Ashley Madison Gives You One More Reason to Go Running in the Morning

Great for your health, if not your marriage

Ashley Madison
Headshot of Angela Natividad

Why do runners run?

Ashley Madison provides at least one answer in “Morning Run,” which turns out to be a humorous spoof on the tropes of sports advertising geared to women.

Keep running, lady!

Ashley Madison’s had a run of its own this past few years. In 2015, a security breach gave it two major problems to solve—the unveiling of its unfaithful clientèle, and the discovery that most women on the dating site were bots.

Super awkward. But where most brands would’ve collapsed under the social recrimination, the company instead doubled down—rebranding around building trust.

“The mistakes of our past cannot be excused, but they are no longer a part of our business—nor ever will be again,” Ashley Madison communications director Isabella Mise tells AdFreak. “We have spent the past two-plus years listening intently to what our members want from Ashley Madison, and we are focused on delivering on those expectations. That focus has seen us return to a growth trajectory, with now more than 20,000 new members joining every day.”

The brand also hopes “Morning Run” will address one of its core problems of the past—marketing to women, using a tongue-in-cheek voice that also addresses the reasons why women specifically tend to cheat.

“Our overall marketing strategy is aimed at reaching everyone who is currently in a relationship that feels they are missing something. ‘Morning Run’ was developed to speak to our potential female members, using humor to address what can be a difficult situation for many,” Mise continues.

“Our efforts, in part, were guided by recent research, conducted by Dr. Alicia Walker from the University of Missouri, that showed women use infidelity as a means of staying in a marriage. Her work revealed that women were empowered to address what were primarily sexless and/or orgasmless marriages, by choosing infidelity as a means to maintain their primary relationships. As Ashley Madison is in the business of successful affairs, meaning undiscovered affairs, we know we can help women find what is missing in their current relationships.”

With all this in mind, the brand is giving an old tagline new life, adjusting the focus that reinforces it.

“Our positioning is returning us to the space we created, and where we are the No. 1 brand—namely the married-dating space,” says Mise. “We market indiscretion to those seeking infidelity—but now with a stronger female voice. We have un-retired our tagline, ‘Life is short. Have an affair,’ which you will see across multiple channels.”

The ad went live this morning. Funnily enough, it’s around New Year’s, when people are coming up with new personal goals (namely around fitness), that Ashley Madison tends to see an increase in interest. New signups have risen 8.1 percent between December and January over the past five years.

“Everything we do at is aimed at creating a better experience for our members,” Mise says. “In listening to what our members wanted from, we heard loud and clear that a focus on married dating was where our brand needed to be. When looking at our largest market [the U.S.] over the past two years, we saw that roughly 70 percent of our revenue came from members who indicated they were in a relationship.”

Maybe it’s time to start checking up on your relationship status … especially if you’re in one.

@luckthelady Angela Natividad is a frequent contributor to Adweek's creativity blog, AdFreak. She is also the author of Generation Creation and co-founder of Hurrah, an esports agency. She lives in Paris and when she isn't writing, she can be found picking food off your plate.