Advertising for online dating sites can be depressingly similar. They showcase couples who have found each other through the sites and suggest other singletons can do the same.
This week, eHarmony (which for the past decade or so has followed the exact technique) launches a new campaign that suggests finding a perfect mate is about more than getting a bunch of pictures sent to you -- it’s about opening up your heart.
“It’s definitely a different style of campaign,” Helen Melluish, senior director of brand marketing for eHarmony, tells Marketing Daily. “We have always had couples up until this point, and we’ve always tried to share their stories. This ad campaign felt like we were going back to our core values and the purpose of the company, which is if you open up your heart and make yourself vulnerable, love will find you.”
A new television spot uses Hall & Oates’ 1980 hit “You Make My Dreams Come True” and animation to depict a man’s heart on a search for its match. As the spot begins, an animated drawing of the man’s heart jumps out of his jacket and winds a path along streets and walls to meet other people (with the man in pursuit). While some women brush the heart off, it (and he) eventually meet up with another like-minded heart (and its owner), along with the tagline: “Free your heart to find love.”
“It’s the simple thought that [eHarmony does] dig deeper,” Jay Russell, executive creative director at GSD&M, tells Marketing Daily. “It’s more work, but it’s worth it. Instead of making that a bad thing, we make that a good thing.”
With its Hall & Oates soundtrack and sweet animation, the spot evokes the film “(500) Days of Summer,” which used the same elements to highlight the feeling its main character had in finding what he thought was his perfect match. The effect is intentional, as the demographic for the 2009 movie and eHarmony’s target lineup, Russell says.
“That euphoric moment is what the campaign is about,” Russell says. “We had no idea that was going to be the song we were going to use. We were on set and that song came on, and it changed the whole tone.”
Finding that light tone was important as eHarmony shifted its tone away from the testimonial advertising featuring customers who had found their loves through the site, Russell says.
“It’s a tough subject in talking to daters about freeing your heart,” he says. “Everybody wants to find their perfect match, but it’s got to be fun and light. It can’t have the guilt of the fact that being single [can be] awful. The idea of ‘by freeing your heart, you will find a better match’ -- [we had to] take that and wrap it in a modern and fresh skin.”
The television commercials will begin running this week. Executions launching later this fall will dig deeper into the theme of freeing one’s heart a little deeper through “social experiments,” Russell says. (He declined to offer further details.)