A Swipe At Meet-Cute: The Tender Tinder Update


When I first saw an opening shot of “Rescue,” a new Tinder spot set in a library filled with -- what are those things called again… boooooks? -- my heart skipped a beat. The visual picture of those old yearn-y days when cute young couples could meet among the hardcovers is mighty romantic.

Sorry, this reverie veers away from the point of the campaign. 

Rather, the spot features actors Lana Condor (star of Netflix’s “To All the Boys”) and Evan Mock (HBO Max's reboot of “Gossip Girl”) as Samantha and John.  They are perfect for the roles.

And talk about creating an old-fashioned, sigh-worthy, romcom moment. She’s climbing a ladder to reach a book on the highest shelf and starts falling backwards when he swoops in and catches her.

It’s richly shot and lit, just like the cinematography of a real ‘90s teen romance movie, and appropriately underscored by the late ‘90s song, “Kiss Me” from band Sixpence None the Richer, which indeed served as the track for “She’s All That,” a popular 1999 teen romcom.



The agency, Mischief @no fixed address discerned that Gen Z, the target here, is really into late ‘90s teen romance movies, nostalgia from a time before they were born.

So, once Samantha is rescued, she and her sometime savior start talking to each other. We don’t quite get it for a few seconds until their convo shows up on the screen as individual texts, mimicking the first text exchange that a real couple on Tinder named Samantha and John actually had.

The awkwardness of a digital flying-thumbs experience with a stranger is all there. The actress says “Thanks for making my day with your hace. Typo. I mean face.” He answers “What?” and she asks if she “ruined it already.” 

“No,” he responds, “My mom just called. She says hi,” and then verbalizes “smirk emoji.” 

“Meet cutes happen every day on Tinder,” a cool female voiceover tells us. “Just not like they do in the movies.”

So, in one super-clever and artfully produced 30-second spot, we’re taken in by the retro scene, feeling all the feels of possibility and happiness, and then realize that this can happen over an app in real life.

The new campaign, which includes two other spots, is the second iteration of Tinder’s “It Starts with a Swipe” campaign that successfully launched last year, bringing long-lasting romance into the picture.

Founded in 2012 in West Hollywood, Tinder is the app that invented the “swipe,” which can be brutal if users speed by and don’t give a photo a chance.

In its early days, Tinder was known as a place to go for hook-ups. The brand, owned by Match Group, is actively trying to change that perception, at a time of general malaise in the online dating world.

By now, with the exception of Gen Z, many single people have been on the apps for a while, and start to feel wrung out from the process, which takes a lot of work from first swipe to an actual meet, and often ends in disappointment. Also, there’s user frustration about being incentivized to keep paying monthly despite not really meeting anyone. It’s a gaming cycle of a dopamine hit, getting a ping about a match, and then the letdown.

But this campaign, for a still curious generation, is sticky and breaks through all that painful history.  It’s a smart way of illustrating that there's possibility around the corner.

That the ads buy into the Gen Z nostalgia for ‘90s movie romance while being based on actual contemporary couples and their first exchanges in the digital space of  “meet-cute,” is enjoyable and even brainy.

It makes you feel better about going forth and taking a chance.

But I wouldn’t recommend climbing any ladders.


Next story loading loading..