Paird campaign puts a human element into online dating

Who: Paird, with Fuse Create for strategy, creative and media, and Toronto illustrator Ashley Barron.

What: “Get paired with Paird,” a launch campaign for the made-in-Canada dating app, which is being positioned as an alternative to some of the more established quick-swipe dating apps.

When & Where: The campaign is live now across digital channels, with a focus on Instagram and Facebook, they’re also looking at TikTok. It’s only in Toronto for now, with a possible expansion to Calgary, and outdoor executions, in the works.

Why (the old model): Co-founder Ben Leonard is engaged now, but was inspired to start the business by his own time spent using online dating apps and hearing many stories from people about their own terrible experiences. “Somehow the online dating world got a little off the rails,” he said.

Leonard started to look for a better model, and discovered what he believed was the problem with existing options: In some cases, it seemed like getting through as many profiles as quickly as possible had become the model for dating apps.

“The online dating world seemed to algorithmically be based around bringing you back to the app,” he said. “Pushing you towards having almost this addiction to coming back and seeing who might be around the corner, versus focusing on what’s in front of you.”

Why (the Paird model): The app soft-launched in 2019, and the company has been working to refine the model, the user experience and the brand since then. At its core, though, the goal has remained the same: “We’re trying to slow everything down,” said Leonard.

Paird was created as an antidote to that quick-swipe model, nudging people to make more thoughtful decisions about who they were meeting and interacting with—to, as much as possible, replicate the IRL dating experience in a digital environment.

“We designed our application to really get people to slow down, take a breath and be present,” said Leonard. The emphasis on finding a partner, rather than a casual date, means that while Paird is designed for any age user, the sweet-spot for its target demo is 25 to 35, said Leonard.

The new ad campaign was developed to deliver that core message.

How (the idea): The ad campaign uses perfect pairings to communicate the key message that Paird’s goal is to help users find their own perfect pairing. The short digital videos, single illustrations with the animated headline “Get paired with Paird,” represent three phases of a long-term relationship: For the early stages, it’s a typical first-date combo of burger and fries; as things get more serious and romantic, there’s the breakfast pairing of bacon and eggs; and finally, for longer-term couples in the comfortable stage of their relationship, it’s peanut butter and jelly relaxing together in front of the TV.

How (the craft): As an extra symbolic layer to a campaign that emphasizes more human online dating, Fuse worked with Toronto artist Ashely Barron, who created the perfect pairing images using a handmade cut-paper collage technique. The craft’s tiny imperfections are representative of real lives in the real world, but still present a charming portrait of a perfect pairing, explained Leonard.

“You can see some of those little imperfections on some of the cuts,” he said. “But that to us represents what a relationship is—because no relationship is perfect, but it’s perfect for that person.”

And we quote: “Paird recognizes that people need to be ready to put in the work to find their perfect pair… So rather than stock photos of happy couples, we used papercraft, which is uniquely handmade and perfectly imperfect. It’s layered, detailed and has depth, not unlike people and their personalities.” —Patrice Pollack, creative director, Fuse Create


David Brown