Tinder approaches an Evolving Indian Society
Tinder approaches an evolving Indian Society, but rather cautiously. When matrimony sites like shaadi.com and bharatmatrimony first launched in India, the first thing they did was to seek the approval of the parents of the bride or groom. They were quick to realise that the parents would be the biggest hurdle to acceptance of a marriage being done outside the purview of the traditional Indian arranged marriage system.
After all, an external agent like a matrimony website, threatens to particularly replace the role of the mother of the bride or the groom. And arranging the wedding of her children is a must cherished dream that the Indian mother has been longing for, ever since she first became a mother.
So the early ads for shaadi.com always had a mother or a father either secretly or reluctantly giving approval to this new method of finding one’s life partner.
Even the recent commercials of shaadi.com potray the difficulty that parents go through to understand the minds of their young children. This commercial from 2 years ago for example, shows the predicament of the father who seeks the advice of an advisor from shaadi.com
In other words showing empathy with the parents and their difficulties is one way for the brand to come closer to overcoming their most difficult hurdle. Showing empathy with the gate-keeper has been a ploy that has been used for generations, for any category where the challenge is to modify attitudes.
Then shaadi.com went on to cross the second hurdle. The stigma of match making a divorcee or widow or a widower with secondshaadi.com. Even a more difficult task, since any one getting into their second marriage is faced with a huge amount of social stigma from Indian Society at large. The old, traditional way to do it was to lead the life of a martyr, without getting married again. But times have changed.
Again portraying a buy-in from the mother and father of the bride became a key part of the TV commercial for what was appropriately branded secondshaadi.com. Lets take a look at this 8 year old commercial.
Tinder follows a Proven Formula for India
So enter Tinder. By now Indian society has evolved from arranged marriages to matrimony sites, from hiding from society because of failed marriages to actively seeking a second marriage through a matrimony site, and being brave and open about it.
It almost seems like the last goal-post in this breaking down of traditional cultural norms is to make Indian society more acceptable and open to their children dating like in the West.
While there has been a lot of critiscim of the Tinder ad by Indian intellectuals calling it a ‘sanskar overload’ , I think Tinder is going absolutely the right away. By portraying that the Tinder app has met the approval of the mother, is an important step.
In an interview with afaqs.com Tinder’s Kapoor says, “Our intention is to start a conversation about the future of dating in India… we’re seeing a cultural shift towards openness when discussing (these topics)…”
This is stark contrast to the US advertising which is all about providing wide choice and a good fit for the person who is looking for a date.
According a report towards end 2015, Tinder is supposed to have witnessed a 400% increase in downloads in India during 2015, and women were more active in using the application than men.
“We are truly excited about the rapid adoption of Tinder in India…women particularly seem to love Tinder, sending more Super Likes than men each week, which is incredibly empowering,” Tinder’s India head Taru Kapoor told afaqs.com.
One estimate says that Indians were sending one million ‘super likes’ per week on the application, with women being more active in sending the ‘super likes’. Of course Tinder was not willing to reveal what the base was on which they were seeing this tremendous growth.
There can be no doubt that now, Indian society at large, has to take this major step in breaking tradition and prodding cultural change, on the evolving nature of human relationships in our society. And every major step change has been under the watchful eye of the mother/parent who endorses this change.
So for Tinder it may neither be a swipe to the left or to the right, but a swipe up if all goes well with the current advertising