Tender Tinder- Handle with care

By | May 19, 2016

What is happening in this world? Brands are blatantly disregarding current perceptions and looking at a digital exposure challenging regional biases and rituals to create the desired shift. Nothing wrong with it.

So, Tinder (yes, Tinder) in its digital film for India has a mother very sportingly approving of her daughter’s dating by swiping right.

Meanwhile, in a parallel development, foreigners are warned that dating is not prevalent. They should be ready for a polite ‘no’ to an offer of coffee or movie.

One of then is right, and it may be Tinder.  Nevertheless, I believe that it is not the film idea, but the brand name which created the hyped viewership.

In public understanding, and may be the brand’s understanding, a ‘Lot more can happen over Tinder’. Tinder is so tender . You can make anything from it. Would it be happy seeing itself as yet another platform where meet people meet or the marriage angle is just a strong wink at the culture?

Romantic relationships or one-night stands all in the swipe of the user, after all ‘Tinder. It’s how people meet’. Yes, you got it right, #SwipeRight to a world of possibilities. So, is the app trying to revolutionise or has it read the situation better?

It may be quite foolish to see it as a woman’s empowerment process, where the woman decides what she wants out of life. For a brand to be working in the regional context, there definitely is a need to adapt to Indian rituals. Even so, it is more needed in the app than the communication alone. On the other hand, are we the one reading it totally wrong?

I do not know how many of the readers  above 35 are on Tinder, nor do I know what the younger generation is making out of it. But there is a palpable shift happening. People are meeting beyond the familiar family, college, social events, festivals. Such stories are also taking shape in the contemporary India, but the shift is not tectonic. Are we ready for the new Tinder?

Nevertheless, everyone is cautious not to be seen using the app. Forget that people are worried about someone noticing the app on their mobile. A confession: I did venture to create a profile on it, but held back. The apprehensions are more than justified.

It has the ‘TO MATE’ signboards as much in bold as ‘Adult friend finder’. Whether this film edge it towards the desired platform of ‘TO MEET’ is a moot question?

If one was to believe the social media, it is too much to expect. It seems, the brand has misread the cultural influences and is bound to create more confessional confusion. May be, I and other marketing professionals are out of sync.

This silly exercise may go a long way in making the older generation. The influencers in family level drop their guard. Consistency will be the key. God forbid if there are Uber moments arising from this app.

If you watch the film, the gestures and the dialogues with a heavy dose of localisation, you may feel it depriving you with the testosterone and adrenaline of excitement.

We currently have few layers of morphed dating.

  • Family alliances- limited meeting and not dating.
  • Non-family alliance with family approval- semi dating.
  • Cross-religion/ language alliance with a higher degree of dating.
  • A semi metro searches for a life partner – true dating.

As a culture, we are in a trap, as the younger generation is willing to experiment and take decisions to forge alliances on a hit-and-trial basis. The ever-changing status on Facebook a reflection of these changes. However, we have this ‘purdha’ that everyone seems to go logic-blind. May be it is time for the purdha about meeting-mating and alliances to leave its opaqueness and become a bit more transparent and acceptable. Could it be that Tinder understands the new generation better than many of us working in ivory towers and making our assumptions based on the multiple youth studies?

It is true that the brand is in a trap.

The excited users see it as an FLIRTING and SCORING app, which is an activity on the sly. The brand wants a much more OPEN ACCEPTANCE which is no where near the current perception. However, can you fault it in trying. It is a well-thought-out strategy. Success over here will multiply subscription from the generation it wants to address.

The film may have done its job in opening a dialogue and discussion. Tinder is a tender subject trying hard to be accepted. Theoretically, it may have been better for it to have remained in the consumer’s perception leading to higher excitement.

I do not see ‘We met on Tinder’ as an acceptable alternative to ‘We met at a college/ social event, garba or cousin’s marriage’. But then I have been proved wrong a few times.

First published in MXMINDIA.COM under the wednesday column KOTMARTIAL

Sanjeev Kotnala with 28 years of corporate experience is the founder of Intradia World; a Brand, Marketing & Management Advisory. His focus area includes Ideation and Innovation; he also conducts specialized workshops like IDEAHarvest, Liberate and InNoWait. For soft skill training, he follows SHIFT (Specific High-Intensity Frequent training), a process of continuous training with frequent shorter sessions. Email sanjeev@intradia.in tweet @s_kotnala web: www.intradia.in www.sanjeevkotnala.com