Brilliant — French Connection is using Chatroulette as a source of free publicity. Always good to see a healthy market at work, and entrepreneurial ways to use public space:
Chatroulette, the random, anonymous webcam chat room that found a huge audience of exhibitionists and voyeurs, has now found itself a marketing partner in clothing retailer FCUK (French Connection UK).
It’s a perfect match. FCUK is notorious for shock-based PR and marketing. And Chatroulette is shocking a lot of visitors.
The FCUK + Chatroulette promotion encourages the first person to prove they have used Chatroulette to set up a date wins $375 of vouchers to spend at a French Connection store on a “real life date-worthy outfit.”
So FCUK gets no-stress publicity and Chatroulette gets a downlow corporate partner. Sounds good for everyone.
But check out French Connection’s reluctance to commit to the whole thing. Evidently there is such thing as bad publicity, if the corporate folks violate that sacred trust of irony:
According to an article in AdAge, William Woodhams, director of marketing at French Connection, isn’t too concerned about the possible pitfalls of sending people to hook up with strangers online. He said, “We’ve hijacked the site; we’re a fashion brand and we wanted to get involved in an irreverent way. It’s a fun medium, although it’s also weird, sad and strange. We only put up a small prize, because we don’t want to look like we’re trying too hard.”
If Youtube’s tagline is “express yourself,” Chatroulette’s subtext could be: “You have nothing to lose.” Commit, French Connection! Don’t be a hipster. Belly up to this brave new marketing world, and own it!