Sonia Oblitey (OkCupid) - Exclusively Inclusive

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This is a podcast episode titled, Sonia Oblitey (OkCupid) - Exclusively Inclusive. The summary for this episode is: <p>Vincent and Ajay chat with Sonia Oblitey, Global Marketing Director at OkCupid. Sonia discusses how the dating app can be used to approach romance in a slow and meaningful way, and how the inclusiveness of OkCupid makes the app appealing all over the world. Ajay looks 12 years younger, and Vincent is a fan of clean-cut looks.</p>
A day in the life of a Global Marketing Director
01:32 MIN
How Sonia got into marketing
01:58 MIN
What separates OkCupid from other dating apps
01:50 MIN
How to determine what markets to enter
01:52 MIN
Shifts in marketing during the pandemic
02:08 MIN
Advice to young marketers
01:25 MIN

Vin Lapsley: Welcome to The Marketing Stir Podcast by Stirista. Probably the most entertaining marketing podcast you're going to put in your year. I'm Vin, the Associate Producer here at Stirista. The goal of this podcast is to chat with industry leaders and get their take on the current challenges of the market, and we'll have a little fun along the way. In today's episode, Vincent and Ajay chat with Sonia Oblitey, Global Marketing Director at OkCupid. Sonia discusses how the dating app can be used to approach romance in a slow and meaningful way and how the inclusiveness of OkCupid makes the app appealing for all around the world. Ajay looks 12 years younger and Vincent is a fan of clean cut looks. Give it a listen.

Vincent Pietrafesa: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to another episode of Stirista's The Marketing Stir. I, of course, am your happy host, Vincent Pietrafesa, the Vice President of B2B products and partnerships, here at Stirista, and still reigning interim General Manager. By the time this comes out in January or so, I probably won't have that title anymore. They're always trying to take titles away from me here. I'm kidding. I love it here and I love you, the audience. Before I get started, let's talk about who Stirista is. We are a marketing technology company, we focus on identity. We have our own business to consumer database, business to business database, we work with clients to target those databases, to get new customers, to get their brand out there. We own our own DSP, we can do display, we can do connected TV, all those people at home... Do some connected TV. Email me at vincent @ stirista. com. That is how confident I am in our services, I just gave you my email address. The other person I'm confident in, he is clean shaven today, ladies and gentlemen. If you're just listening to us, go to the YouTube feed, of this. My co- host, ladies and gentlemen, clean shaven. Looks 10 years younger. Mr. Ajay Gupta. What's going on, Ajay?

Ajay Gupta: Well, since some people are saying 12 years younger, but I'll take 10 years too.

Vincent Pietrafesa: Yeah. Well, people have voices inside their heads, Ajay. That's clearly you saying that, but I love, I don't think, it's been years since I've seen you clean shaven.

Ajay Gupta: Yeah, definitely. I think it was the first time during the pandemic, I let it go for about three weeks so I decided I'm going to just go for a clean look for a couple of days before it grows back.

Vincent Pietrafesa: Nice. A haircut, you know I'm coming down to San Antonio. That's the first thing I bother you about, is your haircut.

Ajay Gupta: Oh yeah, no, no, I'll be ready. I've had enough harassment from New Yorkers.

Vincent Pietrafesa: New Yorkers, we keep it clean. You can see... Always clean. I get a haircut every 10 days. That's what keeps me fresh. Some people say it's a complex. I just say, I'm trying to be, keeping it fresh, but I can't wait to be in San Antonio, Texas. I don't think anyone's ever uttered those words before, but I apparently just did. We're going to be down there visiting the team. A year end, get together bash, if you will. It's going to be fun. Are you excited?

Ajay Gupta: Yeah, it's probably, I guess, especially because of the pandemic, we didn't do anything last year except our virtual summit but this year we're doing that plus quite a few other events, so my hope is things go smoothly. I think it'll be great to have everybody down together. For two days, we'll have a blast.

Vincent Pietrafesa: Absolutely. You mentioned the summit, this next amazing guest will be speaking on the summit. By the time you hear this episode, she would've already been on the summit and she nails it, she did an amazing job, just like she's going to do on this podcast. Now, this is a first, it's a first for her. It's her first podcast, she said. Although she's a natural, I find that hard to believe. Also, it's the first organization of its kind that we've had on the podcast. Now, I'm familiar with dating apps. I'm not on them. I'm a happily married man. I'm not on them, you hear. My wife doesn't listen to the podcast. But it is the dating application I hear about all the time. This is the one I'm on, this is the one I'm on. It's OkCupid, ladies and gentlemen. We have a very special calling in, joining us from D. C. Ladies and gentlemen, the Global Marketing Director of OkCupid. Please, a warm Marketing Stir welcome for Sonia Oblitey. What's going on, Sonia?

Sonia Oblitey: Hi. Hi. How you doing? I'm so happy to be here. It's exciting.

Vincent Pietrafesa: We're so happy to have you. I have so many questions about what you do in OkCupid. First of all, we have a lot of people at Stirista who could use OkCupid's help. We've got a lot of people. Brian Gold comes to mind, man, that, he's just, has such a hard time meeting women, meeting us. Maybe he'll listen. He does listen to the podcast. No, I'm kidding. He's actually in a relationship now, but we have so many people who are out there listening. This is a great topic because we want to hear all about what's been happening because dating during the pandemic, that's a whole other ball game. We're going to get to that. But Sonia, for people who have not heard of OkCupid, tell us a little bit about OkCupid and your role. I really want to dig into that global aspect of your role because then that opens up so many more questions. We're going to have fun, but just a quick intro to OkCupid and your role.

Sonia Oblitey: Yeah, sure. So, OkCupid is one of the first dating apps to launch in this space back in 2004, before even the advent of the mobile phone, so we've been doing this matchmaking game for a while. OkCupid, what makes us unique from our competitors is that we ask you lots and lots of questions so you can have a really complete and robust profile. So it's more than just your surface swipe right, swipe left. We're really about getting to know you and then matching you with somebody that we think that you would have a great conversation with, that could lead to who knows what else. We're also the first dating app to launch pronouns. We're the first dating app to give over 22 gender options and 20 orientations to select from, so we consider ourselves to be the most inclusive dating app of all our competitors. We're part of Match Group, so I'm a part of really good company and Match Group owns Tinder and Hinge and Plenty of Fish, a lot of other great dating apps that I consider be my sister brands as well. We learn a lot from each other, but what makes OkCupid really unique is that we consider ourselves to be exclusively inclusive because no matter who you are or what you're looking for, we got you.

Vincent Pietrafesa: I like that. I like exclusively inclusive. That's awesome. Sonia, walk us through... Global Marketing Director. Talk to us about some of your roles, what your day to day looks like there, some of the regions that you tackle.

Sonia Oblitey: Yeah. I have such a really fascinating role because I really need to know about love around the world and in the markets that we focus on. So we're not, when we say global, we really just focus on the markets where we have the best product fit, because I'm sure, as you know, love is a cultural. So not all markets are open to online dating yet. But we focus where we know we have great product fit. So my day today, one of our big markets is Israel. This morning, I was on the line with my Israeli agency and my local rep, just talking about what our plans are for new emerging channels, like TikTok. How are we going to capture a younger audience? That's one conversation I had today, and then I'm going into Germany because we also have a great team in Germany. I'm thinking, we're talking about out of home and what cities are we going to tackle? What's the messaging and the best way to market there? Then, we'll go over to Turkey and Turkey's talking about inflation so we're thinking about what's our pricing strategy in Turkey. Then, India. So it's a great role. I wear many hats, but it's all about leveraging our core message in all of these markets, and then also knowing how these markets date and what makes OkCupid so interesting to that consumer. Why OkCupid in Israel, in India, in Germany? That's the approach that we take when we work on our market entry strategy, is like, well, why OkCupid? It's one of the very important questions that we ask ourselves, is will it fit, will it work in that market?

Vincent Pietrafesa: I love that. You probably also, you never have any free time because it seems like you're on calls and different regions all day long, right?

Sonia Oblitey: All day long. I was hip to Zoom before the pandemic.

Vincent Pietrafesa: Exactly. Yeah. 9: 00 AM, 9: 00 PM calls. My wife works with some teams in Japan. It's always crosstalk.

Sonia Oblitey: Yeah, we have a team in Southeast Asia, Southeast Asia's inaudible.

Vincent Pietrafesa: Sonia, we also love to ask this question of all of our guests, because there's a lot of people listening out there who are in marketing, thinking about getting into marketing. How did you get into this crazy world we call marketing?

Sonia Oblitey: Yeah. So I was actually a Marketing Major Undergrad at Penn State, so I was studying marketing, but I actually didn't start my career at marketing. I started my career in the cosmetic buying office at Lord& Taylor, New York City, where I had the opportunity to be sold to by many different brands, from Estée Lauder to Lancôme to the L'Oréals. Big names, small names. I thought to myself, I want to be that person. I want to be the one who is working on campaigns, launching them and presenting them to whether retailers or to the world. In order to make that transition, I went to FIT and I received a Master's in Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing. It was a really unique program. It's actually, I think I was the fourth or fifth class and it's still continuing to this day, but it was a great program that allowed me to make many contacts and also just build my expertise in cosmetic marketing. So after that, after I graduated, I joined Estée Lauder and I was in global marketing for years, marketing fragrances and did some more cosmetic marketing work after that. About two and a half years ago, I entered the world of dating and tech and I have been having so much fun since. It's completely different than cosmetic marketing, but all the less, we're still selling or marketing hope. We're tapping into emotion, making love connections. It's a different way of marketing, but it's using, I would say, with between dating app and cosmetic marketing with dating, I'm not selling a product per se. I don't have to wait for a product launch or really talk to R&D and development. Everything is in your mobile app, so we're not necessarily timed to a lot of product launches, unless it's a product launch in the app. So that's where, I would say, is some of the difference and I'm obviously not selling to retailers like I was before. We don't have a store. But that's how I got into marketing.

Ajay Gupta: So, I got married and started dating before the app world really took off. But as an outsider, there's still a lot of competition in terms of what I hear my single friends using and switching between apps. In terms of marketing strategy, what separates you from all of the other apps that consumers have access to now?

Sonia Oblitey: Yeah, with OkCupid, what really separates us is that we ask questions. We ask questions, whether they're questions about politics and we can get really into the psyche of what it is that's important to you from your political aspect to, if you like ketchup on your fries, to whether you're a supporter of planned parenthood or pro rights. We match on what really matters to you. That's something that OkCupid pride themselves on, is that we really want to get to know who you are and try to, if not spark a love connection, at least have you connected to plenty of people. That's the difference with OkCupid and all the other dating apps, I would say, is that our positioning is matching you on what matters, so whatever matters to you, you would definitely be able to discover somebody who shares the same. Also, just the, as I mentioned before, we have the sexual orientation options, the gender orientation options and we launched more pronouns and we were the first to do so, so we've been inclusive before it was a thing. We've always tried to include everybody and recently, not sure, I know Vince, maybe you've seen our recent ad campaign on the subways for every single person, where we were, I mean, we struck up controversy because our advertising was so provocative, but that's OkCupid. We want to be bold. We want to be provocative. We want to have people who piss people off, in a way. Where if you want to be exclusive, this isn't your brand. This is for people who want to make sure that everybody feels welcome. So that's why the ad campaign was for every vegan, for every Baxter, for every Holly. It's really for everyone.

Ajay Gupta: That's awesome, Sonia. We completely support your mission here at Stirista. So, in terms of the marketing strategy, what is working for you? In a broad sense, what are the some of the channels that you market and advertise on?

Sonia Oblitey: Yeah. I mean, we're really in, I guess you could say, your traditional channels. I think what works for OkCupid is that, especially for me in my global marketing is I don't have the biggest budget, so we do a lot of acquisition marketing and then we also do a lot of leveraging with content and content creators. So TikTok right now is, for us, something that we're really exploring because it's just, for a dating app, it can be so organic. The going on a date, the filling in your profile, the telling of story. I find that any way to have an organic message works best for us. So leveraging a success story, people always want to see, well, did it really work? Who's really meeting on here? So that's another channel, between your TikToks and your Instagram and any of these social channels, that you can really showcase these success stories, but also have great, funny content and engaging content that just allows us to showcase our unique properties of the app, but do it in a really cost effective way. That's one channel that works really well for us and then OkCupid, because we have such bold creative, out of home works for us pretty well. Not out of home nationally, we're really focused on what cities we know that we have our biggest users, our user base. So we're more metropolitan, we're not into smaller, small town U. S.A., so we'll focus on the big cities, like New York, L. A., Chicago.

Vincent Pietrafesa: I have seen those subway ads and for OkCupid, that's where I knew about, I mean, I, again, heard friends talking about it, that's the app they talk about the most. I live in New York City and I see the ads and I'm like, these are hilarious, these are great, they're inclusive. You see that, but I also think they're very funny, the ads. So, it definitely gets your attention. Was all that through the Match Group? Was that intentional, like, hey, we really need to separate ourselves. We want our ads to be provocative. We want them to be funny, or is that a result of having, well, we are different because we have such inclusivity that, well, we should make this like that?

Sonia Oblitey: The latter. Knowing that we are inclusive and we have, our mission is to showcase that. That's really where the provocative nature of the ads come from. But interestingly enough, in my global role, that ad does not work globally. So you wouldn't necessarily see that in Israel. You certainly wouldn't see it in Turkey or in India. So the question is, how do you then communicate your brand message and still be provocative, but not edgy? So what we've done in Turkey, for instance, is, Turkey and India, Indonesia, these markets are more, they definitely are a more serious intent dating market, but the way we flip the dating culture on its head is like, you are going to be the one to control your destiny and who you meet instead of matched by your mom or by a matchmaker. You're actually going to go on a dating app and you're going to find someone who's right for you. So we launched a campaign in India called Find My Kind. We launched a campaign in Turkey, Someone Just For You or Someone Just Like You. So it still is provocative and it still is shocking, in a way, because it's not common yet. So taking that same core message of Match and what matters but spinning it around in a market that is a little more conservative or you could definitely not have the advertising campaign you have in the U.S.

Vincent Pietrafesa: Well, that leads into my next question, is how do you determine where to go internationally? You just touched on areas of the world that, a lot of the places, right, are, you're being matched by a matchmaker. Where you're, I don't even know a matchmaker here. I have one friend who's a great wingman, but that's all I know. As far as, there's nothing, I think I'm a great wingman, personally. I'm getting it out there for everyone but some people disagree. They think I just start talking about myself the whole time, which is also probably true. But how do you, it's like, well, this city's ready for us? Is it the testing that goes on? How do you determine what areas that, because you would think Rome, Paris, those great cities of love, right, but talk to me about that.

Sonia Oblitey: Yeah. There's a little bit of science to it and a little bit of your gut, but luckily for us, we are available all over the world, so we're able to see organically where we're working. You can see like, okay, there's a big spike in users in this particular market, so we have organic traction with no marketing support. That's part of the decision making, then we look at being a mobile service. We're mostly mobile. I mean, we are on web, but you look at the infrastructure of the market and like, will they have access to mobile phones and Wi- Fi? So it's just looking at the economy and ensuring that you are going to make some profit for marketing in this market. We also look at our product fit. In products that looks at saturation of competitors, some markets are just highly competitive and you need a lot more investment to make a difference. Some markets aren't where we can really make a big splash. So that's the way we look at when we go into a new market. Being a big, big company, even though we are OkCupid, we are owned by Match Group and they do also help us to shape our plan, our international expansion plan as well, to see like, okay, we see this country, there's a great product fit. It's a more serious intent dating culture, like Israel. Israel, they are more serious intent with dating. They're not as casual as some, as a U.S. They're more seriously intense. So I think that's part of the reason why OkCupid does so well in Israel, is because they are, most of the time looking for serious relationships whenever they start dating. So, that's our approach to going into the market. Some markets you can go into and spend a lot of money and you still won't be able to make a dent if your product doesn't resonate. A little bit of everything.

Ajay Gupta: So, one of the things we've noticed with our friends is during the pandemic, some of them were single and have stayed single and they complained they're not able to go to bars as frequently and some of that is changing, but do you see a general trend that you can attribute to COVID in the relationships people are having?

Sonia Oblitey: Yeah. During COVID, we realized that people really were starting to gravitate towards dating apps a lot more, obviously, because people still wanted to have connection and meet each other. But we realized that people weren't necessarily going on dating apps now just for love connection as they were for just connection in general. But what happened is they slowly started to get to know each other, which started this trend called slow dating. It's still going on. So speed dating where you go, you sit down, you spend three minutes, you get to know someone and you move on to next. Now we saw with COVID, this emerging trend called slow dating, which is great because you take your time, you get to know the person and then by the time you meet in real life, you feel like you have more of a connection, a stronger connection with the person than before. pre- COVID, you have few exchanges then you meet the next day. With COVID, you really had to get to know somebody. So that was one of, I would say an advantage for daters, is they had to take time to get to know each other.

Ajay Gupta: That makes a lot of sense. Let's see if they'll check people's vaccination status now, before you go on speed dating. Imagine.

Sonia Oblitey: Yeah.

Ajay Gupta: So, well, you've worked, you've mentioned some of the great campaigns you've done and I look forward to being back in New York so I can see some of your ads on the subways, but what's your favorite campaign that you've worked on while at OkCupid?

Sonia Oblitey: Yeah, I, one of my favorite campaigns we launched in Israel was all of, it was focused on our questions. So in every market we have our questions tailored specifically for the local market, because it needs to be if you're trying to match on what matters, as I keep saying, but they're tailored for each culture. The campaign that we ran was all about our questions and it was an illustrated campaign. So it was still around COVID time, so we used an illustrator and we launched those digital only, a series of four different short videos centered around the questions, and one of the questions was, do you clap when the plane lands? That's something that Israelis do. Some love it, some don't, but there's little controversy. One of the funnest questions was during the zombie apocalypse, would you fight or flight? Then we had the zombies come out and starts smashing each other and a couple, of course, they both stuck around to fight. That's how they connected, by answering that question together. So, that was fun. It was just fun. It's fun to be able to tap into the culture and then it's fun to bring these questions to life in a really illustrative way. We ran this campaign, it was all digital. So, we ran through performance channels and on YouTube and on socials. So it was fun. A lot of fun.

Vincent Pietrafesa: That sounds like fun. inaudible See, all these questions of, see, dating is fun or at least the dating apps, right.

Sonia Oblitey: You would love to be in our brainstorms. I'm telling you, we have so much fun.

Vincent Pietrafesa: Oh, I would love it.

Sonia Oblitey: Some of the inaudible.

Vincent Pietrafesa: Just the material, the material I could bring to the podcast from that, that would be awesome. I always joke around. I said, dating has changed. I have a lot of friends here in New York City, where dating is, not to go out on dates, but to really find that, and I love that word you use, intent. I was like, wait, what does she, what does that mean? But then, now I get what you mean there. You also heard during the pandemic, people doing videos, right. Video apps, video calls, and then it's like, when do you finally meet? Like Ajay said, you have to probably show a vaccination card to meet in person and different regions or different, it must have been crazy. Can you talk a little bit more about some of the things that happened during this pandemic that surprised you about, what surprised you the most or how did, just internally, you have to change some of the marketing?

Sonia Oblitey: Yeah. I mean, internally we definitely had to change some of our location based marketing. So we have some ads that will show meeting singles in different parts of a city outside. So we definitely went, we had to pull those down. We changed our messaging more about, it's okay to date far, from a distance. We had to change some of that messaging. I honestly think what surprised me most, and I don't know why I was surprised but I was, is that how we saw such an increase in usage, where people really took towards dating apps and that's not just OkCupid. This is across industry, where people really wanted to connect and people were spending more and more time on dating apps. That actually did surprise me a little bit to see that. Wow, people really are longing for this connection. I would say that surprised me. What was challenging for me, being global during the pandemic, is every country was at a different stage of the pandemic. So we're constantly monitoring, like with this surge, this surge, this, so it was just a lot of understanding what every country was going through and monitoring the messaging per country. So it's different in the U. S. and Israel was, they're way ahead of us as far as with their combating the pandemic. So we were actually able to, we launched a Close Again campaign in Israel because it was back in April when Israel, they were able to, they had most of their population vaccinated. So it was just trying to manage all of the different markets and where they were with their COVID response. But I would say, to answer your question, that was probably what surprised me the most, like, oh, wow, people really do yearn for connection. I guess it's something that you would assume, but I actually, now I'm like, oh. It just makes me look at humanity different, like, wow, we really do want to be with each other.

Vincent Pietrafesa: Well, I totally agree. I think, now, Sonia, I mean, you've been there, you said, two and a half years, but would your job, if there wasn't a pandemic, been to go international and scope out some of, talk to your teams there? Would that be, and is that going to change for you in the future?

Sonia Oblitey: Yeah, I hope so. So definitely spending more time traveling, more time understanding the culture. More time meeting my colleagues, there's so many colleagues and agencies I work with that I've never met because of the pandemic. But absolutely, I would definitely like to do that going forward and just understand what a night out in Berlin is like, because we market heavily in Berlin.

Vincent Pietrafesa: I heard it's crazy. That's where people have their crazy bachelor parties, are in Berlin, from what I understand.

Sonia Oblitey: Yeah,

Vincent Pietrafesa: Oh, wow. That's crazy. Yeah.

Sonia Oblitey: It's perfect, your question about what's a good fit for OkCupid, is a city like Berlin...

Vincent Pietrafesa: Yeah.

Sonia Oblitey: ..That's progressive and that has a lot of spirit.

Vincent Pietrafesa: Yeah.

Sonia Oblitey: A country, a city that's on the move. So I would definitely love to go and visit more and just really take advantage of being in this role and just understanding more about the cultures because dating is so cultural. It's so cultural. It's not like, we're not selling Coke or a lipstick.

Vincent Pietrafesa: No.

Sonia Oblitey: We're not. So different.

Ajay Gupta: So one of our signature questions here is, has to do with LinkedIn. So with your job title and background, I'm sure you get a lot of unsolicited messages on your LinkedIn.

Sonia Oblitey: I do.

Ajay Gupta: What's a message that gets your attention and gets you to respond and more importantly, what's some of your pet peeves that really annoys you when you get a message like that?

Vincent Pietrafesa: Sonia is too nice. There's no pet peeves. She's too nice. I want to hear this one.

Sonia Oblitey: You know, my pet peeves is when people tell me," I tried to call you." I'm like,"Call me? You don't even have a phone."

Ajay Gupta: Ah. That's a new one."You even have my number?"

Sonia Oblitey: "Whatare you talking about?" or" I've called you several times." I'm like," Obviously you haven't." Or when you can tell they've inserted your name, the font's all different. So like, okay, you could have least tried. But what I do and what catches my attention is people who can reference a campaign and then say like, I recently saw your X, Y, Z campaign, thought it was great or you could enhance it by this. Those are the ones I read. I appreciate those who actually do a little bit of homework before approaching me.

Ajay Gupta: So a lot of people that listen to our podcast are younger professionals or students. So what's advice you have, you've been in the marketing world for a long time. What are some of the skills they need today that they didn't need before and what you see is important for them to do for the future?

Sonia Oblitey: Yeah. I've been in the industry, I've been in business for a while and I would say now, more than ever, it's a time to speak up. It's the time to come with new ideas. It's the time to test. You never know who's going to be the next big influencer. You never know where the next big idea's coming from. There's just so many ways to learn, whether it's just listening to a podcast like this, going to summits. You just want to constantly stay eager to learn and immerse yourself. I am now immersed in the world of TikTok and I don't think I would've been if it wasn't for my job. But, really get to know some of the products, get to know how you can use them to your advantage. From a branding point, I think I would make sure, and this is something that we think about every day, but what is your brand voice? So, if you are on Twitter, you look, who are the brands that's inaudible really well? It's the brands that when they tweet, it sounds like it's coming from the brand and not the person who's running their account. That's what I would say, that if I was giving advice to my 21 year old self, is be bold, don't be quiet, have great ideas and don't be afraid to take risk. Reach out to reporters, reach out to colleagues and keep learning.

Vincent Pietrafesa: I love that advice. Sonia, I noticed this about you from your profile. I, too, was a Big Brother Big Sister and I saw that you did that.

Sonia Oblitey: Mm- hmm( affirmative).

Vincent Pietrafesa: I did it in the past and so have you, but I want to really talk about some of the work that you're currently doing now. You're doing quite a bit of work in Ghana. Can you please talk about that?

Sonia Oblitey: Yes. So I am a native Ghanaian. I was born in Ghana, raised in America, but one of my, I'm very passionate about supporting my country and also children and development. I'm a part of a nonprofit called My Help Your Help. They're based in Ghana, but they're an NGO that supports orphanages in Ghana. So, what I do is I try to build awareness of the NGO and also some fundraising efforts. So every time I go to Ghana, I go to Ghana about once a year, I'm going in a few weeks, I get crosstalk...

Vincent Pietrafesa: Nice.

Sonia Oblitey: ...For the orphanages, meet with different orphans, meet with different groups in Ghana and different brands to help with donations and different efforts. So that's definitely one of my passions, is just to support underprivileged kids and help them with opportunities to grow and also to provide them with tools and resources that they need to get freedom.

Vincent Pietrafesa: Love that, and say the organization one more time?

Sonia Oblitey: My Help Your Help.

Vincent Pietrafesa: My Help Your Help. Awesome. Sonia, I want to talk about, we do get, the personal side here. We love to get to know you personally here. I have some dating questions, too. Maybe for the whole group. I have a dating, this just came to me. So this is, so talk to me about what you like to do in your personal time. What do you love? Do you love to read? Do you love to go on walks? Talk to me about that. Any shows you've been watching? People love to hear that from the podcast, that we get a lot of feedback from.

Sonia Oblitey: Yes, I do like to cook and I love to experiment a lot. So, I've been, I tried the TikTok challenge with the feta, the big block with the pasta around it. I tried that. That was good. That was actually good. I've had some fails too because I love to just try new recipes, things I've never tried. The other day, I tried a Tyler Florence recipe. It was a double breaded fried chicken and it looked like a rock because I over breaded it. But those are the things I just like to do and I like to entertain and have my friends over and play as Guinea pigs and such. I love sports. I'm a big Steelers fan. I'm from Pittsburgh.

Vincent Pietrafesa: Oh, yeah?

Sonia Oblitey: That's my thing. I love fall and watching football, starting tonight, up until Monday night, and college football. I went to Penn State, so big college football fan crosstalk.

Vincent Pietrafesa: Nice. Penn State. Saquon Barkley, he better start playing well for the Giants. He better stay healthy. That's right. Yeah, I did the same. I can't wait. Football, Thursday through Sunday. I don't get into the college much, because I didn't go to a big school like that, but that's awesome.

Sonia Oblitey: College is fun. I have a good... Yeah. It's just a different experience. Coming from Penn State, Saturdays were huge for college football.

Vincent Pietrafesa: Those games, right. Penn State, like the White Out game, you always see. It's like, how many? It's like 100, 000 people? Is that true or no?

Sonia Oblitey: Yeah, when I was at Penn State, it was like 80,000... That's Penn State years ago. So many people.

Vincent Pietrafesa: Insane. Couldn't say.

Sonia Oblitey: So many people. College...

Vincent Pietrafesa: I have a question for the group now. I know you should do this, but I'm like, so oftentimes, so let's... Well, Sonia, your ideal date, let's talk about your perfect date. What's a great date for you? Then, I have a question about what would people's messaging, opening line be in these dating sites because I always want to... Because that's a big thing, right. A lot of people, you're my partner in crime. It's like, wait, what? What does that mean?

Sonia Oblitey: Yeah.

Vincent Pietrafesa: So tell me about your, I know we're going to wrap soon, but let's just get, it's not every day we have the Global Marketing Director of OkCupid on, so I want to ask what's an ideal date for you?

Sonia Oblitey: Oh, that's a, an ideal date for me during the fall would be going and watching football together. Just, that's an ideal date for me. There's no pressure, just having fun. You can make chit chat if you want or you can be distracted by the game if it's not going well. It just gives you something to do if you have that common interest. For me, that's an ideal date. I would always recommend your first date be something easy and fun and easy to escape. So meeting at the bar for a drink...

Vincent Pietrafesa: To escape, yeah.

Sonia Oblitey: ...Having a cup of coffee, but I don't recommend having dinner your first date because then you're stuck. So something that you can get to know the other person, but you can also just have a quick exit if you need to, or if it goes well, you can go to a restaurant and have dinner or whatever else you want to do after that.

Vincent Pietrafesa: inaudible, yeah.

Sonia Oblitey: As far as what not to say as your opening line, it definitely anything that has to do with," Hey, are you up? What's up?"

Vincent Pietrafesa: Oh, what not to say, that's what you're saying. Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. Okay.

Sonia Oblitey: Yeah. I would rule those out, for sure. That never seems to work well, depending on what you're looking for.

Vincent Pietrafesa: Yeah, exactly. Ajay, what's you ideal date?

Sonia Oblitey: inaudible. Oh yeah.

Vincent Pietrafesa: Oh no. Sorry. Go ahead, Sonia. No, sorry about the...

Sonia Oblitey: That's the thing, just be clear on what you want from your profile, so what your first opening line shouldn't be a surprise to many people.

Vincent Pietrafesa: Exactly. I like that. But what's an ideal day for you, Ajay?

Ajay Gupta: It's also a football game and...

Vincent Pietrafesa: No, it is not. You don't like, that would be my, I'm like, if someone wants to watch football, I'm like," What?"

Ajay Gupta: Yeah, I know it's...

Vincent Pietrafesa: That's how my wife got me and then she hated football. I'm like," You tricked me. You tricked me."

Ajay Gupta: Yeah, no, I don't think football would work for me. I'd probably ask so many questions about the sport that my date might leave pretty early.

Vincent Pietrafesa: I know. She'll be like,"You know what? This is not going to work out."

Ajay Gupta: I would say, probably for me, it's maybe a casual restaurant or a bar or coffee, something like that would probably be ideal or, rare occasion, a tennis match is in town that would work too.

Vincent Pietrafesa: Yeah. Yeah. Depending if you get... So here's mine and Ajay, you're going to laugh at this. This is if I were single and going on a date. I would invite them to a comedy show to, be me do stand up.

Ajay Gupta: Are you trying to date yourself?

Vincent Pietrafesa: Yeah. Well, maybe. That's the whole other podcast, but what I would, I would invite them. I would say," Hey, don't you want to come to a comedy show?" Maybe they don't know I'm a comedian and then I pop up on stage maybe for, if they like comedies, they're a comedy fan who'll watch the show and then I'll pop up, do my 10 minutes of my set and see if they like it. That would also be my opening line," Hey, you want to laugh and go to a comedy show?" Then I will try to impress them with my comedy and see if that works.

Ajay Gupta: I just have to say, as someone who has gone to your comedy show, you'd have to change a lot of lines about your wife and in- laws and kids.

Vincent Pietrafesa: Yeah, of course. This would be if I was single. I have my single material. This is not me trying... Sonia, is that a good date?

Sonia Oblitey: Can I just tell you, I've been to a comedy show on a date before.

Vincent Pietrafesa: Yeah.

Sonia Oblitey: The comedian just ripped apart the date. It was so uncomfortable.

Vincent Pietrafesa: Oh no, but I would be the comedian, Sonia. I would be, you'd be on a date with the comedian. Well, see that's rule number one. If I'm taking someone to a comedy show, I'm like, sit towards the back.

Sonia Oblitey: inaudible. Hopefully, I have a friend who was a comedian and we went to his show and he bombed. So hopefully, inaudible, everyone's laughing, you impress her. Just, it goes great.

Vincent Pietrafesa: So, that would be my... Can you tell I thought about it? It's weird.

Sonia Oblitey: I couldn't tell.

Vincent Pietrafesa: I had, can you tell I thought about it. It's...

Ajay Gupta: You been thinking about it for the past week.

Vincent Pietrafesa: Yeah. Oh, wait. I was like, Sonia, I got, these are questions, just so this just came up, this question. The ideal date was, I wanted to ask you, but not the opening line thing. But Sonia, this has been amazing. Anything new coming up with OkCupid? I know it's going to be in the new year. I feel like people in the new year are like, I'm going to get out there and date. What's happening, some final thoughts from you and some new stuff coming from OkCupid.

Sonia Oblitey: Yeah. Dating Sunday, which I believe is in January, the first Sunday in January, the first or second Sunday in January. So look out for OkCupid, we'll do something really big on that day, just to encourage daters to get out there and start dating. I look at dating apps as this, you get in what you put out. If you really want to meet somebody, you go in there and you don't give up, you just keep trying and you will meet somebody. I feel like people go on there and then they, within two, three weeks, you get tired and you're like, oh, I'm not meeting anybody. But I've seen with success stories, some people meet the first person they message. But it takes a while, just anything, like you're looking for a job. Just got to keep going out there and put your best foot forward. Look at your profile, make sure you have the right pictures, avoid group pictures.

Vincent Pietrafesa: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Sonia Oblitey: Focus on yourself. But I would say, next year everyone is going, hopefully, people are going to be out more with more to do on dates. You can go to the bar, go to comedy clubs now, but definitely put yourself out there. That's what I think, that's great about dating app is that you have, with OkCupid, we have all the tools to help you and anybody has any questions, feel free to hit me up on sonia @ okcupid. com. I'm more than happy to help you with your profile, answer any questions, even hook you up with free OkCupid Premium to really get you started in January, to find somebody.

Vincent Pietrafesa: That's awesome. Dating Sunday. I love, Dating Sunday.

Sonia Oblitey: Dating Sunday.

Vincent Pietrafesa: That's amazing. Sonia, this has been amazing. That is Sonia Oblitey. She is the Global Marketing Director of OkCupid. Sonia, this has been fun. Thanks for allowing us this time with you. This has been amazing. Another episode of The Marketing Stir. That's Sonia. I'm Vincent.

Sonia Oblitey: I had so much fun.

Vincent Pietrafesa: We had so much fun with you. That's Ajay. I'll see him soon. Thank you so much for listening. Goodbye.

Sonia Oblitey: Bye.

Speaker 5: Thanks for listening to The Marketing Stir Podcast by Stirista. Please like, rate and subscribe. If you're interested in being a guest on the podcast, email us at themarketingstir @ stirista. com. And thanks for listening.


Vincent and Ajay chat with Sonia Oblitey, Global Marketing Director at OkCupid. Sonia discusses how the dating app can be used to approach romance in a slow and meaningful way, and how the inclusiveness of OkCupid makes the app appealing all over the world. Ajay looks 12 years younger, and Vincent is a fan of clean-cut looks.

Today's Host

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Vincent Pietrafesa

|Vice President, B2B Products, Stirista
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Ajay Gupta

|Founder & CEO, Stirista

Today's Guests

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Sonia Oblitey

|Global Marketing Director, OkCupid
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