Through extensive research Bumble uncovered a troubling problem — that women want to put themselves out there, but their fear of being vulnerable to abuse, scams, fake profiles is holding them back. 57 percent of women believe dating apps aren’t a safe place to meet people, and 56 percent of women dating app users have been sent unwanted sexually explicit content. Historically, Bumble focused its marketing efforts on raising brand awareness. But Bumble has something none of its competitors do — a mission to help create a world where all relationships are healthy and equitable, concrete values of inclusivity, trust and respect, and proprietary in-app tools and resources that allow women to take control of their dating journey. The goal was to position Bumble as the number one app for trust and safety. To highlight all the ways in which Bumble helps put women in control of the dating journey, and to combat the antiquated norms that had tainted the dating pool.
Our strategic process started with having conversations with Gen Z/Millennial daters. We conducted online ethnographies and interviews to get a fuller picture of the modern dating experience. We also scoured the internet and dove into the wealth of negative dating stories, memes, podcasts and documentaries to get an even fuller picture of the problem. Finally, we conducted an audit to better understand the current relationships and safety perceptions daters hold toward our main competitors in the dating app industry vs. us.
Our research revealed an overwhelming sense of toxicity in dating culture that have resulted in a growing sense of burnout and loneliness amongst our audience. Daters, particularly those identifying as women/LGBTQIA+ faced a litany of bad experiences regularly. Lewd photos, crude conversations and the general fatigue from the high volume of swipes and chatting had sucked the joy out of dating. What was more interesting though, was that these bad experiences were so prevalent that most had come to see this as a way of life, an unfortunate reality of the modern dating playbook. This led us to our insight: Dating can feel like a competitive sport where women always play defense.
All this led to a breakthrough creative idea that we called The New Rules of the Game.
Dating apps are like a sport with a complicated rulebook. Don’t text back for three days. Let him make the first move. Dick pics come with the territory. We’re not about that. We reclaimed sports metaphors to talk about dating in an empowered way. Showing how Bumble’s safety tools let you play the game by your rules.
To do this, Bumble launched, “The New Rules of the Game” a national CTV, OLV and social media campaign led by three hero spots featuring women making the rules of their own dating game. But Bumble didn’t stop there. Bumble’s policy team helped pass a California bill AND a bill in Virginia effectively prohibiting cyberflashing, the unsolicited sending of lewd photos or videos. In support, we created social-forward video content and took over high-impact print ads in the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times to celebrate and spread awareness.
To bring our commitment to safety IRL, Bumble partnered with birdie to distribute almost 1500 personal safety alarms to college students and athletes to give them additional peace of mind, and a tool to keep them safe while walking around campus. We also released a version of Bumble's private detector mode on GitHub so other companies can use our image classifier technology to reduce cyberflashing on their platforms by automatically detecting and blurring lewd images. Ultimately working in tandem with the wider tech community to make the internet a safer place.
The work led to improved perceptions of Bumble's commitment to member safety and support across safety concerns.
Executive performance summary: