And THIS is who they're targeting?
Ashley Madison, the notorious “dating site” for married people looking to have affairs, has, apparently, never heard of the phrase “Once bitten, twice shy.”
Because, less than one year after hackers exposed 10-gigabytes of stolen user data — essentially, outing thousands of married men for trying to cheat on their wives — the company behind Ashley Madison, Avid Life Media, has announced that it will regain the trust of its morally dubious users via a massive re-branding campaign.
That’s right. Hopefully, their former and current users will forget about the site exposing their credit card information, ruining their relationships, and, basically, not delivering on ANYTHING it promised to do — all thanks to RE-BRANDING.
That should go well.
And what’s their genius plan to re-brand Ashley Madison? They want to appeal to more WOMEN.
REAL women, this time, because, less than two weeks ago, Ashley Madison had to confirm long-standing rumors that, in the past, the VAST majority of females that men interacted with on the site had actually been “bots” — i.e. fake electronic women designed to lure men into purchasing credits. Reporter Annalee Newitz confirmed that 80% of all initial purchases on Ashley Madison were made by men interacting with “artificial” women.
But, now that Ashley Madison swears that they’re finished using bots (and we can confirm this how?), their new leadership team claims that they want their new re-branded site to be more "tasteful," “respectful,” and “a lot more female-friendly.” A profile of AM in Fast Company tried to explain their new lady-positive direction by saying, “The focus won't be on cheating, per se, but on those excited moments that exist outside of monogamy and everyday monotony.”
Which sounds A LOT like cheating, but so be it.
The key to their new emphasis on “not-exactly-cheating” extra-marital moments is their new ad campaign, which abandons their former slogan (“Life is short. Have an affair.”) for a new one — Find Your Moment.
Ashley Madison tries to sell this new, hip, totally-not-cheating-but-yeah attitude in their new web commercials, which represent their best attempt at, for lack of a better term, “classing up the joint.” The first sad video is all about a sad woman VERY strongly considering having a sad affair at a very sad conference:
The second is all about a bored married couple, who decide to spice up their relationship by… somehow using the website to have a threesome with a waitress they just met (?). (Not sure why they don’t just approach her directly. The internal logic is hard to follow.)
To quote Avid Life Media’s newly appointed CEO, Rob Segal, “We believe Ashley Madison can transform to better reflect modern relationships and operate with open-minded integrity and an adventurous spirit.”
But the BIG unanswered question is HOW?
By not calling “cheating” cheating? By assembling some slick new ads? By promising that things are SO much secure now? (How could anything less than a security testimonial from Edward Snowden convince a nervous cheater with a wandering eye that his wife will NEVER know?)
And that doesn’t even get into the “woman” question. Why would a woman ever find Ashley Madison appealing? Yes, women have the right to desire an affair just as much as men, but this is a website that traded heavily on its “dude-bro” personality for YEARS and freely admits that it used “fake” women to entice men to buy things. (Not cool.)
WHY would a woman (or ANYONE) believe that this serial cheater site wouldn’t cheat on its users again?
If a woman wants to have an affair, there’s Tinder or Facebook or ANY number of sites that haven’t empirically proven that they’re terrible at keeping people’s affairs secret or authentic.
Remind us again — Why does anyone NEED Ashley Madison anymore?
But this re-branding should be fun. Ashley Madison is now a cheating site that swears it’s not about cheating. It has a “more open-minded, adventurous spirit” (whatever that means) and it promises to be “a little more elegant.” How do we know all this? Because it’s what they told us.
And, irony of ironies, Ashley Madison, a website built on a foundation of user dishonesty, wants us to TRUST them.
That shouldn’t bite anyone on the ass, right? RIGHT?