Villing & Company

Swiping Left on Tinder's Twitter Meltdown

You’ve been cautioned in this space before against marketing like a newborn. But what about marketing like a teenager ranting on Twitter? Before you start laughing that question off, let me ask you another. What if I told you that a major brand recently adopted this strategy on social media?

That major brand is none other than Tinder, a social dating app popular among millennials for its simplicity. Pictures of singles who are nearby pop up on a user’s screen. The user may then swipe right if they are interested or swipe left if they are not.

The brouhaha started when a recent Vanity Fair article pegged Tinder as a culprit for the perceived moral decline in dating culture. Then this happened…

Those tweets are part of a 30-tweet rant that stretched into the night. At first, it seemed that someone had gotten access to Tinder’s account illegally, or an employee had grossly overstepped their bounds in response to the article. That rant couldn’t have been planned…could it?

That was Buzzfeed reporter Claudia Koerner acknowledging that she was tipped off about the meltdown. This article from Adweek gives more supporting information claiming this as a staged PR effort. Later, Tinder did reach out to Wired and admit they may have overreacted, but the fact that these tweets have not been deleted seems to support the notion that this was a planned action.

I’ll be honest, I tried to find the rationale behind this strategy. Yes, Tinder received media coverage due to the Twitter rant, but it was all negative. And the negative press hasn’t stopped.

The real kicker for me is this: if Tinder really had an issue with the article in Vanity Fair, why make it a bigger story? I guarantee that more people read the article due to the Twitter rant than would have seen it otherwise. They ended up broadcasting negative press about their brand to a wider audience.

While I don’t currently nor have I ever personally used Tinder, I think I can speak for my fellow millennials in saying that this isn’t the best brand image. The whole thing seemed juvenile and reactionary.

If this was just another lesson about being careful what you post on social media that would be one thing. The fact that it was a planned PR effort makes it even more alarming. Well, at least if you didn’t know before, you do now…

...don’t market like a whiny teenager.

Filed Under: public relations

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