Tinder Users at SXSW Duped By Viral Marketing

Jack Plunkett/Invision/AP
The crowd cheers for Schoolboy Q at the SPIN day party during the SXSW Music Festival Friday March 14, 2014, in Austin, Texas.

At SXSW, Tinder isn't just a dating app - it's a viral marketing opportunity.

As Ad Week reports, some users down in Austin this week have encountered a pretty, 25-year-old woman named "Ava" on the app, and have started chatting with her only to be posed with an unusual series of questions. "Have you ever been in love?" asks "Ava." "What makes you human?"

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An Ad Week volunteer had a short exchange with "Ava," after which she said, "You are clever. You've passed my test," and provided a link to her Instagram account. However, that account only included one photo and one video, both promoting the sci-fi film Ex Machina, which debuted this weekend at SXSW. "Ava" turned out to be the Swedish actress Alicia Vikander, who plays a robot on the film.

Other entertainment figures have used Tinder for promotion before - including Mindy Kaling and The Mindy Project, which teased the TV show with main characters' profiles - but the interactive element of Ex Machina's approach makes it unique. Read Ad Week's full exchange with "Ava" here, which left the participant a bit disappointed; the experience "toyed with my emotions so hard," said the jilted Tinder romeo.


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