Trend Alert: Thursday

Trend Alert introduces you to the latest trends that are impacting the daily lives of 16-24s.

How does a startup stand out in a saturated market in 2021? The dating app Thursday was faced with the challenge of attracting young people to sign up, when they know that they can already meet thousands of singles their age on Tinder and Bumble. We also know that Gen Z are increasingly using social media in lieu of a dating app, as a way to meet new matches in a more informal context.

To create a distinction from competitors, Thursday taps into the feeling of ‘dating app fatigue’ that young people are increasingly expressing, and the common complaint that they can spend hours chatting but never actually meet. The concept of Thursday is that you can only use the app on Thursday, and you should keep your evening free to go on a date that same evening. This is particularly appealing in a post-lockdown world where young people are feeling enthusiastic about going out, meeting new people and enjoying those experiences that weren’t available at the height of the pandemic.

However, Thursday is not only using its product to distinguish itself from competitors, but also its marketing, and they are turning to members of their target audience to get the word out in memorable and attention-grabbing ways. Thursday recently went viral when a student brand ambassador from the agency Bulla Co posed as an intern for the startup and pulled off some PR stunts that went viral, leading their weekly app downloads to double. Also interesting is where the stunts went viral – not TikTok or Instagram, but LinkedIn, proving any platform can launch a new product if there are enough people watching.

Student Anya Jackson posted on LinkedIn about the embarrassing things she’d had to do to promote Thursday as part of her “internship.” She explained that she was given just £25 to generate as many downloads as possible for the app, but undoubtedly it was the viral content that came from her stunts that generated more downloads than the stunts themselves, which included tying herself to a pole and covering herself in balloons. Her post gained over 1.5 million impressions on LinkedIn, and the app doubled its usual 2000 weekly downloads.

Stunts have always been part of Thursday’s strategy – according to AdWeek, the company was known for it before its rebrand from its original name of Honeypot earlier this year. The success of the activity is a reminder that while social media is the key to raising awareness among Gen Z, there are many more routes to achieve that than simply designing the best meme or perfecting your paid social targeting. When a brand has done something creative and put real, clearly visible effort into their campaign, it stands out in a sea of generic brand content, and whether or not those who saw Anya’s post actually downloaded the app, there’s little doubt that they’ll remember it.

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