Tinder boss stands firm amid anti-LGBTQ+ brand backlash – and is happy to ‘upset some folks’

The Tinder Logo

Tinder’s Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) wants to make it clear that she’s more than happy to “upset some folks” if it means showing support for the LGBTQ+ community.

Ever since signing on as the dating app’s CMO last year, Melissa Hobley has made it her mission to put Tinder on the right side of history and celebrate diversity.

Recently, brands have been facing mounting pressure from right-wing consumers and stakeholders to reign it in when it comes to LGBTQ+ representation. 

Giants like Nike and Bud Light have both faced conservative backlash for collaborating with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney in recent months. 

Target removed Pride-themed apparel from their most recent collection following concerns for their staff’s safety. 

Tinder’s LGBTQ+-inclusive ad campaign paid off, despite marketing fears. (Tinder)

Even Disney has found itself in the midst of a messy legal battle with Florida governor Ron DeSantis over their opposition of his deeply harmful ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law.

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But despite the hurdles, Tinder’s marketing team is determined to stick to their guns and promote LGBTQ+ representation.

And it’s already paying off.

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According to The Drum, the dating app’s ‘It Starts with a Swipe’ ad campaign, which features a diverse selection of couples, has already boosted Tinder’s earnings.

Tinder CEO Bernard Kim says that the company’s Q2 revenue is up by six per cent (or $475 million) as a result of their bold and inclusive ads.

“Our new ‘It starts with a swipe’ marketing campaign is delivering, most importantly by increasing overall new user sign-ups and reactivations at Tinder, and is having an impressive impact on our brand consideration and intent,” he explained at a Q2 earnings call.

Not only that, but user interactions have improved since the campaign launch, too. 

A phone with the Tinder logo, in front of another Tinder logo
Tinder’s CMO isn’t afraid to ruffle some feathers in favour of what’s right. (Getty)

Hobley puts it all down to taking a stand and refusing to back down from mounting right-wing pressure.

“You have to actually be very comfortable knowing that you will upset some folks and you have to have convictions in what is right,” she said.

”LGBTQ+ equality is not a political issue, it is a human rights issue.”

The ‘It Starts With A Swipe’ campaign explores a number of modern day romance tropes, from ‘comfortable silences’ and ‘leaving a toothbrush at their place’ to ‘realising you’re not dead inside’, with lots of appearances from LGBTQ+ couples.

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Tinder’s support of the LGBTQ+ community shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, since a study from OnePoll found earlier this year that the number of LGBTQ+ users of the app has more than doubled in the past two years.

The study – which surveyed 4,000 18 to 25-year-olds who were actively dating in the US, UK, Australia, and Canada between 21 January and 7 February – found that 33 per cent agree that their sexuality is more fluid. 

Similarly, 29 per cent of participants said their gender identity had become more fluid in the past three years. 

Brands, it’s time to take note.

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