Dating app Bumble let the cat out of the bag on its new photo verification feature Sept. 7-10 with a tongue-in-cheek pop-up food truck experience that traveled through New York City and Brooklyn. Dubbed “The Great Catch,” the activation brought the app’s new feature to life by playing on the concept of catfishing, which entails luring someone into a relationship by means of a fake online persona. In partnership with celebrity chef Sam Talbot, the brand served up catfish-based fare, handed out free swag and brought attendees up to speed on how photo verification keeps Bumble users safe.
Leveraging a combination of facial recognition technology and a team of photo moderators, Bumble’s photo verification feature ensures users are exactly who they say they are. The tool requires users to follow a series of motions, then snap a picture of themselves in real time before they can access the app. The photo is then compared against other photos in the person’s profile and verified (or not).
In an effort to educate consumers on the feature, Bumble’s Great Catch food truck, painted in the brand’s signature yellow, lured in New Yorkers with complimentary dishes including fried catfish sliders with crispy pickles and blackened catfish tacos with charred tomato vinaigrette. Attendees could enjoy their meal in a dining area featuring branded napkins, food containers and cups bearing playful messaging like “Bottoms Up, Bottom Feeders Down” and “Catfish Just Got Served.”
For those who were unfamiliar with the app, brand ambassadors explained how Bumble and Bumble BFF (an app for finding new friends) work, then walked them through download and setup of the application. Existing Bumble users were educated on the photo verification feature and how to use it, and received branded giveaways including hats, pins and t-shirts. Attendees could also participate in an on-site photo booth experience.
A curated group of tastemakers were also a part of the strategy. Bumble invited key press and influencers to experience The Great Catch by sending each of them a branded yellow tackle box filled with swag bearing anti-catfishing messaging like “How is this for click bait” (nice touch).
“Whenever we’re thinking about marketing and how people interact and experience Bumble, there’s such an important component in the offline experience because our goal is to connect you with a meaningful person via the app,” says Chelsea Maclin, director of marketing at Bumble. “A lot of these experiential events are [executed] in an effort to connect with our users on a personal level and provide them with value that continues to educate them on our core values and mission, which is, of course, always inclusive of safety and online accountability.” Agency: Preacher, Austin.