Brand Strategy

Melissa Hobley puts her touch on Tinder’s first global brand campaign

The campaign is focused on activism and inclusion, two things that Hobley also incorporated into her work while CMO of OkCupid.
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Illustration: Francis Scialabba, Photos: OkCupid, Tinder, Melissa Hobley

· 4 min read

Melissa Hobley isn’t afraid to take a stance. As CMO of OkCupid, she oversaw some of the company’s most memorable campaigns (remember “DTF”?) as well as efforts to champion LGBTQ+ inclusivity and abortion rights.

Last August, Hobley switched gears within Match Group, which owns over 45 different online dating brands, and left her post of more than five years to become CMO of Tinder.

Now, she’s overseeing the dating app’s first global brand campaign—one that, similar to her work at OkCupid, aims to reposition Tinder in a bold and inclusive manner.

New app, who dis?

Since taking over Tinder’s marketing, Hobley has traveled to more than 12 countries across the globe, meeting team members and laying the groundwork for “It Starts With a Swipe.” The campaign, which went live last week, aims to redefine the app as more than a meeting place for hookups.

Within two weeks of starting her new role, Hobley said she “had to totally shed [her] last experience.” But some ideas weren’t worth shedding altogether: The creative for the “Swipe” campaign, full of colorful images and dreamlike photography, is in some ways reminiscent of campaigns Hobley oversaw at OkCupid.


When asked if she considers bright, vivid campaigns to be part of her own personal brand, Hobley acknowledged her love of color, but said she’s mostly driven by the stories behind the ads and making people feel good.

“You have to put that work in to give me something beautiful I want to look at,” Hobley said. “That’s the cool and fun challenge here, adding to how people think of Tinder today.”

For “It Starts With a Swipe,” Hobley’s team worked with hybrid photo-digital artist Pol Kurucz and the agency Mischief, which became Tinder’s agency of record in 2021 and also worked on OKCupid’s “VILF” campaign in 2020.

Creating taglines for the campaign, ranging from “realizing you’re not dead inside” to finding “someone to save the planet with,” was a collaborative effort with the agency, Hobley said, with “someone who gets your FYP” dreamed up by a team member in Australia.

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Like the team that wrote the taglines, the distribution of the campaign is also international, with creative running on streaming platforms and social media, plus out-of-home (OOH) in the US, UK, Germany, France, Spain, Australia, and Brazil.

“I love out-of-home,” Hobley told us, adding that she thinks it adds something “sticky” that can resonate with people and create conversation—especially among Gen Z, the target demo for this campaign. Whether those conversations resonate with the agencies like the MTA, however, may be a different matter, as Hobley encountered in her last role when it banned certain OkCupid ads, claiming they violated its ad restrictions.

Spread the love

At the center of “It Starts with a Swipe” is love in all its forms and stages. In a departure from other influencer activations Tinder has done in the past, the new campaign will feature influencers sharing long-term love stories that began with a swipe.

“This is a deliberate effort to talk about love and…the connections that are maybe a little less expected for [Tinder]: marriage, kids, moving in together, getting a cat together, whatever,” Hobley said.

A key aspect of the campaign, and one that Hobley said resonates with her, is celebrating diversity—of gender, sexual orientation, and culture. Bianca Guimaraes, executive creative director at Mischief, noted to Ad Age that on Tinder, “by design, matches can’t be filtered by ethnicity.”

While Tinder has paid offerings, Hobley noted that 80% of its users don’t pay for anything.

"I think Tinder has struck a really good balance of not always making you feel like you have to pay for a great experience," she said.

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