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Battling the Scourge of 'Bachelorism'

Match.com Moves Away From Serious Tone of Recent 'Dr. Phil' Ads

By Published on .

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Pizza-box furniture, cereal dinners, sporadic high-fiving -- all are symptoms of "bachelorism," a pretend illness that Match.com is tackling in an awareness campaign of sorts beginning today.

An ad in People magazine's annual hottest bachelor issue, set to hit New York newsstands today, implores readers to "Join the fight against bachelorism," while teams of anti-bachelorism "activists" will hit the streets of New York and Dallas, Texas, today and tomorrow with free T-shirts, orange awareness bracelets and informative pamphlets driving consumers to the campaign's microsite, bachelorism.org.

Hoping for viral hit
Facetious online banner ads are on the way, and, while a campaign's viral success is never certain, the entertaining treatment of a resonant issue -- for some guys, anyway -- was specially designed to spread online naturally.

The idea for the campaign came from Match.com's creative agency of record, Hanft Raboy & Partners. Hanft is credited with the success of Match's recent "Mind Find Bind" campaign, which featured relationship insights from psychologist and talk-show host Phil McGraw.

"It's a great way to engage fence-sitters," said Doug Raboy, Hanft Raboy managing partner and creative director. By "fence-sitters," Raboy was referring to singles who have yet to join Match, but could be persuaded to with the right mix of encouragement and cajoling. By Match's estimate, there are currently 41 million bachelors living in the U.S.

Upped spending in February
The cheekiness of Match's bachelorism campaign is a departure from its more earnest message of late. Responding to competition from rival eHarmony.com, Match announced plans in February, 2005 to spend $25 million repositioning itself as being more serious about relationships. And from January to October 2005, Match.com spent $19 million in media, according to TNS Media Intelligence. At about the same time, Match launched a weekly online dating magazine, Happen Magazine, edited by former Cosmopolitan and Redbook Executive Editor Janet Siroto.

A Match.com spokeswoman said the site is not suffering from a dearth of male members, and that membership is evenly balanced between both sexes.
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