@Grindr starts a kindness campaign

Lindsay Bruce

By Lindsay Bruce

April 23, 2019

Last Fall, Grindr took a risk. In an age of influencer marketing — a strategy of showcasing your most loyal (or famous) fans — the popular queer (and oldest!) dating app decided to do the opposite. They selected representatives from the communities most discriminated against on their app and gave them a soapbox. Literally.

The Kindr campaign, as it was called, aimed to raise awareness amongst the app’s broader user base about the effects of hateful words and prejudice on the platform. By putting a face to the people on the other side of the screen, it hoped awareness would be a first step towards empathy and, in turn, kindness. The campaign was risky and rule-breaking but has gone on to be award-winning.

In November, we sat down with Matt Brooks who worked on @Grindr's Kindr campaign to hear the how's and why's of how they made such an impactful campaign with a small, scrappy team. That interview is our newest episode of Character Count. Some takeaways:

The risk

"There's definitely a risk with highlighting the negative experiences that people have on your app, but we are trying to kind of help our community grow up in a way and really affect long-term behavior change. If Grindr was just saying 'hey be kind to each other' it wouldn't have the impact that it did by giving [a voice] to the real people experiencing these issues."

The roadblock

"We're talking about discrimination in a good way to get people to pay attention to it. But I think the algorithms and the people monitoring this just would flag our stuff as 'inappropriate', which unfortunately happens with a lot of LGBTQ content across the internet."

The results

The campaign reached millions of people, with help from video (which outperformed static assets) and conversation:

Why Twitter?

"Twitter was perfect for [the campaign] because this is a conversation. We would see comments that were maybe somewhat negative, or maybe people didn't understand why we're doing this, and the amazing thing is –– Twitter users that understood would come in and help them understand why this matters. And that was incredible…."

Conversation and kindness? We'll campaign for that.

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