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Match Group’s Melissa Mobley and Mekanism’s Jason Harris on the art of bold, provocative ads

Dating app OkCupid views itself as the feisty underdog that is comfortable causing a stir. The brand did just that last year with its “Every Single Person” campaign, which they doubled down on after it sent waves through the advertising industry, social media, and the New York City subway.

The leader behind OkCupid’s overall branding is Melissa Hobley, the company’s first-ever chief marketing officer. Hobley left OkCupid in August to step in as the CMO of Tinder, both of which are owned by parent company Match Group. Before she moved roles, Hobley went on The Current Podcast to talk about why OkCupid is so at ease taking big swings with its branding.

“We have to do this in an interesting, provocative way. Partly because it’s real,” she says, “and partly because when you don’t have those giant budgets and you don’t have tons of star power but your product is better and you really believe that, you feel like you have the permission to be aggressive and loud and make people uncomfortable.”

Jason Harris, president and CEO of Mekanism, the brand’s agency of record, also joined Hobley to discuss the creation of the “Every Single Person” campaign, standing out through the crowd in the dating app space, and why they worked so well as partners.

“When you don’t have that core or the soul of the brand and what it stands for, you’re kind of inventing things to make the brand create hits,” Harris says. “I think what’s great about OkCupid is they have a real platform that you can run with for a while.”