Being single is not a curse, so brands should stop treating it like charity

Being single is not a curse, so brands should stop treating it like charity

In case you haven’t walked by local chain drugstore recently, this Sunday February 14 is Valentine’s Day – an excuse for couples to overspend and overindulge to show each other they care.

Businesses are cashing in with the express purpose of being culturally relevant, tech brands being no exception. We’ve seen analytics companies release data on dating, fitness services offering partner training, and on-demand services ramping up for flower, chocolate, and even lingerie deliveries.

What about the people who are single? We get things like Mailbird’s “Singles Support Messenger Service” aimed to help those flying solo not feel sad about being alone this Sunday. 

Screen Shot 2016-02-11 at 3.58.28 PM

Let’s start with the pitch: “Help a Single Today!” When did single become a noun?

Secondly, the product name “Singles Support.” Last I checked, being single isn’t a disease.

To be fair, Mailbird’s service has nice intentions. You write a positive affirmation and it gets sent to a random, opt-in recipient who has indicated on its service that he or she is sans-relationship. For doing your part, you get a discount code for the service’s Pro account.

Still, the marketing on this is all sorts of wrong.

We need to stop treating people like something is inferior about them due to one random fact. Being single does not mean they’re lacking love, and it certainly doesn’t mean they need to buy themselves a big chocolate shake to cry into.

While I understand that many people dislike being single, that doesn’t make it okay for businesses to capitalize and treat you like charity just to hand out some coupons. If you’re looking for ways to stay timely, empower single people. Remind them that being single is okay without depicting them as a sad, crying blue bird. They’re single, not suicidal.

And if you can’t do that, just don’t do anything at all. Believe me, no one’s ever gotten mad at a brand for not having a Valentine’s Day campaign.

Update 2/12 10:13 AM ET: Since publication, Mailbird has reached out to say the piece has convinced the team to address the language on its marketing assets. It has also removed the discount code incentive from the promotion. Below is the updated graphic.


“Single Person” is still a little silly, but it’s better than sobbing birds.

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