Because people have a measure of anonymity online, they feel they can be as…let’s call it “honest”…as they want. In part, because people have a measure of anonymity online, they feel they can be as…let’s call it “honest”…as they want.

When 20-year-old student Thea Chippendale posted a photo of herself wearing a dress by fashion brand ASOS on Tinder, she received a reply from a match, but instead of a polite greeting, she received some not-friendly fashion criticism, calling her choice of outfit a “charity shop job”.(1)

The conversation went as follows:

Tinder match: “That dress in the last photo is not doing any favours. Hope that helps.”

When Thea asked why he felt he needed to comment on her appearance, the match replied,

“Literally had to tell you else I wouldn’t have slept. “It’s awful you not reckon? Charity shop job! I tell you what… grow up! And shop somewhere decent.”(2) (Chivalry…so dead).

Instead of just taking the unwarranted beratement, Thea took her experience to the ultimate court—the court of public opinion—much of which presides on Twitter. In her words, Thea wanted to “expose the sort of things that happen with women and men on Tinder”.

Apparently, Thea’s grievance isn’t exactly rare or obscure, because her tweet gathered more than 98,000 likes and 7,000 retweets. And the content was overwhelmingly empathetic and supportive.

Then things got really interesting. ASOS, the maker of her unfairly lambasted dress, sent Thea a message asking her if she would like to appear on the product page of their website. And they followed through on their tweet to Thea, showing her the image gallery on the page where the dress was being sold.

With a sneak peek at the picture…ASOS tweeted, “ASOS tweeted alongside her picture: “Swipe right to see who had the last laugh.”

The Twitter court went back into session and rendered another similar judgment—again prodigiously positive—even exclamation that she be brought on as an ASOS model.

That’s a loooong way from where this whole thing got started.

While Thea’s story was getting a happy ending, there was a subplot here that was actually garnering an arguably bigger win PR-wise: ASOS.

For what was on its face a simple, yet very nice gesture, ASOS earned themselves some amazing media exposure that shows that when companies reach out to even one individual, they can do wonders for their own reputation. It doesn’t have to be a celebrity of another public figure. Sometimes, it’s just a young woman who was rudely criticized on her appearance.

Just look at the sources that covered Thea’s incident and ASOS’s solution:

Cosmopolitan: ASOS had THE BEST response to a woman being outfit-shamed on Tinder

Metro: Woman whose dress was insulted on Tinder gets the last laugh as ASOS model Comment

Daily Mail: Student whose Tinder match slammed her ‘awful’ ASOS dress gets the last laugh as the brand makes her a model on its website

Evening Standard: Woman who was insulted on Tinder over her dress is made an ASOS model

There were plenty more, and their headlines and coverage were similarly themed. And ASOS deserved it all for masterfully handling what easily could have been just another brief trending topic on Twitter. They discovered a customer, learned of her problem, and provided a solution—in real-time and directly to her. They just happened to be on Twitter, a public forum when they did so. Accident or otherwise, the tremendously positive press ASOS received for their actions was nothing but a boon to the company’s reputation.

And the icing on the cake? Some Twitter users who saw ASOS-coifed Thea in the now popular pic expressed interest in buying their own dresses! (Cha-ching!) As in, new followers becoming new customers.

Good going, ASOS. Oh, and by the way—nice dress!

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Sources:

  1. Comcowich, William. “5 marketing and PR campaigns that wowed us in 2019.” Ragan, 2 Jan. 2020, ragan.com/5-marketing-and-pr-campaigns-that-wowed-us-in-2019/.
  2. Wilson, Cherry. “Student mocked on Tinder is now modelling Asos dress.” BBC, 3 May 2019, bbc.com/news/newsbeat-48144778.