Courting singles, Lavalife wants phones to ring

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Lavalife, a provider of technology-based dating services for singles, has launched a direct response television spot created by Northern Lights Direct Response Television for its Lavalife Voice service.

Unlike Lavalife's previous DRTV spot, which was more informational and showed people how the Lavalife Voice system works, the new commercial, titled "Called Met," focuses on customers calling Lavalife Voice and meeting other singles shortly after.

"We turned up the dial on branding a little bit more than on the previous ad but it's still very direct response-based," said Stephanie Barrington, VP of consumer marketing at Lavalife. "The Lavalife brand has a lot of equity in North American and we benefit by pushing that, so hopefully it will increase our response.

"We did see a lift in inquiries when we ran the new Northern Lights campaign," she added. "Over time we see fatigue with DRTV spots but we have to balance the costs with creating a new DRTV spot with the anticipated lift we see with new spots. We update our creative about every year."

Targeting single men and women, the spot skews toward singles age 27-30, although Lavalife customers range from 25 to 49, according to Barrington.

The ad drives customers to call up, listen to voice profiles and send messages to other singles. Airing in English and French, the spot is running throughout North America on syndicated and local spots.

"Lavalife is always the most fun of any campaign to work on," said Ian French, president/executive creative director of Toronto-based Northern Lights Direct Response Television. "And it's returned to TV aggressively.

"The concept is relatively simple and doesn't need a lot of explanation," French added. "This spot's much more focused and emotional as opposed to informational, and has a romantic feel. The dates were done in a friendly, non-threatening way and have a second- and third-date feel to them. They don't get too heavy; it's kind of light but there is an intimacy and playfulness and comfort level between the couples."

In the DRTV industry many ads for dating sites are sexualized and male-focused. "This is not like that," French said.

Barrington said her company chose Northern Lights for its "superior client relations in that they know how to run the entire process smoothly on time and they also get results. They make our phones ring."

Lavalife has experimented with 30- and 60-second spots and found "the 30-second spot is the most efficient in cost per metrics," Barrington said. "We have some tests in the market right now so we can measure the difference between the previous spot and this spot and see what the real absolute lift is."

Unlike many DRTV commercials, "Called Met" features a toll-free number but no URL.

"It's really meant to drive Voice customers," Barrington explained. "We have a Web product and we market that separately. This is really a direct marketing tactic - we want them to call the Voice product. We don't want to have two different calls to action."

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