Everyone at some point in their life has known the #singlelife. It’s a right of passage. And everyone is too familiar with the plethora of dating apps, that either we’ve tried out personally or witnessed from friends.  

But what not everyone knows is the genius low-cost guerrilla Marketing done by one of these dating apps, which led to a $2.5B market cap. 

Marketing Bestie let’s dive in, it’ll bee (foreshadowing ) well worth your time.
At the end of 2014, Whitney Wolf Herd was bouncing back from a messy split as Co-Founder of Tinder. 

That’s when she decided to pack up her things and move to Austin, Texas (ATX BABYYYY). The mastermind behind Tinder’s unprecedented growth, but often overlooked, Herd felt she had something to prove.

She was scrappy, determined, and a damn good Marketer. With Andrey Andreev by her side, Whitney founded her own dating app, Bumble. Starting from zero, Whitney was tasked with getting Bumble in front of as many eyes as possible.

And she did this through seeding curiosity.
Where Bumble lacked budget, they made up for in scrappiness. From the jump Whitney knew who she wanted using her product, young women and men, specifically college students. 

So she went right to the source, college campuses. She began hanging up signs all across campus that said “No Instagram, No Facebook, No Snapchat, and No Bumble”, as if the University was implementing these new rules. 

Now would these signs actually stop students from sending Snapchats to their crush during class, no in fact they did the opposite.
These signs tapped into psychological reactance. As humans when we feel our freedoms are being inhibited, our natural reaction is anger and rebellion. If we’re told not to do something, that is a surefire way to get people to do that thing. 

The University is saying I can’t use Bumble? Well it looks like I’m going to figure out what Bumble is and then use it. In tandem with using psychology, this scrappy tactic seeded curiosity.
Students saw this sign and were like, what the h*ll is Bumble? And why is it being mentioned in the same sentence as Facebook and Snapchat? 

What ensued after this initial effort was one of the wisest, highly-targeted, low-cost guerilla Marketing efforts I have ever witnessed.
Whitney hired a group of young women and men and put them in bright yellow Bumble shirts. 

Then she would have these students walk into classes 10-15 minutes late, and say oops wrong room, interrupting lecture. 

All eyes in the room would be focused on this “student” and their bright yellow Bumble t-shirt as they interrupted class. That was touchpoint number 2, this is what we call a master at work. GENIUS.
Now, touchpoint number 3 really brought it all together.  Meme culture is larger than ever.

Highly prevalent on college campuses, Whitney realized an opportunity to be a first mover and speak her target audience’s language in a profound way. So, Whitney and Bumble approached meme pages and offered to pay for sponsored memes on various accounts. 

They were so early to the game that most of these meme accounts were like, “What?! You’ll pay us to post a meme??” Within 2 years the same accounts they would pay $100 for a sponsored meme, were now charging hundreds of thousands of dollars for sponsored memes.
Whitney and Bumble ushered in a new era of Marketing. 

First banned on campus with the likes of IG and Snapchat, then their merch being worn by students acting as walking billboards across campus, and finally appearing across their target audience’s favorite meme pages, Whitney built an aura around Bumble that made it appear larger than its extremely tiny team.  

Which ultimately played a huge factor in credibility. Within one year of launching, Bumble had over 80 million matches. The success continued and ultimately led to an IPO in February 2021. 

This was one of those campaigns that makes all of us Marketers question if we are thinking big and bold enough. I love it.
Daniel Murray
Daniel Murray
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