Swipe, swipe, Bud Light.
Tinder, the red-hot dating app from media powerhouse IAC, ran its maiden paid video ads on Thursday. App users surfing for, um, interlocutors -- they swipe right or left, the increasingly popular mobile navigation scheme that Tinder helped explode -- will now possibly encouter a mobile video spot for Bud Light's "Whatever USA" campaign. The two companies are testing various video lengths for the ads.
Anheuser-Busch Inbev is entering the second year of a big digital push for the brand's splashy marketing stunt. Last summer, it orchestrated a surprise takeover of a town to be christened Whatever, USA, letting consumers compete on social media to win an invitation to a boozy party there. (The winner, Crested Butte, Colo, was not altogether pleased.) Tinder users (of drinking age) can, once they hit the Bud Light spots, move to a landing page and enter to win admission to the brand's destination this summer.
Surely, Bud Light will soon brag about how many Tinder couples met (or had a rendezvous) in Whatever, USA.
Tinder has flirted with brands before. In January, the IAC-owned company inked a deal with Gillette for research money, not ads. TV shows, like Fox's "The Mindy Project," have run promotions on the app, building faux profiles of its lead characters. At the recent South by Southwest, DNA Films ran a similar push for "Ex Machina," its film debuting at the festival. But the production studios and dating app company said those executions were unpaid.
They were also designed to look like the dating profiles on the app. Bud Light's ads, interruptive video units, are not -- and Tinderers will be unlikely to confuse them with a potential mate.
Still, the app has loads of data potential for an ad business. It requires users to give their age, gender and location, and is linked with Facebook's social log-in. In March, Tinder named Chris Payne, the former North American senior VP at eBay, as its CEO, following the messy departure of its founding executive.