Link: Not Yet
A standard testimonial ad for eHarmony takes a surprising turn when Nate Marriner proposes on-camera to Angela Stizza. The spot was proposed to eHarmony by Mr. Marriner, who should now have his hands full for awhile.
eHarmony has done a good job of taking what was a very niche product, focused at the evangelical Christian community and broadening its appeal without changing the essential character of the offering. eHarmony is positioned as the “serious dating” service. The premise – and it’s a good one – is that a lot of what happens on other dating sites is a mismatch between women looking for ‘Mr. Right’ and men looking for ‘Ms. Right Now’. eHarmony gets around this with high monthly fees and an intensive questionairre that matches on 29 areas of compatibility. This is the permission to believe for the basic brand premise – finding someone who shares basic values and key beliefs will create a better match.
eHarmony has created a good truth point with “29 Areas of Compatibility” and most of the radio and tv spots they run do a good job of reinforcing this. Using Dr. Neil Clark Warren, a grandfatherly figure much like Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas gives the brand a friendly, approachable face and positions the brand to be more genuine than competitors like Match.com. This is particularly important given the essentially anonymous nature of contacts on the Internet.
What works about this particular spot?
- A suprising moment is memorable - yes, it is a cliche, but the on-camera proposal works here because you can see that Angela is surprised and Nate has a moment where he is not sure if she is going to say yes (we’ll have to assume we wouldn’t have seen the spot if her answer was ‘no’).
- Consistency with the brand positioning - even though this spot diverges from earlier formats, the tonality, camera work and brand identification keep it consistent with the brand positioning and ownable for the brand.
- eHarmony takes a risk - This spot is a risk because the implied promise won’t materialize for all their customers. But the genuineness of this spot in particular makes it a good bet. eHarmony realizes – more than their competitors – that they are selling a dream and that the way to sell it is to give the average person a fair reason to think it might come true (29 areas of compatibility).
eHarmony’s better matching through science strategy can be copied. They need to keep a sharp eye on the horizon and start to build some validation for their method. When a competitor claims to have a better matching method, eHarmony needs to show that they really have locked on to the better way to match people. There’s an attempt to do this now by pointing to the number of marriages that have come from the service, but this is patently unscientific. eHarmony needs to ensure that when asked, psychologists, clergy and marriage counselors say ‘eHarmony is doing it right – they have the best method.’ It might be strange to think of this cateory in terms of professional endorsement, but that day is coming quickly.
Branding Bottom Line -
eHarmony listens to a consumer and gets a great spot in the bargain.