June is Men’s Health Month, and two advertising students are using the popular dating and hookup app Tinder — which allows users to swipe left or right on potential matches’ photos, depending if they’re interested in connecting with them — to try to urge men to visit a doctor. They created a fake profile on Tinder named “Nurse Nicole” to drop hints about what men should be doing to manage their health.
“For the month of June, Nicole is enduring terrible pick-up lines, facing extreme male desperation, and talking dirty to dirtbags in the name of men’s health,” the Tumblr page for the project, dubbed Matches for Men Health, explains.
Advertising students Vince Mak and Colby Spear, who are both based in New York City and enrolled in the Miami Ad School, are the brains behind Nurse Nicole. Since women are twice as likely as men to visit a doctor for their annual checkup, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Mak and Spear figured men may need an extra push to pay attention to their preventative health care. “Our goal is to create a dialogue about men’s health,” Spear explained to CBS News.
Mak and Spear chose Tinder because they know a lot of men in New York City use the app, and they thought it would be an effective way to educate them about a good cause. When Tinder users swipe to talk to Nicole, the two men running the account quickly turn the conversation toward blood pressure, heart disease, and testicular cancer.
While some guys seem happy to continue flirting with Nicole, others appear to be exasperated by receiving information about prostate exams instead of Nicole’s number. “I think some guys were genuinely appreciative of it. Others didn’t know what to make of it,” Spear said. They’re collecting the funniest responses to Nurse Nicole on their Tumblr page:
“Steering the conversations towards men’s health was a fun challenge for us,” Spear said in an interview with Boston.com. “As a copywriter, I regularly have to think of funny lines for ideas, and Vince is just always a witty guy. We thought of responses to the pick up lines on the fly.”
This isn’t the first creative effort to use social media to target Americans with messages about public health. Researchers have also been trying to figure out how to reach young gay men through Grindr, the popular hookup app in the LGBT community, with information about how to get tested for STDs. Some health officials in California created fake profiles similar to Nurse Nicole to accomplish this goal. Public health officials have used Twitter to help track HIV outbreaks and Facebook to help control the spread of syphilis. And outside of sexual health, the online review site Yelp is helping the government crack down on food poisoning.