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AdStand: Love and dating in the age of algorith

Naresh Gupta, Managing Partner and Chief Strategy Officer, Bang in the Middle, takes a look at how changing demographics in India are bringing about a dramatic change in the world of dating and mating

AdStand: Love and dating in the age of algorithm

Naresh Gupta, Managing Partner and Chief Strategy Officer, Bang in the Middle, takes a look at how changing demographics in India are bringing about a dramatic change in the world of dating and mating

Delhi | September 9, 2015

Adstand by Naresh Gupta

There is a quiet little demographic change in India that has almost gone unnoticed. This change in demography is leading to a dramatic change in the oldest institution of India – marriage.

The change in demographics is the female population, their falling birth rate, their changing educational standards and their joining the workforce.

Today, according to Census of India, there are 52 per cent males to 48 per cent females. It may look insignificant, but the fact is that there are more males in the society compared to females. In the marriageable 18-year plus age band, this difference gets sharper.

The second point is the increasing ratio of working women to non-working women in the overall population. Aided by higher literacy rates, more and more women in India are joining the workforce and becoming financially independent. The growth in the number of women entering the workforce is twice that of men, and the faster growth rate will mean an even greater number of working women in the coming years.

The third and possibly the most telling factor is that women are now placing greater importance on their career then on marriage. In a research we did in 2003, we heard a quarter of women in their early 20s saying ‘career matters most’.

Today, there are fewer women than men, there are fewer women to choose from for men and the number reduces further as women have become choosier than men.

The rise of algorithm-based dating apps may be a function of this change in demographics. Three of them recently broke new campaigns and all three of them have nuanced takes on this changing demographic trend.

Bharat Matrimony is a pure play old world matrimony match making site. Marriage is not by chance, but by choice is the strong promise they make. The brand speaks from the bride’s perspective consistently. In the latest commercial, it doesn’t even show the process of match making, but builds on what happens when the girl finds a caring, understanding and sensitive partner. It’s a neat little way of putting the prospective bride on a pedestal. Bharat Matrimony celebrates the act of wedding and all the ups and downs that come with it, in a context that is modern and contemporary. This is the case of the brand trying to stay in touch with the changing times.

Contrast this to the new campaign from TrulyMadly is not a matrimonial site, it is not about the parents, it is not about searching for the right partner for matrimony, it is about searching for the right partner. Everything that matrimony sites are, match making sites aren’t. Boy Browsing, as they call it, turns the entire dating game portrayed in advertising on its head. Till yesterday, if at all the ads showcased a girl checking out the boy, it was done in a coy, shy manner with a sly smile and sly glances. TrulyMadly steps out and celebrates a behaviour that exists but has never been portrayed. The rules of dating are clearly visible here; will it lead to girls being ‘unsingle’ is another matter.

Woo, another dating app, builds a very different tale. Woo tells the tale of a classic love story that Bollywood has always celebrated. Two strangers are thrown together by chance and they cross each other many times not knowing that they are meant to be together till fate crosses paths and they fall in love.  Woo is clear in its proposition – it’s about matchmaking, it is serious and wants the relationship to last. Like Bharat Matrimony and TrulyMadly, Woo too looks at the world of dating through a woman’s eyes. The Woo ad has shades of, though the ad is seen more from a boy’s perspective.

The world of dating and mating is changing as displayed by these ads. Changing demographics is bound to drive this change deeper. Time for boys to look beyond the Axe Effect.

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