in terms of the brand genuinely wanting to add value to its audience while creating awareness and engagement for the brand.

Other youth dating apps are also active in the space. Hinge has a space on its site for epic date ideas and both Hinge and Tinder have created highly engaging Instagram feeds with a humorous tilt to stay front of mind with their respective audiences. Match – one of the original players in this space – has considerably less Instagram followers than its younger competitors.

In terms of campaign approach – entertaining content is clearly a point of interest for this audience – so I don’t think the campaign narrative is off, they just missed an opportunity to genuinely engage the audience.

Furthermore, by taking an ad approach rather than committing to the content they promised, Match dramatically shortened the lifespan of their campaign.

What could have been a super sharable short-form podcast hosted by Rebel Wilson that promotes the highs and lows of dating with a hilarious tilt, came out as a build up to a call to action to try Match today.

I just hope that Match is inspired by the activity to create something of value to the audience next time around.