Online Dating

Cheating Site Ashley Madison Is Back With an Ad Campaign We Don't Understand

Cheating Site Ashley Madison Is Back With an Ad Campaign We Don't Understand
Image credit: Ashley Madison

Ashley Madison wants its users back.

Sure, there was an embarrassing data breach last year. Sure, it wreaked embarrassment and devastation across its own user base. And sure there was the little matter of men paying subscription fees to talk with what turned out to be chat bots due to a startlingly low number of women users on the site. But that’s all water under the bridge. They’ve changed -- transformed, even. And like any cheater worth his or her salt, the site is looking for a second chance.

So it’s out with the old slogan -- “life is short, have an affair” -- and in with a new, risqué ad campaign.


Related: Hackers Release the Personal Information of Adultery Seekers Who Joined Ashley Madison

In one, a work-weary woman with a ho-hum other half ships off to a conference -- only to bump into an interesting stranger.

In another, a clock watcher with a terrible apartment and a worse shirt finds a rare ray of sunlight -- a woman who smiles at him in the subway.

And, in a third, a couple who seem polite, not passionate, meet an intriguing woman at a party.

At the end of each of these inaugural ads for TV,  Ashley Madison compels viewers to “Find Your Moment.” As before, cheating is a form of exploration. A sort of adventure. Don’t you want to seize the day?  

Ashley Madison certainly hopes so. The 47 million-member extramarital affair online hub took a deep, dark hit to its already controversial brand during last year’s hack and it’s still reeling from the damage. Key to its rebound isn’t just demand for affairs -- but building back trust with users.

Related: Court Rules FTC Can Come After Your Company After a Cyber Attack

Curiously, Ashley Madison’s own ads remind users that cheaters don’t often need much help cheating. Every character in the company’s own ads finds new romantic friends in the usual spots -- at hotels, parties and out and about. These folks don’t need the help of a digital platform that exposed millions of users, from pastors to government employees to low-level celebs. They did it on their own. DIY-style.

Ashley Madison is hoping you won’t make that observation -- and that its users can forget the past. So, what do you think? Will its seamy new TV spots be enough to restore trust in a platform built on breaking trust? (Or will it merely make you look a little closer at your spouse’s collar when he or she returns home from a business trip?) Do tell us via the Twitter poll above.
Edition: December 2016

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