Rebels without a cause ran riot and markets fell off a cliff: the past two weeks' TV has been a horror show. That's why the Match.com ad, spreading much-needed love and positivity, stood out for me. But will its target market fall in love with it?
The UK's best-known dating site is targeting younger singletons, whose lives increasingly revolve around social media sites and who are open to meeting new people and just enjoying themselves rather than finding 'the one'. The new direction presumably addresses competition from Facebook-based apps like Zoosk and sites such as ClickTonight.com.
'Ukulele', Match's best execution so far, gives us an unconventional 'Match moment'. Guy sees girl on the opposite platform at a railway station. She smiles - and, suitably encouraged, he proceeds to serenade her with his ukulele, freestyling his lyrics to find out more about her. When a train passes, she disappears and our dejected hero sits down ... only to be joined moments later by the girl. The world is happy again and Match tells us: 'We make these moments happen every day'.
Match has stumbled on the secret formula of making a romcom it's OK for men to like, and it's done it while swimming in dangerous waters. A cool guy successfully showing off to impress a girl could easily have been a Hoxtonised version of Jacob's Creek's infamous 'True character' ad.
This not only works, it borders on greatness: everything is so tonally perfect. The guy is handsome but not a model, scruffy yet presentable, confident but not cocky, talented but not annoyingly so. We're willing him to succeed. Even the filming is so understated but beautiful that we can forgive a little voice-overkill.
By taking us away from the basic functional interface of the computer and focusing on the power of human connections, the ad leaves us with an overwhelming desire for such a moment to happen to us.
It also lets Match take online dating advertising to a new level of sophistication while delivering a believable message to the audience, who will feel that online dating is a natural, enjoyable and accessible way to meet new people they might like, without the traditional stigma.
It's a lovely ad that leaves me with such a great feeling toward Match that it seems pedantic to find fault. But if I were single again (sorry Julia), I'd like to know why Match.com is different to newer, shinier options.
The website reveals a free-to-download smartphone app that could easily have been highlighted at the end of the ad's story, so I could start using Match without even having to leave my seat.
|Adwatch (August 24): Top 20 recall|
|1||(–)||Cancer Research UK||Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO/MediaCom||46|
|2||(–)||Kellogg's Crunchy Nut Corn Flakes||Leo Burnett/Carat||42|
|3=||(–)||Asda||Saatchi & Saatchi/Carat||40|
|5=||(–)||Tesco||The Red Brick Road/Initiative||39|
|7=||(–)||Marks & Spencer||RKCR Y&R/Walker Media||37|
|10=||(–)||Aldi||McCann Erickson Manchester/Universal McCann Manchester||30|
|10=||(–)||McDonald's||Leo Burnett/OMD UK||30|
|13=||(–)||Lloyds TSB||RKCR Y&R/MEC||29|
|15=||(–)||Subway||McCann Erickson/MediaCom Scotland||27|
|15=||(–)||KFC||Bartle Bogle Hegarty/Walker Media||27|
|17=||(–)||Currys & PC World||M&C Saatchi/Walker Media||26|
|17=||(–)||Alpecin Shampoo||driven/MediaCom North||26|
|19||(–)||Burger King||Open & Partners/Initiative||23|
|20||(–)||Regaine||BBDO New York/Carat||21|