ASA rules against scientific claim in eHarmony ad

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ruled against an eHarmony dating service advertisement which claimed science supported its matchmaking system, according to BusinessCloud.

The dating site claimed it had a “scientifically proven matching system” which would help users to find their ideal romantic match. The ad, which appeared on the London Underground in July, read: “Step aside, fate. It’s time science had a go at love.”

It continued: “Imagine being able to stack the odds of finding lasting love entirely in your favour. eHarmony’s scientifically proven matching system decodes the mystery of compatibility and chemistry so you don’t have to. Why leave the most important search of your life to chance?”

The ASA found that the ad was “misleading… the evidence provided by eHarmony did not demonstrate that their matching system offered users a significantly greater chance of finding lasting love than what could be achieved if they didn’t use the service.”

The advertisement provoked complaints including one from Lord Lipsey, the joint chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Statistics and a former member of the ASA council. Lipsey said the ad was “crude puffery designed to lure in those longing for love… This is a new form of fake news which the ASA has rightly slapped down.”

eHarmony said it would ensure its advertising is as clear as possible in future, adding that it “respectfully disagrees” with ASA’s finding and that the algorithm for matching users uses “sophisticated matching standards designed by PhD psychologists”.

eHarmony uses a questionnaire to discover user personality features, values and hobbies then finds matches using an algorithm based on data from 50,000 married couples.