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JDate makes it all about you

Well known Jewish online dating site undergoes major rebranding, appealing to Millennials’ ironic sense of humor

Renee Ghert-Zand is the health reporter and a feature writer for The Times of Israel.

Jessie Kahnweiler, known to online audiences for her 'Dude, Where’s My Chutzpah' web series, beat out 100 actresses for the JDate commercial spot. (YouTube screenshot)
Jessie Kahnweiler, known to online audiences for her 'Dude, Where’s My Chutzpah' web series, beat out 100 actresses for the JDate commercial spot. (YouTube screenshot)

Jewish dating isn’t what it used to be, and JDate knows it. The leading Jewish online dating site is in the process of majorly rebranding itself for the first time in 17 years. As part of this new messaging, it has just launched three humorous commercials aimed at today’s young adults.

The ads, which can already be seen on YouTube and Hulu, and will be broadcast on cable TV later this month, cater to Millennial sensibilities.

“The company [Sparks Networks, which owns JDate] is shifting its messaging away from ‘someone else’s romantic success stories’ to more of a ‘me right now’ vibe,” according to Adweek.

The videos, like print ads that are also part of the new campaign, rely on inside jokes presumably understood by young, single members of the tribe. The print ads feature tag lines like: “Find Mr. Right to Left”; “Because Dating Shouldn’t Be as Hard As Parting the Red Sea”; and “Matzah Ball Recipes Don’t Survive on Their Own.”

One of the video spots riffs on the matzah ball recipe theme, with a young man and woman fighting over whose family’s kreplach are more authentic. It’s all about floaters and sinkers:

Another of the commercials attempts to appeal to young Jewish adults who have attended Jewish summer camp. Chances are, if a Jewish guy takes a non-Jew out on a date and tells her about how he loved Maccabiah, she’ll have no idea what he’s are talking about. But odds are that a Jewish woman will not only know that Maccabiah is a color war, but that she will say that it was her favorite part of camp, as well.

The final video ad relies the least on inside jokes, and thus has a broader appeal. In it, a young woman who has just moved to New York speaks with her parents back home on a video call. Although she has only been in her new home two days, her parents are already asking her if she has met any nice boys in her building, and if they are Jewish. “All we’re asking for are grandchildren, darling,” her father says.

The young woman is played by Jessie Kahnweiler, who is known to online audiences for her “Dude, Where’s My Chutzpah” web series. She says she competed with some 100 other actresses for the role.

Kahnweiler, 29, personally related to the scenario depicted.

“I channeled every conversation I have had with my parents in that scene,” she said jokingly. “Well, not really. They don’t really pressure me like that.”

She thinks JDate’s rebranding is on target. “A lot of people are using humor in advertising. Our generation is super-ironic. It’s hard to be schmaltzy with us,” she observed. “We like to embrace stereotypes and poke fun at them.”

Kahnweiler finds online dating to be “awesome,” but also a lot of work. “[The commercial] speaks the truth. It is really challenging to balance your career and your parent’s expectations,” she said.

“They don’t even have to be Jewish. Everybody feels like they have Jewish parents.”


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