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Bumble's brand sentiments plummet following outrage over anti-celibacy ads

Bumble's brand sentiments plummet following outrage over anti-celibacy ads

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Online dating app Bumble's sentiments have plummeted from 38.7% positive and 11.7% negative to 2.2% positive and 77.4% negative after its ads faced public outrage over its anti-celibacy messaging, according to media intelligence firm CARMA.

The ads featured OOH billboard activations with the phrases “a vow of celibacy is not the answer” and “thou shalt not give up on dating and become a nun” to introduce the newly refreshed Bumble, as seen by MARKETING-INTERACTIVE.

Don't miss: Bumble refreshes brand, launches new conversational features

However, the ads were accused of being not inclusive to those who shared that celibacy is a choice and the only answer to the asexual community for whom celibacy has a particular meaning and importance.

Individuals have also shared with Bumble that celibacy may be brought on by harm or trauma, according to a statement by the brand on Instagram.

Following the incident, Bumble's word cloud which previously featured words such as "popular", "excellent" and "genuine" later shifted to words such as "celibacy", "concerns" and "violence".

Bumble has since apologised for its celibacy ads and have begun removing them.

“Women’s experiences are at the centre of what we do at Bumble. As part of our recent marketing campaign, we included an ad with language around celibacy as a response to the frustrations of dating,” said a Bumble spokesperson in conversation with MARKETING-INTERACTIVE.

“We have heard the concerns shared about the ad’s language and understand that rather than highlighting a current sentiment towards dating, it may have had a negative impact on some of our community,” it explained. “This was not our intention, and we are in the process of removing it from our marketing campaign and will continue to listen to the feedback from our members.”

In response, Bumble will be donating to the National Domestic Violence Hotline and offer partners the billboard space to display an ad of their choice for the duration of its reserved billboard time.

The partners include organisations who support women, marginalised communities and those impacted by abuse.

“We made a mistake. Our ads referencing celibacy were an attempt to lean into a community frustrated by modern dating, and instead of bringing joy and humour, we unintentionally did the opposite,” said the statement.

“For years, Bumble has passionately stood up for women and marginalised communities and their right to fully exercise personal choice. We didn’t live up to these values with this campaign and we apologise for the harm it caused,” the statement further added.

News of Bumble's fumble with the anti-celibacy ads comes a few weeks after it unveiled a refreshed visual identity and a new global campaign, underscoring the company’s continued commitment to making dating better for women.

The campaign coincides with the dating app expanding upon its signature 'make the first move' functionality with the launch of 'opening moves'.

Join us on 12 June 2024 for an exciting experience as Content360 makes its debut in Malaysia! Brace yourself to join the crème de la crème of the content marketing industry hailing from across the region. Immerse yourself in a dynamic atmosphere, and uncover the latest trends with thought leaders and solution providers from the realm of content.

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