Editor's pick social media

#SXSW musings: is Tinder the next marketing opportunity?


You might remember Gap launched a micro-series on Instagram for the spring season. Tied to that for Valentine’s Day was a campaign on dating app Tinder that invited users to its “Pants Party” before offering 30% off denim styles.

What was intended as a fun, guerrilla marketing idea, quickly got nixed by the app for being an “unauthorised violation of its terms of service”.

It’s interesting this week then to see Tinder back in the spotlight from a marketing perspective, and this time at SXSW. Needless to say the app gets heavy usage at a festival that pulls in over 30,000 people, but those coming across a 25-year-old woman called Ava this weekend might have been sorely disappointed.

Ava is in fact a Swedish actress called Alicia Vikander who plays the role of an artificial intelligence in a new movie that premiered at the festival last night called Ex Machina. The whole campaign is done in an incredibly clever way, hinting at what it feels like to be a human as well as directing the user to Instagram where the actual ads for the film exist.

It’s a timely fit given artificial intelligence is emerging as one of the big trends from the event so far (heavily discussed in sessions on the one hand, while protested about outside the convention centre on the other). But it’s the usage of Tinder particularly that’s so genius.

We’re not suggesting brands should all place a fake profile on the platform to drive people to their content elsewhere, but certainly take inspiration from some outside of the box thinking related to an app that has so much relevance in daily consumer lives.

After all, while the social buzz at SXSW might be about live streaming app Meerkat, we guarantee you there are a greater number of people on the ground swiping through their Tinder matches day to day.

This post first appeared on

By Rachel Arthur

Rachel Arthur is Editor-in-Chief of Current Daily, the leading news source for fashion, retail and innovation, and the co-host of its weekly Innovators podcast. She otherwise serves as Co-Founder and Chief Innovation Officer of Current Global, a transformation consultancy driving growth within fashion luxury and retail. By background she is an award-winning business journalist and consultant, contributing to titles including Wired, Forbes and Business of Fashion.

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