Japanese otaku-targeted dating app’s bizarre AI image advertising leads to 3x – 7x increase in female users 

The Japanese otaku-targeted dating app Otakoi (jp: オタ恋), which had previously gone viral for their incessant advertising using jarring AI generated images, has recently reported that, contrary to popular belief, the whole ordeal has caused an increase in female members of their platform. 

Post translation: The AI advertising caused an explosion in female users. We were surprised too. 

Otakoi is a dating app that launched in November 2022 with the purpose of helping people with otaku-like hobbies match up and find their significant others. Since May 2023, Otakoi started a rather bizarre marketing campaign that consisted of posting large volumes of AI generated images of pretty young women and idealized couples on their social media (Related article). 

Otakoi’s virality suddenly exploded when users started picking up on a certain shocking image (seen below) that features a stereotypical overweight otaku man and a slim, large-breasted woman. 

Aside from users poking fun at the image, it was also criticized for perceived pandering to male users, with people saying things like “What woman is going to see this and register?” 

However, in a statement for ITmedia on October 5, HMSYSTEMS, the company operating Otakoi, revealed that after the advertising went viral, the number of new male members on their platform increased by 1.5 to 2 times, while the number of female users increased by 3 to 7 times. Representatives commented that the ads going viral may have raised the brand’s recognition and trustworthiness, making women more open to trying it out. 

They even mention that, after the overweight couple advertising went viral in mid-July, they changed their marketing strategy and swapped out the usual images of cute girls and fit couples with more overweight couple images, leading to a steady increase in users. Now, HMSYSTEMS even have an Otakoi merch store, where they sell print T-shirts of their AI generated images, and they have released LINE (Japanese messenger app) stickers and UI themes using the imagery as well.  

The Otakoi app on the App Store and Google Play Store in Japanese. HMSYSTEMS have mentioned wanting to challenge overseas expansion as well. 

Amber V
Amber V

Novice Editor-in-Chief since October 2023.

She grew up playing Duke Nukem and Wolfenstein with her dad, and is now enamored with obscure Japanese video games and internet culture. Currently devoted to growing Automaton West to the size of its Japanese sister-site, while making sure to keep news concise and developer stories deep and stimulating.

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