Celebrities

Another Revenue Stream for Tinder: Music

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Recently, Gap came under fire from Tinder executives by posting fake profiles advertising their wares on the dating app, hoping people would swipe right to participate in a new campaign. The problem was that Gap didn’t get Tinder’s permission, so Tinder ordered Gap to take them down.

But Tinder isn't cracking down on fake profiles or spam-like ads for all companies looking to promote (though it did hire an agency who is cracking down on their spamming issue). Tinder only allows companies who are actually paying to post their fake “profiles” - and these companies are reaching their target audience of young consumers in a really big way.

Native advertising on Tinder works like this: the company creates a "profile" targeted to its audience, and uploads to Tinder. From there, users will come across the profile and swipe left or right, depending on if they like what they see. Companies that have done this recently include Starbucks and Dominos Pizza.

But now, it's not only companies looking to advertise - musicians are taking advantage of Tinder’s user base, using the service to promote new videos and album releases. Because musicians are constantly looking for new ways to reach their audiences and gather new fans, they have become more creative in their online promotions. Tinder is the latest tool, and recently did a campaign with singer Jason DeRulo.

Forbes reported that Jason Derulo became the first musician to use the Tinder promotional strategy to launch a new single. When users swiped right, they were given in link to a YouTube page where they could watch the brand new video for his new song, which was also getting a huge push via radio. The campaign was a success: over 1.1 million people swiped right (meaning they liked him) – in three days. The song became a top 40 hit, with 14% clicking through to purchase his song on iTunes.

Of course, it helped that the song was speaking to his target market – daters who are looking for a late-night hook-up, a la Tinder. In the video, DeRulo is shown fantasizing about a woman he had sex with, jumping out of bed in the middle of the night to go to her apartment, where she is of course fantasizing about him, too.

The success of the campaign will surely capture the attention of other musicians and companies who want to appeal to their target audience: young singles. These companies are also finding that effective advertising means meeting these people on their own turf – social media, rather than traditional stuffy ad campaigns. People are much more mobile, and looking at their phones more than looking up at a billboard.

One thing’s for sure, Tinder doesn’t have to worry about meeting revenue goals through subscriptions to its premium (and pricey) service. Companies will likely be more than willing to offer money for campaigns that have this type of success rate.

For more on this popular dating app you can read our review of Tinder.

Steve Harvey Launches Delightful.com To Help Women 'Become More Dateable'

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After teaching women to Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, Steve Harvey is gearing up for a new crusade to “help women become more dateable.”

Anyone else cringing, or is that just me?

It’s not that the man hasn’t had plenty of successful ideas. He’s made it as a comic, a talk show presenter, a game show host, and the author of two relationship advice books, so he must be doing something right. But if that mission statement doesn’t immediately raise a red flag, you’re not reading it correctly.

Here’s the deal: Harvey has launched a dating website, Delightful.com, as a joint venture with IAC (the company that owns Match.com, OkCupid, Tinder, and a slew of niche dating services). In addition to being the face of the site, he will supply articles and videos to help subscribers “find love and keep it.” So far so good.

But then you get to the philosophy behind the site, which Harvey kindly shared with Forbes recently.

“Women are wired differently,” he says. Online dating is great for people who want to go on a lot of dates - which means it’s good for men in Harvey’s mind, because only men are interested in playing the field. “A man doesn’t have any problem at all dating several or a wide variety of people until he finds the right one,” he says.

On the other hand, “women don’t really want to just date,” explains Harvey. “They want to date with the hope that it leads to a relationship.” And the reason is simple: “A lot of women have that biological clock that ticks in them.”

He’s not the first to say so. And undoubtedly, in some cases, he’s right. But it’s also a painfully problematic approach to 21st century dating. Just when you thought we were moving away from ideas that divide the sexes, here comes every “women are from Venus, men are from Mars” cliché that’s been ruining things so far.

Harvey goes on to say that women are too picky when it comes to dating, and that Delightful will include advice columns for women on important topics like “how to become more datable.” For men, Delightful will offer “instructionals on being the kind of man who knows how to treat a woman.” At no point does it appear Delightful will explain that it takes two people to make a relationship work, and that men and women need to learn to meet each other halfway for relationships to survive.

And what does Match CEO Sam Yagan have to say about Harvey’s prehistoric approach to modern romance?

“It’s not like we’re standing behind everything he’s ever said.” Well ok then.

'Mean Girls' Lacey Chabert Stars In 'Christian Mingle' Movie

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We live in a crazy world. And at the moment, nothing is greater proof of that and the fact that there is a Christian Mingle movie.

Yes, that Christian Mingle. The dating website that promises devout singles it will "find God's match for you." Someone in Hollywood apparently thought that sounded like a rip-roaring good time of a rom-com, and here we are, wondering what led us to this strange and confusing place.

Oh yeah, and did I mention that the lead role is played by Lacey Chabert, most notable for her turn as the ditzy Gretchen Wieners in Mean Girls? It just gets better and better.

Allegedly there is also a plot. It follows Chabert’s character, a 30-something marketing executive named Gwyneth Hayden, whose life is perfect except for one thing: it's missing a man. In a moment of desperation, she joins the Christian Mingle dating site in hopes of changing her fortunes – even though she is not a Christian. Here’s a synopsis of the rest of the film:

“Gwyneth’s attempts at impressing her dream guy end in disaster when he calls her out on her ‘faux faith.’ In an honest realization, she sees her superficial life for what it really is, and she’s driven to create a personal relationship with God. In the end, He delivers on the true desires of her heart: ‘life-changing’ love.”

The director is Corbin Bernsen, an American actor known for a strange mix of television dramas, reality TV shows, and soap opera work. He began making religious films in 2010 and formed his own production company shortly afterwards. He also has one of the largest snow globe collections in the world because… well, why not?

Bernsen swears the film is not an advertisement or an endorsement of the Christian Mingle dating website, but…uh... I can't think of another reason for making this film, can you?

"You might ask why do include 'the movie' in the title?” Bernsen wrote on his Facebook page. “One of my first jobs is to let everyone know that this is a pure, straight up Romantic Comedy and NOT an ad or paid promotional piece for Christian Mingle.com – the popular dating website," Bernsen declared in a post on his Facebook page Friday.

 “They have been incredible partners and friends in allowing us to use their name and play an integral role in the film, but one of the first rumors I want you to help me dispel is that this is a commercial for them. Check out the trailer and you'll see...”

Well okay, Corbin… if that's what you say. You'll forgive me if I remain a little skeptical. Check out the trailer above and see for yourself.

Want To Date A Celeb? Tinder Might Be Your Chance

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Tinder just announced that it's reached a seriously impressive milestone: it’s made 1 billion matches between its users. That number was just 1 million in January 2013, making Tinder one of the most memorable success stories in online and mobile dating history.

In fact, Tinder has been so successful that even celebrities are getting in on the game. Although you might think it wouldn't be hard for good-looking, A-list of famous folks to find a date, it looks like they have a little more trouble on Tinder than we under-the-radar people would expect.

“We’ve had celebrities reach out to us frequently throughout the last year, sort of calling out various frustrations convincing users that they were actually who they are,” Tinder co-founder Sean Rad told TIME. “One impediment is that sometimes their Facebook accounts, which we pull information from, includes different names than their actual likeness… So [celebrities] were asking for the ability to modify their Tinder name and maybe have a verified badge.”

That's right – apparently all kinds of famous people want nothing more than to be able to swipe right, but their potential matches assume that the well-known faces in their profile pictures mean their accounts are fakes. Making it worse is the fact that Tinder requires Facebook account authorization in order to verify identity, and a lot of celebrities use fake names on social networking sites for privacy purposes. It's a combination that's almost guaranteed to make the average mobile dater send a profile straight to the rejection pile.

Rad and his co-founder Justin Mateen know first-hand what that feels like. For a while, they both listed themselves as the app's co-founders in their Tinder profile taglines. Again and again, they found themselves rejected by users who didn't believe they were telling the truth about their identities.

“It was awesome [to know celebrities are on Tinder] because it sort of validated our theories that everyone, even people of influence, need help forming relationships,” Rad said. “It’s important to us that our users know we are committed to authenticity on every level.” So with that in mind, Tinder is adopting verification badges like Twitter in order to confirm celebrity identities and allow the famous and non-famous alike to intermingle without fear of being scammed.

Of course, Rad won't disclose which celebrities are using the app, but he assures TIME that “These are A-listers.” Sochi Olympians admitted to using Tinder during the Games, and Lindsay Lohan told her Instagram followers know that she found her brother on the app, so you at least know that you stand a chance of meeting one of the world’s most talented athletes and one of the world's most famous redheads.

Can Art Influence Real-Life Dating?

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You might have heard by now that eHarmony has added a new personal service to their dating website membership options called eHarmony+. For a mere $5,000 per year, you can get the added benefit of personalized counseling with a real-life love counselor (who is also a professional therapist).

What prompted this move by eHarmony is another interesting story. According to a recent interview the website conducted with actor/ producer Ben Stiller, his new movie The Secret Life of Walter Mitty may have something to do with it.

Producers worked closely with eHarmony while developing the movie, since the dating service plays a large role in the storyline. One of the characters written into the story is an eHarmony relationship counselor who helps Mitty with his online dating profile. The movie depicts a counselor who seems to be on call around the clock for Mitty (to answer such urgent questions as "should I send her a wink?" in the middle of the night).

Before the movie's release, eHarmony offered only traditional online dating services where people create their own profiles, fill out questionnaires and are matched by computer algorithms as opposed to actual people. But as eHarmony staff worked with producers on the script, they decided to make changes to the actual service, so that it provided customized help like it does in the movie (making it a more accurate depiction).

eHarmony's vice-president of customer experience, Grant Langston, tells The Hollywood Reporter, "As I read the script, I realized it couldn't be accurate because that's not the way we model our service. EHarmony is a self-serve model." So, they decided to make changes in time for the movie's release so that premium members can now receive one-on-one counseling.

Interestingly, this wasn't a paid advertising opportunity for eHarmony. In fact, Langston says on eHarmony's website that they paid no money to be part of the film, that writers included it as part of the script from the beginning. Instead, they were on the receiving end - asked by producers whether the script depicted the service accurately. Because it wasn't a true depiction, instead of changing the script, Langston saw an opportunity to create an eHarmony that was more like the one in the movie, that provided members real human counseling.

"We discussed internally asking them to change the film to suit the real eHarmony user experience - people take the relationship questionnaire, get matches, go through guided communication, etc.," Lagston says on eHarmony's blog. "But where's the drama in that? Would it be interesting to watch Ben Stiller quietly answer questions and communicate with matches? It would not."

Langston says, "I was asked to lead the effort to build this new product and once we started to discuss it, I began to understand Walter's attraction to this version of eHarmony. You're talking to a human being who cares about your success. That's nice. This person is reaching out to you and listening to your feedback. Who wouldn't love that?"

To learn more about this service you can read our eHarmony review.

ChristianMingle Gets The Film Treatment

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I guess this is how you know you've officially "made it." A film is being made about ChristianMingle.com.

Appropriately named "Christian Mingle," the film is written and directed by Corbin Bernsen and will be produced by his production company, Home Theater Films. The new romantic comedy will partner with the ChristianMingle website itself, which holds the distinction of being the world's largest and fastest-growing Christian community.

The movie tells the story of Gweneth Hayden (played by Lacey Chabert best-known for her role as Gretchen Wieners in "Mean Girls"), a 30-something marketing executive who has a top-notch career, a killer wardrobe, her dream apartment and a fantastic circle of friends. In other words, she believes that the only thing missing from her otherwise-perfect life is a man (played by Jonathan Patrick Moore of "L.A. Complex").

In a moment of desperation, she signs up for ChristianMingle.com to find him. But her Christianity is more than a little rusty, and her attempts at impressing her dream guy end in disaster when he calls her out on her "faux faith." As a result, Gweneth comes to the realization that it's not her lack of a relationship that's keeping her from happiness, but rather her lack faith. She commits to leaving her superficial life behind and renewing her relationship with God. In the end, Gweneth gets what she wanted most: a "life-changing" love.

"'Christian Mingle' is about a young, modern, single woman. She's trying to achieve it all - a successful career, amazing friends and finding Mr. Right," Bernsen said. "She stumbles into the world of online dating looking for an instant 'soul mate solution,' but ultimately ends up taking a personal journey transforming her life."

"Our goal at Home Theater Films is to inspire and entertain our audience," Bernsen continued. "We want to make great movies that everyone can enjoy and elevate them with contemporary, relatable characters that naturally demonstrate their faith in real-world situations."

Other members of the case include Erin Bethea, who notably portrayed female lead Catherine Holt in the film "Fireproof," Stephen Tobolowsky ("Groundhog Day"), and John O'Hurley ("Seinfeld"). Behind the scenes, "Christian Mingle" is written and directed by Bernsen and produced by Chris Aronoff. Matt Swanson and Charlie Schafer serve as Executive Producers. The film will include music from Capitol Christian Distribution, who will also handle the home entertainment distribution.

Production began in Turlock, California, at the end of 2013 and will wrap in Los Angeles with the theatrical release planned for Spring 2014. To find out more about this dating site you can read our Christian Mingle review