Dating App Bumble Removes Anti-Celibacy Billboards

Most seasoned marketers know that humor can be tricky, and the risk of offending is sometimes great than the reward. 

So it goes for Bumble. The dating app has issued a press release saying it is taking down tongue-in-cheek billboards that have rubbed some viewers the wrong way. 

The billboards, seemingly targeted at women, discouraged celibacy. The backlash online was from women who feel the messaging delegitimizes women’s freedom of choice.

"Women’s experiences are at the center of what we do at Bumble,” a Bumble spokesperson told Campaign US. “As part of our recent marketing campaign, we included an ad with language around celibacy as a response to the frustrations of dating.”



The spokesperson said Bumble has heard the concerns about the ad’s language and understands that rather than highlighting a sentiment toward dating, it may have had a negative impact on some of the app’s community members.

“This was not our intention and we are in the process of removing it from our marketing campaign, and will continue to listen to the feedback from our members,” the spokesperson said, according to Campaign US. 

“After deleting all of its old posts on Instagram, Bumble teased a rebrand on its social media platforms, which launched April 30 by saying dating needs a ‘wake-up call,' and featuring historic images of women ‘exhausted from the dating scene,’” according to  Forbes.

“The ads, which feature images of women, include messaging like ‘Thou shalt not give up on dating and become a nun,'  and ‘You know full well a vow of celibacy is not the answer.’”

The campaign seemed to be responding to the increasing conversation around voluntary celibacy — a popular TikTok hashtag — among young women, many of whom say they find dating and hookup culture so degrading that they’ve opted out altogether. 

"Dating apps, with their gamified format, questionable background-checking practices, and rampant harassment, have been criticized as part of the problem — and, though Bumble originally claimed to set itself aside by empowering women to make the first move, it’s never been clear how our lived experiences on the app are all that different from, say, Tinder or Hinge,” according to The Cut. "The new billboards, which dismiss a decision that many women say made them feel safer and more powerful, are not doing the supposedly feminist dating app any favors.”

Some on social media said they felt like Bumble was saying women could solve their dating problems by just having sex.

One TikTok creator—whose viral video has almost 450,000 views—said Bumble is “delegitimizing our celibacy because you want males to have more access to our bodies,” per Forbes.

Some said the billboards were a great reminder of why they chose celibacy in the first place — including actress Julia Fox, who commented on one post, “2.5 years of celibacy and never been better tbh,” according to Page Six

Next story loading loading..