This week, the masked guards of “Squid Game” donned their red jumpsuits, took to USC and traded their weapons for recruitment cards, inviting students to participate in Date Game.
While there won’t be any high-stakes children’s games involved, players will engage in three-minute audio blind dates with other USC students before their profiles are revealed and they decide whether or not to match. In the end, five players with the most matches will win a cash prize.
The mastermind behind the game is Monji Batmunkh, the CEO and co-founder of the new dating app Matter. He aims to encourage people to connect in a “fun and authentic way” by engaging in verbal conversations before seeing one another. To promote the app, Batmunkh, a USC alum, is bringing Date Game to college campuses across Southern California.
By incorporating the hit Netflix series and a cash prize into its marketing strategy, the company said it has seen a stronger response from students as opposed to handing out flyers in a more traditional manner. Date Game was first launched last week at UCLA, where over 2,000 students participated. The company expects similar numbers at USC.
“We grab their attention in a fun and exciting way,” Batmunkh said. “We noticed that when students take the card, by the time they take 10 steps, they’re already talking about [the] $5,000 cash prize. They’re on board real fast.”
This was the case for Megan Mossembekker, a freshman majoring in music industry.
“It got a lot of attention, because it’s so trendy right now,” Mossembekker said. “There has been a lot of buzz. There’s probably over a thousand people going for it.”
In addition to the cash prizes, half the proceeds from Date Game are donated to campus organizations like Colleges Against Cancer, whose UCLA chapter received $2,000 from the first competition. This time USC Colleges Against Cancer, a campus organization that partners with the American Cancer Society to spread awareness of cancer prevention through fundraising and advocacy events, will receive the donation.
“[UCLA Colleges Against Cancer] suggested us because we work with ACS together,” said Rachel Roberson, co-president of USC Colleges Against Cancer. “Date Game went pretty well for them and made a pretty good donation, so they wanted to extend that opportunity to us as well.”
While this was an opportunity for the organization to get their name out, some students found the charity to be an incentive in signing up for Date Game.
“Money is how you get people in the door, but they’re also donating to charity,” said Mossembekker, who will be participating in the game. “I was thinking about how the more people who participate, the more will be donated.”
USC’s Date Game will take place Wednesday night from 9 to 10 p.m. Those interested in participating can register through Date Game’s website.