This one, ladies and gentlemen, will go down in the annals of advertising. This is no “Somewhere west of Laramie,” shifting ads from lists of attributes into colorful panoramas conjuring experience, but then ask yourself — when was the last time someone signed up to follow the Tumblr of an instant message spammer?
Vince Mak and Colby Spear are students at the Miami Ad School. Their project was simple: to create a successful campaign to raise awareness about men’s health. June being Men’s Health Month, the duo launched a profile on the hookup app Tinder — but it wasn’t for either one of them. The profile features a brunette with girl-next-door charm and a huge smile on her face. Her name is Nurse Nicole. The mission of her profile is to turn conversations from the sexy into the healthy.
Mak and Colby take turns responding to droves of interested men and the results of their chats are at times surreal and hilarious. And they’re all chronicled in a Tumblelog for our personal entertainment.
“Steering the conversations towards men’s health was a fun challenge for us,” Spear told Boston.com. “As a copywriter, I regularly have to think of funny lines for ideas, and Vince is just always a witty guy. We thought of responses to the pick up lines on the fly.”
As ThinkProgress points out, this isn’t the first time people have used profiles on hookup sites for a good cause. Since 2012, San Mateo County health workers have been creating fake profiles on the gay hookup app Grindr to encourage users to get tested for HIV and STIs. In March, prevention supervisor told the Bay Area Reporter that for a community that, unlike San Francisco to the north, has few venues for outreach to be focused such as gay bars and community centers, apps like Grindr have been extremely helpful.
Like Nurse Nicole, these profiles don’t initiate conversations, but waited for other users to message them. Once that happened, staff manning the accounts quickly explained what they were up to. According to Lampkin, 79 percent of those who had interaction with the fake Grindr profiles choose to remain engaged in conversation even after staff made their motives for being there known. He stressed there had been very “few” negative reactions.
Lampkin doesn’t think there is anything unethical about using Grindr in this way. When contacted, a Grindr spokesman released a statement strongly suggesting that this type of usage was in violation of their terms of service: “we do not allow paid or pro-bono advertising within user profiles. In our experience, we found that the most effective approach is in partnering with organizations to educate users via events and targeted messaging rather than through Grindr profiles.”
Header image by Jeanie.