Chatroulette contest launched by international clothing brand French Connection. According to contest rules, participants are asked if they can "conquer the sinister world of Chatroulette" by charming a member of the opposite sex. (Initially, the contest was for men only, but due to protests, the rules were adjusted to permit women the opportunity to try and seduce men, too. Oh joy.)That didn't take long. Leave it to marketers to find a way to use any innovative new web service to promote their own ends. The latest example? A
According to the initial company blog post about the contest, "if you rise above the seas of failing men and charm a woman on Chatroulette," the company promises to give you a voucher worth 250 pounds which you can spend at the company's retail stores. The blog post then provides an example of what they mean by a "seduction attempt" by way of a screenshot of a Chatroulette chat session - and be warned, it's not what we would consider safe for work. Instead, what French Connection is promoting is essentially a nod to the often perverse nature of the popular webcam-surfing site.
Chatroulette for Marketing: Risky or Brilliant?
In fact, it's the possibility of running into something odd - or rather someone odd doing something odd- that makes Chatroulette so exciting for its users. Like the game of Russian Roulette from which its name is derived, most of the time nothing remarkable happens - you run into another bored voyeur looking back and you and maybe even have a casual conversation. But every now and then...bang!
And it's the bang that seems to appeal to French Connection. They want to send out their customers into the wild, wild west of Chatroulette to become the very sort of creepy perverts that make the site so darned intriguing. So now, dear Chatroulette users, you'll have to wonder whether that freaky guy/gal hitting on you is doing so because they're actually a weirdo or if they're just trying to win a few bucks to spend at a clothing store.
Thanks to French Connection's bravery, they have the honor of being the first brand to attempt using Chatroulette for marketing purposes. However, if the contest goes well (i.e., it generates a lot of press), other marketers will likely soon follow suit.
Is that a good thing? We're not so sure. At least, it's not good for us, the Chatroulette surfers. Marketers, though, may think it's a downright brilliant move. And maybe it is - after all, who would have thought that anyone could have figured out how to promote a brand on a service like this? Still, we sort of wish the marketers would leave this one alone. Stick to Facebook and Twitter and the other straight-laced social sites of the Internet - leave Chatroulette and all its unrestricted debauchery alone.