Match.com Tempts Voyeuristic Users with New Campaign

NYCGingerGirl’s poster image proclaims she’s “a lefty AND a natural redhead” while user TwoBits12’s says she “makes a mean casserole.” It’s all part of a new campaign to make Internet dating site Match.com more attractive to potential users during its busiest season.

The company has updated its Web site and launched the new campaign to bring reluctant and less net-savvy users to the site through a number of new tools and video clips featuring advice from fashion and dating professionals.

Match.com selected 26 of its customers for the “It’s Okay to Look” campaign to represent a cross section of users from around the country, including users NYCGingerGirl and TwoBits12, and flew them to Los Angeles for photo and video shoots with photographer Peggy Sirota. The campaign is slated to run on television, in print and on the Web on MSN, AOL, MySpace and others, according to Jim Safka, CEO of Match.com. The selected users are also being touted as Match.com “stars” who will have their own blogs on the site available for viewing.

The firm decided to launch the effort just after Christmas as traditionally this the busiest time of year for dating services, according to Safka. “We’re much more of a New Year’s Resolution,” he said. “Our business really picks up the day after Christmas and continues through the first quarter. That’s our busiest season.”

New site features include Web-based tools to help craft a written profile and create and download a flattering photograph, in addition to a free “voyeur” section where potential users can check out other singles. Users can also view fashion and photography advice from Jay Manuel, creative director of CW Network’s “America’s Next Top Model.”

The decision to provide tools and advice to potential users came after Match.com completed a survey of its members. Seventy-one percent said their biggest dating fear is rejection, but 72 percent never had someone to review or help create their profiles.

“Not everybody has a great photo of themselves, and a lot of people find it awkward to write about themselves, especially when you’re trying to say how great you are. We totally get that,” said Safka. “From a marketers’ standpoint, it’s the packaged goods equivalent of the free sample. You don’t have to sign up for a subscription; it’s okay to look.”

Match.com also found the fastest growing age group for its services is over 50. “The data surprised us,” Safka said. “We took for granted that people would upload photos and that would be easy to do. For the generation that’s growing up on YouTube and MySpace, it’s natural. For someone over 50, you have to give them the tools to make it easy.”

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