Why Tinder’s insane Twitter rant was a stroke of PR brilliance

The internet is abuzz with Tinder’s crazed rant on a Vanity Fair article.

If you haven't yet heard, here's the gist.

This nicely written piece by  journalist Nancy Jo Sales for Vanity Fair first surfaced, singling out Tinder for the downward spiral of modern dating culture.

It looks like Tinder spotted a great opportunity and its social media manager went on a crazed rant against the poor reporter. Yes, a rant that got significant coverage by global press and here’s a quick rundown to start with: Fortune, Wired, TechCrunch, Bloomberg, Yahoo, Fast Company, The New York Times, The Telegraph, and not to mention several other national pubs. A dream come true for any PR person it seems.

It looks like the worst thing to do, for a brand to “lose it" on social media.

But while maintaining a nicely put together corporate image is unquestionable for most brands, what's a nicely put together brand image to Tinder? I'd say it doesn't need it.  No stranger to controversy, what’s a little tantrum to the brand?

And it appears this “rant” has all the right messaging you need to convince the public to keep on swiping on its platform – or start, if you’re a single (or not) looking for a little love or a hook-up.

Take a look:


And not to mention one telling sign of intent - tipping off journalists. Here's a tweet by a Buzzfeed reporter: 

Staged, but still perfect

PR and social media experts say that this was staged is only too obvious.

“As soon as I saw this I thought it was a PR stunt as it was too much too late. Why wait a week to respond? Why respond with 30 tweets, not ask for a right of reply in Vanity Fare itself?” asked Chris Reed, founder of Black Marketing Asia.

“It's Uniqlo all over again. Sex sells. The media love any kind of sex story,” said Reed. And Reed agrees that Tinder has the kind of image you just can’t damage anyway. “It's hardly a blue chip brand. It's like saying that you can damage the AshleyMadison.com brand or Grinder brand or the plethora of other sex app brands which do the same thing. You can't. They're a means to an end. They're almost a utility brand. Who loves them?” he said. “In this context all PR is good PR,” he said.

“Why else would you tip off a journalist that a premeditated (tweet) storm is coming?” said Mylinh Cheung, founder of Epic PR. She pointed out the messaging in the tweets were all nicely aligned and “well-crafted in its impetuous tone.” She also agrees that the rant nicely helped correct inaccurate perceptions from the Vanity Fair article, while drawing global attention. “I would give it bonus points for being able to link its activation to a well established and respected publication like VF as part of the tweet storm narrative. Also, it played to the millennial generation that is one of the main audiences using Tinder by showcasing that it has a voice, that the brand is its own media channel and standing up to traditional media players,” said Cheung.

Carolyn Camoens, regional vice president, SE Asia, Waggener Edstrom did say it was hard to tell if it was a PR stunt, but said that it was probably more important to see who Tinder was really targeting to reach with the rant: “If you look at some of those tweets in isolation, they do tick the boxes of what makes a tweet retweet-worthy. “The ability to meet people outside of your closed circle in this world is an immensely powerful thing.” That’s the kind of thing a Tinder user may feel compelled to re-tweet in validation.”

“No doubt in this instance, the ‘Twitter storm’ did raise a few eyebrows, but let’s not forget that Tinder is in itself not a conservative brand. Therefore, while some of us may wonder if that’s really how you should manage a perceived attack on your brand, it’s worth asking who Tinder was really trying to speak to,” said Camoens.