Last Sunday afternoon in between commercials, I was on Tinder (#noshame). And as I was I casually swiping left and right, all of a sudden I saw an all too familiar face. Mindy Kaling – is that you?
At what I first thought was a joke by some bored, single person was actually a new marketing ploy by the television show ‘The Mindy Project.’ FOX confirmed that it used the hottest dating app on the market to do some advertising for its sitcom. They have created fake character profiles and matched them up with real people.
Apparently, (sorry – I swiped left) if you say you “like” (aka swipe right) Lahiri, she will immediately send you this message:
There’s also a Tinder page for Danny Castellano who is a male character on the show.
Whether you’d like to admit it or not, everyone is on Tinder. And when I say everyone, I mean the 20-something, city-living demographic that so many brands try to reach. We have short attention spans and are always on our smartphones.
FOX’s Tinder marketing stunt was definitely creative – we’ll give them that. And in return, they worked the app into an episode. However, this is 100% a form of native advertising. Native advertising, also known as “sponsored content”, has become more and more prevalent, but that doesn’t mean the FTC is taking it lightly. Is this another example of “trickery”?
Personally, I don’t have a problem with native advertising. I think as long as it belongs in the context and is appropriate, then it actually ups the quality of the content of ads out there. Are they always quality ads? Definitely not. But Mindy and Danny are in the demographic that use Tinder and “belonged” in that environment. It’s creative and fits with the platform.
Now, let’s hear your take. Is native advertising the future? Should Tinder allow “fake profiles” – even in cases like this?