On the VH1 reality series “Tough Love", the show’s host Steve Ward attempts to help a group of eight single women finds "the one" by scrutinizing their nasty dating habits and submerging them into the dating pool. To promote the new season of “Tough Love", drive viewers to the show and connect with fans in a new way, VH1 launched the Facebook application within its pre-existing “Tough Love" Facebook page called “Ditch or Date." The app aims to "make people winners for dating losers," by allowing users to share their best and worst dating stories, and vote on whether another person should "Ditch" or "Date" their suitor. The main idea was that even the worst date can have a happy ending. Each week, VH1 chose 5-8 stories deserving of a “Happy Ending." Depending on the horror story, VH1 tried to match it with a prize. For example, Dr. Dre Monster Beats headphones block out the noise from a bad date. Or Ugg slippers send the message: “no more cold feet. Just ask him out already!" Each week, Steve selected his favorite story and recorded a video response. Steve also commented on stories, generating a personal experience for the show’s fans and Facebook community. The grand winner was awarded a walk on role in the latest season of “Tough Love." VH1 used a number of different platforms and strategic partnerships to promote the Ditch or Date app (and in turn, “Tough Love.) Within its own properties, VH1 used on-air promos and banner ads on VH1.com. VH1 also relied heavily on social media to promote Ditch or Date, namely on the “Tough Love" Twitter and Facebook accounts. Steve Ward used his own personal Twitter (@StevenBWard) and Facebook accounts. Outlets outside of social media helped to drive Ditch or Date awareness, traffic and entries. People were interested in their peers’ dating experiences and excited to read personal replies from a well-known and respected dating expert. Throughout the campaign, women and men posted 1,000 unique personal stories. It’s important to note that these weren’t just one or three sentence blurbs, either: they were full horror stories. And because approximately 10,000 voted, VH1 felt there was clearly camaraderie that the participants felt by sharing and reading these stories. Results from press totaled 10M from social media, 144M from news coverage, and 4.5M from VH1’s partnerships with Zagat and Shecky’s. The number of “Likes" on the show’s Facebook page increased from 59,000 to 104,000—a growth of 40% from the introduction of “Ditch or Date" to Facebook.
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