Politics used to be considered a risky topic on a first date – along with religion, previous sexual encounters and stories about your ex, it was generally seen as something to be avoided.
But OKCupid’s Ask Yourself campaign tackles the subject head on, with a series of ads that tell us it’s OK to select partners based on their political leanings, their attitudes towards gender or even their views on abortion. Outdoor posters feature lines such as ‘It’s OK not to date a man who won’t vote for a woman’ and ‘It’s OK to choose to only date someone who’s pro-choice’.
The campaign is based on responses to a list of 3,000 questions, which OKCupid users can choose to answer and display on their profile when they sign up to the app. These responses help the brand to find suitable matches, and have also given OKCupid a picture of the issues that matter most to its audience.
Featuring artwork by Xaviera López, it was created by Mekanism and follows Wieden Kennedy’s witty DTF ads, which offered some surprising new takes on an acronym that has become ubiquitous on dating apps.
Alongside outdoor and social ads, OKCupid has released some charming animations and a series of polls for Instagram Stories to gauge people’s opinions on everything from body hair to foreplay, climate change and Trump’s impeachment. Questions range from serious to silly, covering sex, relationships, work and family as well as politics.
The latest ads aren’t quite as witty as DTF, but they’re bound to get people talking, and reinforce OKCupid’s image as an outspoken and politically engaged brand. The Stories polls are particularly interesting, revealing the issues that have divided opinion among OKCupid’s followers.
While it could be accused of promoting the kind of left/right tribalism that has divided social media – not to mention families and friendship groups – Ask Yourself acknowledges a universal truth of dating: that most of us want a relationship with people who hold similar views to our own, or at least see eye to eye with us on the big stuff.
It’s the latest example of dating apps looking to adopt a strong point of view and set themselves apart from a growing list of competitors through design features or high-profile campaigns. Hinge has positioned itself as an app that prioritises real life interactions with its ‘designed to be deleted’ positioning, while Match’s new ads target those who are looking for long-term commitment. With Ask Yourself, OKCupid has cemented its image as an outspoken brand that isn’t afraid to provoke a little controversy.
Alongside the Ask Yourself campaign, OK Cupid has been taking steps to make its app more inclusive of late: in September, it launched a feature which allows LGBTQ users to share their preferred pronouns, including a they/them option alongside he/she. It’s a small change, but a significant one for users who have long been frustrated with the limited choice of pronouns on social and digital apps and forms.
Artist: Xaviera López