CHAT ROULETTE : New Social Media Marketing Landscape for Brands?

This is a guest post by Grace Gordon the Marketing Manager/Digital Ninja at Socialista Media.

Grace meeting her long lost twin on Roulette

It was only a matter of time before more daring brands turned to the 90’s-esque Online chat phenomenon, Chatroulette as an unchartered terrain of marketing activity. In recent weeks we are starting to see the first glimpses of these amongst brands in the edgy youth / fashion segment.

Last week I received a Press email from irreverent fashion eyewear brand SABRE that stood out: it involved a call to get involved in a Chatroulette “Creep Roulette” competition. The premise is simple: Send through your creepiest SABRE-related Chatroulette screenshot, win some free sunglasses. You can check out the details on that here.

Only days later I discovered that French fashion label FCUK have also launched a Chatroulette challenge, offering up $250 worth of free FCUK goodies for those savvy social media dudes who manage to “charm a woman on Chatroulette”. You can read more about the challenge here, and check out the attempts thusfar.

There has been a fair amount of debate already even in these early days, about the suitability of Chatroulette for marketing activity. I do believe both of these competitions are cleverly-executed forays into Chatroulette as a space for brands. I have read many bloggers and bonafide Marketing practitioners alike argue that Chatroulette is not worth the time invested, due to the fact it is a one-on-one interaction and therefore cannot reach a mass audience. However, these competitions tap into the reach of Chatroulette beyond the one-one-one connection of users, by prompting users to screenshot their activity and share it with the brand (and, no doubt, as a flow on effect, their friends also, via multiple other social media channels). The end result is in effect, branded meme-like content. The activity at this Early Adopter stage has also helped to position the brands as edgy purveyors of cultural phenomenons (such as Chatroulette), which is not something that is easy to pull off, and an invaluable quality for a young lifestyle or fashion brand.

My kudos go out to these brands for using Chatroulette in a cheeky and daring way. What are your thoughts?
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