Superstar rapper and entertainer Megan Thee Stallion is the face of Tinder’s latest campaign, aimed at Gen Z users. Comprising 18-25 year olds, this demographic is the largest among Tinder’s users in North America. The “Put Yourself Out There” (PYOT, or #PYOTChallenge for short) campaign challenges users to bring true authenticity to their dating profiles. As profile judge, “Hot Girl Coach” Megan will select 100 winners to award $10,000 each.
Tinder’s choice of Megan Thee Stallion as the face of PYOT and the $1 million dollar giveaway wasn’t just due to her stardom. “Megan’s authentic. She’s the queen of unapologetically being herself. She’s winning in 2020 due to her tenacity and creativity, which is something Gen Z can relate to and be inspired by” says Nicole Parlapiano, Tinder’s VP of Marketing for North America.
According to Parlapiano, Megan’s regular interactions with her fans on social media, whom she affectionately calls “hotties,” is a large part of her appeal. “We wanted someone who has a successful and empathetic relationship with her fan base.” Empathy is a trait psychologist and relationship expert Dr. Jennifer Rhodes views as a distinct feature of Gen Z. “[They’ve] arrived to the world as more conscious, emotionally aware… Many more of this generation will be classified as empaths.”
With PYOT, Tinder is aiming to creatively engage a generation that, despite being raised with social media and smartphones, prefers to meet organically. In New Orleans, 24-year-old Eliana Bloom is trying to make the most of her time on dating apps. “I tried to make my profile genuinely represent who I am—I revealed my background information, photos of me in my favorite places, and ask questions that demonstrate my humor. I would hope to find the same amount of authenticity in matches’ profiles. Ideally, they should reveal the same amount of information that would come out in an initial introduction or first impression.”
Birdy dating app founder Juliette Swann says that for her generation, “authenticity is key.” As a 25-year-old dater, she says “I’m not looking for perfectly designed profiles, but something that catches my interest, makes me laugh or helps me relate to my potential matches. I want to get to know the real, perfectly imperfect person behind the profile.”
Dr. Rhodes believes that encouraging authentic Gen Z connection serves to benefit a larger goal. “[D]ating professionals need to take more responsibility in honoring and respecting this generation’s mission on this planet and choose to support and guide them from a place of love. Gen Z will not be quiet about what they need to heal and what they value in relationships. We all need to start listening, for they are our best shot at healing a very divided world.”
Agape Match CEO Maria Avgitidis advises her Gen Z clients to be both intentional and accurate in their profiles. “Gen Z is so much more woke” than her millennial and Gen X clients, she says. “They’re much more open about communicating their beliefs and values before a number is exchanged to get offline.” Additionally, she adds “Gen Z will be the quickest to call you out on your overuse of filters or flattering angles.”
In Tinder’s Year In Swipe report, 57% of users reported wanting to express their true selves, while only 27% feel free to do so. With PYOT, Tinder hopes to bridge that gap. In addition to Megan Thee Stallion, the campaign features actor Shea Gabor and TikTok star Kelianne Stankus. Other creators will also be featured in PYOT in the upcoming weeks.
Digital strategist Wynter Mitchell Rohrbaugh agrees with Tinder’s assessment of Megan Thee Stallion as inspirational. “She’s a burgeoning icon that has set herself up for greatness and she’s one of the more relatable artists to emerge in the last two years. It’s a strategy that plays on that accessibility to young women who want to look toward a confident and stylish authentic personality. Black women define culture and she has made her mark in 2020. Kudos to Tinder for snagging her especially as she is on the rise.”
Megan’s hit song with Cardi B, “WAP” (that’s the clean version of the name) is the most popular song of 2020 on the dating platform. Her song “Savage Remix (feat. Beyoncé)” came in at number seven. In its report, Tinder credits WAP with bringing “unapologetic sex positivity” to profile bios. However, Megan’s sexuality is only one layer of her appeal.
Parlapiano says “[s]he’s so multifaceted. She’s an incredible artist, a college graduate, a part-time activist who’s into anime and plays Mortal Kombat. She’s into niche—what some would consider nerdy things. That’s very Gen Z.” Tinder hopes that Megan will inspire its users to embrace the uncool or nerdy aspects of themselves in their bios, and not fall into cliches or worse-freeze up and write nothing.
The PYOT contest is open to all Tinder users, regardless of age, says Parlapiano. “Someone who’s 80 could enter and be an inspiration to the whole community. We want to know—is this person real? We’re looking for humor, creativity, authenticity.” To enter, take a screenshot of your new profile and post it to Instagram (must be public) with the hashtags #PYOTchallenge and #contest and tag @tinder. The contest runs through December 31st and is open to North American residents only (excluding Quebec). Winners will be announced in mid-January.
As for Megan Thee Stallion, her goal for the campaign is to inspire others. “By celebrating those who are already doing the hard work, we want to encourage more people to feel confident in who they are.”