By Mike Fearon (@mdfearon)
Yesterday, I went around the office to play a quick word association game with my fellow SHIFTers. During which I begged the question, “When I say Chatroulette, you say?” My respectful, upstanding co-workers responded with:
“Creepy” “Naked” “Sketchy” “Nudity” “Gross” “Surprising” “Creepy Guys” “Laughter”
Since the days of El Pres sporting a tux on Barstool Sports’ Chatroulette Wednesdays, Daily Show spoofs and Merton, the Ben Folds impersonator, marketers have been looking for a way to connect with consumers on Chatroulette (or whatever Chatroulette becomes now that experiment #1 is over – I hope this experiment has nothing to do with 2009’s “The Box.” If it does, we’re doomed).
Cracking the Chatroulette code is not easy. At worst, you’re left with impressions like those top of mind for my co-workers and I. At best, you find one or two fully clothed, intelligible people to chat up. Then, against all odds, came last week’s Chatroulette promotional campaign for the horror genre film “The Last Exorcism,” premiering today.
If you haven’t seen the video, it’s a compilation of creeps who think they are about to peep on a girl on Chatroulette but are then left completely skeeved out when their would-be exhibitionist goes full-on Linda Blair exorcist. Warning: Put your ear buds in, this video contains NSFW language (are you surprised? This is Chatroulette after all).
As a movie buff, I really appreciate this effort – especially knowing the rules of the horror genre made famous by Wes Craven’s “Scream.” If you’re not down with the rules, the Cliff’s Notes version states that if you do anything inappropriate (drugs, sex, drinking, etc.) then something bad will happen to you. In the above video, the Chatroulette folks were breaking the horror genre rules and quickly given their comeuppance.
In the end, the marketing campaign may be more memorable than the film (remember “The Blair Witch Project?”). It will be interesting to see if the video’s two million-plus views translate to the big screen, but I would never have considered watching a PG-13 version of “The Exorcist” without “The Last Exorcism” Chatroulette video. Personally, I find it poetic that the best example of marketing on a platform notorious for its creepiness happens to be for a creepy movie. Hopefully, this is not the last we’ll see of a company’s creative use of Chatroulette.