By Chayonika Chandra
A clever PR stunt disguised as a beautiful woman trying to connect with a man she met through a note has peaked interests among university students who found fliers all around Ryerson University’s campus.
JoinVouch.com advertised its four-month-old dating app called Vouch through a romantic note where a woman named Kate is looking for a man named Chris, whom she met at Toronto’s Eaton Centre shopping mall.
“Although Kate and Chris are fictional characters, they are based on real people who found each other. The real people met each other in their first year [of university] but didn’t get to exchange any information so they didn’t have a chance to reconnect,” said Daniel Malinov, CEO and co-founder of Vouch.
“Years later, I, being their common friend, introduced them to each other. It turns out that they tried to look for each other over Facebook but were unsuccessful in doing so because there’s too much noise on Facebook. That’s how Vouch essentially started.”
Students from Ryerson University, University of Toronto and York University have been posting pictures of this flier all over Twitter and Instagram, using the hashtag #HelpKFindC.
Julia Ho, a first-year Ryerson journalism student thinks it’s a smart tactic because it gets people interested and prompts them to check the site out.
“[However], the way they executed it makes me not really trust the site. It seems kind of shady.”
Malinov, who is a former Ryerson business management graduate, believes that “women are more comfortable with messaging people first to meet up because there’s a very little ‘creep’ factor, [unlike] apps like Tinder. Anyone you are connected with [on Vouch] will always have at least one mutual friend with you. A common friend can also act as a matchmaker and connect two single friends.”
Most people on social media caught on to the marketing tactics. Others were either cooing over the romantic appeal of the note or thought that “Kate” was acting too desperate. A phrase that was most associated with the hashtag #HelpKFindC was “the thirst is real.”
“It was an obvious advertising ploy, but it was funny and played into the whole “Spotted at Ryerson” thing that everyone seems to be obsessed with,” said first-year Ryerson student Kelsey Adams.
Adams is referring to the popular Facebook page called “Spotted at Ryerson” where students can anonymously post messages about other helpful or attractive students.