An awkward ‘Hi’ message, looking for something casual only to find someone serious, and eggplants – both emojis and the less PG versions – are all horror scenarios that dating app users are all too familiar with. In its newest campaign, dating app Badoo shows us that these experiences can be avoided, and with comedic flair.
In a set of videos made for the European market, Badoo explores these sometimes terrible scenarios while showing how their app combats this with handy filters, questions and specifications. Shot in Sofia, Bulgaria, the spot feels relatable within the market and captures the audience with a sense of humour that, if you’ve been on dating apps, you can’t help but laugh along with. The quartet of 15-second, 30-second and 60-second vignettes were directed by Sami Abusamra and have a “smart, grown-up visual humour” which directly falls in line with the app’s tone.
Untold Fable’s head of editorial and creative Mo Bruce and Badoo’s global head of creative Luke Crisell told LBB’s Nisna Mahtani about how a harmonious collaboration made for a smooth process.
LBB> Tell us about Badoo. What makes it different from the other dating apps and how were you keen to show this difference?
Mo & Luke> Negative dating app experiences are so prevalent in our culture that you’ll likely know all about them even if you’ve never tried to meet someone online. Fake profiles, unsolicited imagery, mismatched intentions, doomswiping… It’s a subgenre of negativity all its own. Online dating is a lot of work and who wants more of that? Dating shouldn't be hard work, it should be fun. And that’s what makes Badoo different, it’s designed to help daters actually enjoy dating—whatever that means for them. For that reason asense of fun and playfulness had to be integral to how we told these stories.
LBB> What were the initial discussions around the ‘Let’s Fix Dating’ campaign and what did Badoo want to achieve?
Mo & Luke> Badoo is one of the world’s biggest dating apps, but its awareness levels vary, market to market. Led by the brand’s global creative team, the project aim was to create content that spoke to daters everywhere by identifying behaviour unique to dating apps and juxtaposing it into real life. Then we showcased how Badoo’s features are specifically designed to counter these behaviours. We had a few sessions scripting and working through the scenarios that would bring them to life, being mindful of the nuances of dating behaviour in our various markets.
LBB> Where were the videos shot and how long did it take to create them?
Mo & Luke> We wanted the content to connect with daters in multiple markets authentically, so that meant choosing locations and backdrops that didn’t feel recognisably tied to any one country. Shooting in Sofia, Bulgaria, gave us so many options while being efficient in terms of budget.
LBB> The aubergine scene is such a fantastic example of visual storytelling. How did you use existing data to inform the direction and storyline of each campaign video?
Mo & Luke> It’s one of our favourites, too! We wanted to call out something that most (unfortunately data tells us that it is most) online daters have experienced, but do so in a comedic way that, again, could connect with everyone, perhaps even those who send the pics? Data and research is the reason Badoo is designed the way it is, with features to fix dating, so it made sense for the same data and research to lead each of the scenarios.
LBB> How did you ensure that each of the videos worked harmoniously together and what were some of the techniques you kept in mind?
Mo & Luke> Badoo and Untold Fable are a good match—one of the reasons the work feels harmonious is because we worked harmoniously together. Luke [Crisell] and his team came up with the initial idea, and we worked together collaboratively to bring the stories to life. Of course, having the right director is essential. Untold Fable’s mission is to increase diversity in production and that’s something Badoo is equally passionate about. We were thrilled when comedy director Sami Abusamra came onboard. In the wrong hands, stories like the aubergine vignette could have felt slapstick, but we think you can see Sami’s smart, grown-up visual humour running throughout the work.
LBB> The copy summed up each scene so perfectly, did you create the video around the copy or vice versa? Talk us through the process.
Mo & Luke> We developed all the scenes at once, getting them to a good place, before working on the copy (although it was always bubbling away—special shout out to Badoo’s Georgia Healey). It gets back to keeping things harmonious, when you can stand back and look at a whole series at once it’s easier to see if it feels like a set. With no dialogue, the visual storytelling has to work very hard.
LBB> When it came to editing, were there any challenges in keeping each video within the 15-second, 30-second and 60-second vignette timescale?
Mo & Luke> We had the edits in mind from the beginning, so we never felt like we were slashing a long story into a lesser version. Keeping the scenes simple really helped this, too. We challenged ourselves and tested the work as we went to make sure it would land in the time given.