A new set of TV ads for Ashley Madison -- the notorious online dating service ("Life is short. Have an affair") that was the target of hackers last year -- is attempting to broaden its appeal beyond people in committed relationships who are looking to stray. The three spots, created in-house and backed by a $10 million media buy, are titled "Hotel," "Poly" (above) and "Subway," but only "Hotel" directly references a cheating spouse -- in this case, a woman executive who seems to be in an unhappy marriage, judging by the way she sullenly slices a cucumber (symbolism!) in the presence of her husband.
Tom Rosenthal's indie folk-pop song "As Luck Would Have It" is the soundtrack for "Hotel," and it's so lovely that it makes the subtext of infidelity -- made possible by a chance encounter during a business trip -- seem somehow less creepy. (The tagline in this spot and the others: "Find your moment.")
In "Subway," a lonely man (we see him home alone leading up to the subway scene) makes sweetly flirtatious eye contact with a young lady, to the strains of Rosenthal's "Have We Met Before?" Is she single too? That's unclear.
And in "Poly," an attractive man and woman who are in a relationship that's perhaps getting a little stale meet another woman, together, at a party -- and you can sense the energy sparking between the three of them. The Tom Rosenthal song underscoring this scene? "The Meaninglessness of Numbers," of course.
(Honestly, these ads may be as likely to spur sales of Tom Rosenthal's catalog as they are Ashley Madison memberships.)
"The new creative is quite a departure for Ashley Madison," Rob Segal, CEO of the dating site's parent Avid Life Media, told Creativity. "We're moving away from the brand's past shock tactics and moving toward more meaningful, personal advertising that we hope better reflects our members' thoughts and feelings."