Gay social networking app Scruff brings on MWW as AOR

Gay social networking app Scruff has selected MWW as AOR to increase brand awareness globally, following a three-month review.

NEW YORK: Gay social networking app Scruff has selected MWW as AOR to increase brand awareness globally, following a three-month review.

Scruff, founded in 2010, looked at more than 30 firms, and wound up speaking to 12 of them. It then asked five to submit proposals for the RFP, said Eric Silverberg, cofounder of the social network.

Prior to bringing on MWW, Scruff worked with Matter, Edelman's sports and entertainment marketing firm, to introduce the brand, said Silverberg.

MWW's LGBT marketing practice is leading account work after the firm took over the account last month. The agency acquired Macias Media Group, a firm focused on connecting clients with LGBT consumers, in March.

Silverberg said MWW was selected for a number of reasons, including its LGBT expertise, consumer technology experience, and global reach.

In addition to helping Scruff leverage international marketing efforts and increase brand awareness, MWW will help with social media strategy development and thought leadership, he added.

"All of this is about expanding our community because we see a lot of growth happening globally and we’re going to be looking to MWW to help us think about our market in these different countries, whether with marketing, events, partnership, or otherwise," explained Silverberg.

Scruff is focusing on expanding in Brazil and Western Europe, particularly the UK, France, Spain, and Germany.

With a core team of five staffers on the account, MWW is working to "build a narrative about what Scruff is and the role they’ve played in the [LGBT] dating community," said JP Schuerman, EVP and GM of the firm's Western region.

He added that the agency will engage business and technology publications in addition to LGBT media in order to share stories about Scruff that haven’t been told before, such as the fact that the company was self-funded and has grown to become one of the largest dating apps for the LGBT community.

Silverberg said in the next six months, MWW will help Scruff with several announcements about new ways for users to communicate and interact with one another. The agency will also help the brand introduce a new philanthropy effort in a few weeks.

The one-year contract has a six-figure budget, said Silverberg.

"Our cornerstone is representing companies that are either challenger brands or innovation brands, and we’re so proud to represent Scruff because they’re both," said Schuerman.

In the spring, MWW was brought on by Hilton Worldwide to handle its LGBT marketing and PR efforts across its portfolio of brands. The agency also began working with Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo, two plaintiffs in the federal lawsuit against California’s Proposition 8 ballot that banned gay marriage rights in the state, in April.

Gregory Lee Hendricks, EVP at Matter, said via email that his firm’s "project work with Scruff this past year is a great example of how culturally relevant content can help redefine a brand."

"We enjoyed building a partnership for Scruff and RuPaul that helped reshape and amplify the brand’s position as a category leader in the LGBT community, as well as create a framework for the brand’s continued growth," he said.

This story was updated on August 12 with comment from Matter.

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