Before Love, There Must Be 'Like'

Before the love, marriage and baby carriage, there at least has to be like. 

Zoosk, an online dating service, is stressing the notion that one must like his or her potential partners before moving on to longer-term relationships via a new marketing campaign. 

“We want to celebrate a relationship, not just a first date or marriage like so many of our competitors are doing,” Allison Braley, Zoosk’s vice president of marketing, tells Marketing Daily. “We’re trying to focus on enjoying the journey, rather than the end-point.”

The effort, which carries the title, “First Comes Like,” begins this week with a television commercial depicting a man and a woman preparing for a date with scenes of connecting through the Zoosk platform, choosing (and rejecting) outfits, and trying to create a perfect meal, which eventually burns. The couple winds up going out for pizza on a more casual, relaxed first date. 



“[In focus groups], people felt it was a lot of pressure to join a site that said, ‘We’re number one in dates or marriage,’” Braley says of the strategy. “We wanted to empower people to find other people they like.”

The difference between Zoosk and other dating sites is the way it goes about finding out a user’s likes and dislikes via potential matches. Rather than having users fill out 100-word questionnaires, Zoosk only asks for some basic information, and then begins winnowing choices by users liking or not liking suggested matches, Braley says. 

“As you use the site, it’s going to be smarter and learn how you like people,” she says. “[It] allows you to have a composite of what you’re looking for. We think that’s a better approach than through quiz-based sites.”

Other elements, created by San Francisco agency Muh-Tay-Zik Hof-Fer, include out-of-home, cinema and social media. The spot will run on network and cable programming, as well as in pre-roll cinema. Outdoor will run in Los Angeles, New York City and San Francisco. IPG’s Compass Point Media handled media duties.

The campaign is intended to raise awareness leading up to the post-New Year’s season when online dating sites generally see a spike in traffic, Brailey says. “We wanted to prime people for our message heading into that season,” she says.

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