Happily Ever After Online?

September 26, 2013 — Eliza Sadler

Routine: It’s a sweet spot for brand penetration, with some brands striving to fit into consumers’ daily schedules (Facebook), and others wanting to disrupt it (like Red Bull). However, for those who are part of a couple, it’s a scary word. It can mean a rut, pending breakup, or just uncertainty about the future, and it’s something to avoid at all costs. After all, newlyweds live by their prenuptial advice: Despite being married, never stop dating. So, the pressure is on.

Slowly but surely, brands have begun to answer this call, beginning with the inception of LivingSocial and Groupon. While not specifically targeted to people in relationships, they’ve become a couple’s best friend, offering promotions that aim to get couples away from their computers and TV screens and focused on each other in creative ways. As a result, it seems the culture has shifted, and brands are speaking more directly and frankly to couples and their respective needs.

This shift is especially evident in the online dating world. At one time, dating websites were only skewed toward singles, with differing tastes and/or interests, as highlighted in my last article. Now, though, dating sites are popping up and speaking to committed couples in one of three ways: as potential swingers, as those desperate to keep the fire alight, and/or as those simply looking to spice up their habitual dating schedule.

My research into these sites revealed a few gems. The first is Kupple, described as an “online community for couples seeking friendship, advice, or new restaurants.” Of course, next to this welcome description are two featured articles: “5 Phrases That Can Kill a Relationship” and “Why You Two Don’t Talk Anymore;” also, in bold letters, it reads “This is not a swingers site.”

Kupple is very much unlike Swingles, which is described as an “adult dating site for singles and naughty couples.” Plus, it’s a much more open community than ChristianSwingers, described as “devoted Christian couples who still want to have an active love life and share it with one another, in good faith!”

These dating brands, while speaking to specific preferences, don’t necessarily speak the language of 21st century relationships. Today, it’s all about being surprised, getting personal, and disrupting the norm. Datelivery sings this tune with its birchbox-like approach to making a date at home more than just popcorn and a movie. The subscription services sends the necessary ingredients and instructions for a night at home once a month, ranging from an iron chef pizza challenge to a 70’s themed disco night.

Moreover, HowAboutWe — formally known for its unique dating platform of spontaneity and ideas — has extended its reach as a site devoted to couples. This site is described as a dating portal focused on “committed couples,” with offerings much like LivingSocial and Groupon, but with the perks of free dates and more unique excursions/events.

Essentially, dating is no longer something for the lonely. Today, it’s very much about sustaining love for the long haul, but what does this say about the bigger picture? Are we so inundated with activities that we have zero energy to come up with our own date ideas? Have we just become lazy? Does relying on an online site make the act of dating less meaningful? How can we compete with a chef-led cooking experience and a private Broadway show viewing? I don’t have an answer yet, but what is clear is that now we all have to up our game — our dating game, that is.


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