- Dating app Bumble has tapped tennis champion Serena Williams in its yearlong campaign, "The Ball is in Her Court," which will launch during the Super Bowl next month, Reuters reported.
- The campaign carries a message of women's empowerment and urges them to make the first move — as users do in the Bumble app — in all areas of their life. New Bumble global adviser Williams helped to create the campaign, which was developed and produced entirely by women.
- "The Ball is in Her Court" will run across multiple platforms, but Bumble declined to say whether the campaign includes a TV commercial on game day, per Reuters.
Bumble appears to want to strike new conversations around gender and women's empowerment this Super Bowl season, which has traditionally featured women in highly sexualized roles. For last year's event, on the heels of the #MeToo movement, most brands chose not to address societal issues of sexual harassment or women's empowerment altogether. While the number of women included in Super Bowl ads increased from 73% in 2018 from 62% the year before, ads featuring women in prominent roles dropped from 43% to 34% last year, according to ABX research. Even if Bumble does not run a TV commercial during the event, launching the campaign around the Super Bowl ramp-up could raise its profile during a time when all eyes are on brands and marketers.
By partnering with Serena Williams and launching the campaign around one of the most popular sporting events of the year, Bumble is striving to gain massive attention and grow beyond its 47 million worldwide users, as it competes with rivals like Tinder, Facebook's relatively new dating option and others. Williams boasts nearly 11 million Twitter followers and more than 10 million Instagram followers, and was the highest-paid female athlete in 2018, according to Forbes. Bumble is using the high-profile partnership to promote its newer functions like Bumble BFF and Bumble Bizz to help women find friends and build business networks, along with its original goal of online dating.
In addition to being a tennis champion and one of the most popular athletes, especially among women, Williams is steadily becoming a branding and marketing powerhouse. She represents dozens of products across multiple industries, including Nike and JPMorgan Chase, and recently launched her own fashion line, per Adweek. Gatorade this week unveiled a fresh campaign, "You Fuel Us, We Fuel You," that features Williams. The Bumble partnership appears to be a solid fit, as Williams is a known advocate for women and has invested in African-American female entrepreneurs.
Meanwhile, Bumble continues to partner with other brands on innovative marketing tactics that feature strong messaging, influencers and interactive elements. The company teamed with Marriott International's Moxy Hotels on "BumbleSpot #atthe Moxy" in November, which blended digital and real-life experiences to help women make connections. Bumble also created a romantic night-in activation with HBO, "Stay Home To The Movies," including film screenings, a wine wall and a bathtub filled with sweets.