Posts Tagged ‘Chatroulette’

Location, location, location

Foursquare is to the zeitgeist what Chatroulette was all those days ago. Location-based targeting has been gathering steam for some time, and the potential blossomed with the release of the iPhone 3GS last year. For the user, it allows them to ‘check in’ to a certain place, alerting those who follow them. If said user checks in to a certain place often enough, they become ‘mayor’ of that location. Moreover, with time a map builds up showing definitively where the user tends to go. It is this last point that is of particular interest to advertisers, who are always desperate for more facts and figures to make it appear that the industry they work in is one of cold, hard, calculable facts, with no irrational outliers in order to better know the consumer they are targeting.

An exhibition detailing the evolution of maps is currently on show at London’s British Library; today we seem to rely on maps ever more as they become – with GPS functionality – an important feature on most mobile devices. It was reported earlier today that the Foursquare service has now exceeded forty million check-ins. Not one to miss out on anything that involves the decay of personal privacy, Facebook shortly intends to release its own version where users can check-in through their site, with McDonald’s already on board.

eConsultancy has a list of ten select marketing examples using geo-location, however Zeitgeist are going to focus on two specifically. The first is that of the Financial Times and its walled garden. Borrowing a page from other brands of getting a user while they’re young, the FT may soon begin providing free access to those who check-in in certain areas. Those areas being “select coffee shops located by major financial centers and near business schools including Columbia, Harvard, the London School of Economics, London Business School and London’s Cass Business School”, in other words, superior centres of academia, that Zeitgeist may or may not call an alma mater. According to, “Only the ‘mayors’ will be granted a free pass, and only for a limited time”. It’s a nice incentive and it will be interesting to see how competitive the race for free content becomes among ostensibly cash-strapped students.

The other example Zeitgeist likes is that of the luxury shoemaker Jimmy Choo, who have decided to organise a shoe hunt. As one blog describes it, “The idea is pretty simple, a pair of Jimmy Choo’s new trainers will check into some of the most exclusive and fashionable places in London, if you can track them down and catch them while still checked in at a venue, then they are yours.” Sounds like a very fun idea and a fantastic excuse to run around town going to lots of great places. Let the games begin.

Overexposure on Chatroulette

March 22, 2010 Leave a comment

Having first flirted with the random video chatting site Chatroulette back in December 09, Zeitgeist has watched with interest as different parties have innovated in their use of the functionality provided by 17 year old Russian Andrey Ternovskiy.

The honour of being the first brand to base a marketing campaign on Chatroulette goes to French Connection who, as part of their ‘The Man, The Woman‘ campaign, offered men (and then women after they received complaints) the chance to win a £250 French Connection voucher by arranging a date on the site.

Clearly not all brands will want to be associated with the random and uncontrolled nature of the site, where there is a slightly greater chance of seeing an unsightly erection than in a 1960’s architects casebook, but such a risque experience appealed to the brand that is arguably best know for its FCUK campaign.

The random nature of the site offers users an element of excitement as the user never knows who they will connect with next, which creates a ‘just one more’ click mindset before they finally turn off.

One reason you might want to stay on is that you could find yourself serenaded, either by a man in his bedroom or by Ben Folds in front of 2,000 people. After which, you’ll find yourself on YouTube viewed by millions.

Depending on what gets them goings, the risk of such exposure may encourage or indeed discourage people from wearing underwear in front of their webcams.

If the intimacy of a one to one chat being shared online grates with the initial idea behind the site, as we mentioned last week, the layer of anonymity is further eroded by which shows the location of each user.

Zeitgeist watches and waits, fully and respectably dressed, to see whether Chatroulette is here to stay or will just be an amusing memory in a few months time.

Spinning the wheel of anonymity

March 11, 2010 1 comment

Chatroulette is big. BIG. French Connection have recently leaped into the fray. It reminds Zeitgeist of the olden days of chatting with various random people on walled gardens like CompuServe with complete anonymity. However, as eConsultancy reports, that veil of anonymity is about to be lifted. was recently set up, displaying the location of the user and their images, using their IP address. As the article points out,

“The privacy and security implications of this are obvious. The fact that the average internet user probably doesn’t know what an IP address is or how it can be used only makes the situation worse, as individuals who may otherwise be inclined not to participate join the fun not knowing that they could be identified and tracked down.”

Zeitgeist – enduring various men doing disgusting things – has had the pleasure of using Chatroulette to chat with a photographer in New York who shoots for ad agencies that include the blessed Ogilvy, as well as inquisitive Frenchwomen and dancing Canadians. It all feels a bit weird though, and something not far removed from the masque sequence in “Eyes Wide Shut”.