The dating app OkCupid advertises the controversial subject of abortion by giving users access to the “pro-choice” badge as a part of its “Every Single Person” campaign.
Despite MTA’s disapproval, OkCupid isn’t a brand that stays “hush” on social problems. The MTA’s recently increased limits on sex-related advertising have had an impact on OkCupid’s OOH advertising strategy. The brand launched its “Every Single Person” campaign in September 2021, which chief marketing officer Melissa Hobley characterized as an inclusive campaign aimed at making all sorts of daters feel accepted on the online dating site.
For example, one ad says OkCupid is for “every single insomniac,” while another ad says it is for “every single pansexual.” It was shown across various platforms, including digital and outdoor billboards and the New York City subway system. Now it is back for round two. This time emphasizing abortion, specifically pro-choice, targeting the “peak” season for match media marketing.
OkCupid states that “clearly, daters are interested in signaling their support of abortion access and reproductive rights to potential matches, and the new I’m Pro-Choice profile badge will make it that much easier. Daters also want to filter matches by whether or not they’re pro-choice; after all, people with ‘pro-choice’ in their profile are nearly 2x more likely to get a reply than those who don’t,” due to an eighteen percent increase of “pro-choicers” on OkCupid Profiles.
It was not the first time the company has raised awareness about abortion. After Texas’ SB 8 law was passed, prohibiting most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy and allowing private individuals to sue suspected offenders, OkCupid, a Dallas-based Match Group, began offering users the opportunity to add a pro-choice symbol to their profile in September. The app claimed at the time that for every user who added the badge, it would pay $1 to Planned Parenthood, estimated up to $50,000.
Following SB 8, several companies, including Ben & Jerry’s, and fellow dating service Bumble, supported abortion rights. However, it is seldom an opportunity to come across an ad that is openly pro-choice, unlike anti-abortion advertisements, which seem to pop up on every freeway in the United States. According to Pew research center, even though most Americans believe abortion should be legal in all or most situations, many businesses have been unwilling to take a public stance on the issue.
Some of the companies with operations in Texas were brought to book for not speaking up after SB 8 was approved, including American Airlines, AT&T, Oracle, and Apple. Melissa Hobley termed it “shameful” that businesses aren’t doing more. Hobley also told Ad Age, “We’ve seen corporate responsiveness to other things, and that’s very significant.” “It’s just the deafening quiet on this topic, especially given that most Americans still support women’s freedom to choose.”
In the end, Melissa Hobley explained her team’s expectations for the MTA’s decision and marketed OkCupid’s stance on the abortion debate. “We were really disappointed in [the] MTA’s decision…but we also love the subway, and we love the medium as a way to tell a story.”
Contact Saiesha at Munurisa@shu.edu