Rhodri Marsden: A dating ad for singletons who have been there and done that

Life on Marsden
  • @rhodri

I've been taking pleasure in hurling spectacular abuse at that eHarmony television ad that begins "Being single can be amazing!". Yes, amazing things can happen when you're single. Breaking the world long jump record, learning Japanese or meeting Archbishop Tutu are all achievable outside the constraints of a badly floundering relationship. But who doesn't want to be in a badly floundering relationship? I know I do.

It must be difficult for advertising agencies to come up with a concept that doesn't prompt singletons to violently slam their digital set top box into the oven. The denouement of this eHarmony ad features a beautiful actress, Tilly Wood, and some bloke having an initial encounter of such intensity and excitement that you immediately explode with disappointment at your own romantic inadequacy. (Although there is a "making of" video on YouTube featuring the director saying "I was pleased with the performance we got out of her... very realistic," which helps to remind you that it's just an exercise in corporate branding.)

I've drawn up a synopsis for an ad that might sit better with those of us who've been there, done that. Scene: Sunday night. Two different flats strewn with detritus because the single inhabitants, male and female respectively, can't be arsed to tidy up. They're both dressed in onesies, staring at their laptops and scrolling through profiles, saying "No... nah... no way... no." The man alights upon the woman's profile, makes a "yeah, maybe" face, copies and pastes the last email he sent to someone, changes the name and sends it. She replies instantly because it's the only email she's had recently that doesn't say "Mmm, you look nice and young, how about it?"

Cut to the date, a cauldron of nervous tension, fidgeting and toilet visits whenever the conversation runs dry, which is often. But after 20 units of alcohol, things look more promising. They stumble into the street, and as they commence a clumsy clinch, the camera pulls back to reveal other couples – some having a great time, some running away from each other, some crying. The voiceover then says: "You may as well join. You're doing bog all else about it." That's the kind of stark realism that would get me reaching for my credit card.