I have been amusing myself recently over an advertising campaign by a dating web site which (as they all do) claims to be the biggest and most successful in the world. Their posters are in all the major cities and have a standard format: a single person in a plain, head and shoulders shot, smiling slightly, looking at the camera. Nothing spectacular. And then there is the single line of text: every eleven minutes a single falls in love.
Now, you can read this in several ways, and this is undoubtedly what the makers of this advertising campaign are counting on. The idea, of course, is that you read into this single line that every eleven minutes a person using their site falls in love. This is, of course, difficult to prove or disprove, but could be dangerous when it comes to standards and ethics. So it doesn’t actually say a person using the site is falling in love; the viewer must assume it.
Photo Source: txmx2 – Creative Commons
This assumption is what sells the site. It is a pay site, as are all dating sites, no matter what they may claim. You want the information someone has freely given to us, you pay for it. Clearly this business plan works, street advertising is not inexpensive. Whether someone is falling in love with a real person, a fake profile or a lovebot – and I do not mean the toy – is another matter entirely. And, in case you’re interested, there is a petition against the toy. It could well be that there is nothing behind the profile attracting a person’s affections at all, other than a means of making money.
What amuses me, though, is another connotation of this single line of advertising text. The idea that a single is falling in love, but only a single. There is no reciprocation. It does not say that two people fall in love with one another, merely that someone has seen the profile of someone else and fallen in love with that profiled person. All in all very sad and, I guess, also very frustrating. Still, it all depends on how an individual reads that line of text. I read it and smile, perhaps because of the unlikelihood of there being a successful outcome, perhaps because, when it comes to online dating services and their true rates of success, I have a more realistic grasp of life.
- Viktoria Michaelis.