'Christians make better lovers' campaign success
Christian Connection's bold ad campaign on the London Underground has resulted in a dramatic increase in the number of new members joining the UK dating site.
The campaign, which marked the first time a religious dating site has chosen to advertise on the Underground, is currently running on Tube carriage panels across the capital.
It encourages Christians who are searching for love to join the online community, which claims to have facilitated thousands of relationships and marriages since launching in 2000.
Approximately 1.4 million single Christians between the ages of 25 and 60 attend church monthly in the UK, and many of those are based in the London area. However, though more than ten per cent of those in their 20s feel affiliated in some way to the Christian faith, less than two per cent attend church regularly.
"This suggests that there are potentially millions of people in their 20s who may respond to a Christian advert but aren't connected to a local church network," said Christian Connection founder Jackie Elton.
The promotion targeted young people in their 20s and 30s, and appears to have succeeded, with the average age of new members on the site falling by three years, and the number of those joining from the London area quadrupling, while it has doubled across the rest of the UK.
Elton said the response was "both encouraging and exciting".
The ads have caused some controversy, however. One poster features the tagline "Christians make better lovers", which is accompanied by the message that "Christians believe in love. 'Love one another' is written into their code. So if you are a single Christian, why not give our award winning dating site a try?"
Another ad says: "God knew you would see this. He knows that if you are Christian and single you would probably love a like-minded partner."
A third exclaims: "Another dating site? Thank God! No seriously".
Fourteen complaints were made to the ASA, but none have been upheld and Elton maintains that most people have "enjoyed their style".
"A few weren't thrilled by our approach, but fortunately we didn't see the kind of reactions some recent atheist and religious ads have drawn," she said, referring to the controversial gay-lobby Stonewall advertisements that ran on London busses and the attempt of some Christian groups to run a counter-campaign.
"Young people in general felt the ads were 'cool' and seemed to engage with them," she said. "That is what matters. Some Christians were concerned because they perceived that 'Better Lovers' was about sexual performance, whereas we were seeking to reclaim the concept of lovers being people who loved and believed in love.
"Thankfully, those who read the full ad generally took it the way it was intended. We feel we won over more people than we alienated – a great relief."