Friday, 4 February 2011

♔ Using Chat Roulette to Increase HIV Awareness

Chat Roulette brings the risk element of its Russian namesake to the world of instant messaging. For the uninitiated, Chat Roulette is somewhere between Skype and StumbleUpon, the site pairs random strangers from around the world together for webcam-based conversations. Participants can choose to either chat to the person they have found themselves talking to or press next to be partnered with another random person, with most 'chats' lasting a few fleeting seconds. As could probably be predicted, the site has attracted a large number of exhibitionists and as such users can expect to be greeted with the sight of a penis with every 5-10 clicks.  

So far, a few brands have tried to take advantage of Chat Roulette as a marketing vehicle, including French Connection and Giffgaff. Now online condom store Condomerie has taken the initiative to create an HIV awareness campaign using Chat Roulette. The brand recruited a woman to sit semi-naked in front of a webcam and play Chat Roulette. Covering her breasts was a sign that was illegible when she was holding it close to her chest. Once she had got her fellow chatter's attention, she would move the sign closer to the webcam so that they could read the message "Bingo! You are now in touch with an HIV infected person. Don't play Russian roulette in real life", along with the URL 

Most of the men the women ended up chatting to are at first visibly turned on by the sight of the attractive woman, before taking a closer look to read the message.  This piece of guerilla marketing has been turned into a viral video (below) to encourage condom use.