Tinder and Bumble try keg-standing their way to success

Tinder, Bumble, and fraternity parties: a match made in heaven.
Image: Gene Lester/Getty Images

The wholesome, all-American tradition of drunken Texas fraternity parties just got even more American: they’re now part of a corporate marketing ploy!

A new report from The Houston Chronicle lays bare a genius if somewhat troubling user acquisition scheme by dating apps Bumble and Tinder. These companies are entering into exclusive contractual sponsorships with fraternities, giving the frats swag and cash to require their party-goers to download and sign up for the app at the door to get in. 

It’s a strategy that funnels college students, who comprise that crucial 18-24 year old demographic, into becoming new users — that is, if they want to get into the party.

As the Chronicle reports, once the frats sign an agreement, they become either a “Tinder house” or “Bumble house”; the contracts are app-exclusive. One student said that fraternities even get cash bonuses based on the amount of new users they sign up. Hooray!

It’s not clear how widespread these agreements are, but the Chronicle reports that the brands were present recently across fraternity parties at the University of Texas at Austin, and talked to students and dating app representatives who confirmed the partnerships. Other students have confirmed attending sponsored parties at Oklahoma University, Tulane University and Northwestern University.

Here’s how it works: a partygoer walks up to a frat aligned with Tinder (always a good start to the night!). A brother asks the party goer if she, or he, (but let’s be honest, she), has a Tinder U profile (that’s Tinder’s college-specific app). If she does, great! Head right inside for all the beer-stained carpeting you desire. If the person does not have a profile on the app, they’re directed to scan a QR code, which prompts them to download the app and create a profile. Voilà, new user acquired! This policy goes for all attendees, even if they’re in a relationship. 

One way the frats enter into these agreements is through the dating apps’ “brand ambassadors.” or college students who have “marketing internships” with the apps. The students get “work experience,” the apps get partnerships and new users. No problems there!

College students are extremely valuable potential users for these frats. People aged 18-22 are a desirable demographic for most products. But that’s especially so for apps like Tinder and Bumble, where people in this age group have the potential to use this product through college and beyond.

The fraternities’ Tinder/Bumble arrangement just makes sense. Dating apps and fraternities are both working to scrub their reputations as unsafe places for women filled with rogue penises and disrespect. It’s truly match made in heaven…or at least a fraternity basement.

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