An advert on the Tube network claiming an online dating service used a “scientifically proven” system to help people find love has been banned.
Matchmaking website eHarmony have had their billboard advert pulled from London Underground platforms, after their posters read that the company had a “scientifically proven matching system”.
It also read: “Step aside, fate. It’s time science had a go at love.”
Over doing it, right?
Advertising regulators weren’t too pleased, after being tipped off by Lord Lipsey, who brought it to the Advertising Standards Authority’s (ASA) attention. Lipsey, the joint chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Statistics, told Sky News that wording such as “scientifically proven” needs to be “confined to claims that are just that, not used in crude puffery designed to lure in those longing for love.”
Lipsey continued by dubbing it “fake news” and saying that it was right for the ASA to remove it.
eHarmony, however, have argued against the ASA’s decision, saying they provide better results for individuals looking for love than those who meet naturally or use other dating methods.
“eHarmony was conceived on the premise that science and research could be harnessed to help people find love,” said Romain Bertrand, the managing director of eHarmony, in a statement to the Independent. “For over 17 years, eHarmony has been matching singles into high-quality, long-lasting relationships based upon sophisticated matching standards designed by PhD psychologists.”
The say they use an algorithmic process to help pair people off, based on data collected from more than 50,000 married couples located in 23 countries. New users looking to find love fill out a long questionnaire about their personality traits, values, and interests, followed by what they are looking for in a partner.
To back their case, eHarmony gave the advertising watchdog a copy of two different studies that supposedly show their dating service resulted in higher marital satisfaction. eHarmony then used this research to demonstrate that new users also face a chance of finding a new love interest.
Advertising authorities fired back, saying the studies do not reveal their matching system has a high success rate in finding a partner.
“Because the evidence provided by eHarmony did not demonstrate that their matching system offered users a significantly greater chance of finding lasting love than what could be achieved if they didn’t use the service, we concluded that the claim ‘scientifically proven matching system’ was misleading,” noted the ASA.
Bertrand added: “Although we respectfully disagree with the ASA’s findings, we are happy to work with them to assure that our advertising is as clear as possible.”