Audiences and Brands on Chatroulette

The word convergence is an ill-treated media term these days. Though men had worked hard to bring globalisation around, yet the message conveyed by media platforms are increasingly inappropriate. You do not have to look too far for an example.  A very good example would be Chatroulette, a basic chat app made by a student for his friends and him which turned out to be a multi-million project where investors from venture capital firms took interest upon. They even offered him large sums of money in exchange for the ownership. Nevertheless, Andrey Ternovsky turned the offer down for he wanted to develop the site himself. And what turned out to be a step higher from normal chat services three years ago, has lost its stigma and used as a misguided platform for sex, bullying, racism and minor violence. For instance, lets look at the example below.

Eg. of conversations in Chatroulette

Eg. of conversations in Chatroulette

Concerning this, Andrey Ternovsky was even interviewed by the New York Times of what had become of Chatroulette and the reasons behind it. Quoting Andrey, “People that are naked are all over the Internet. I don’t like it, because I want a clean site, so I have added a “Report” button. Now if someone is reported three times they are banned from the site” ( Bilton, 2010).

Despite the akward image Chatroulette gives the audiences, nonetheless it also contributes as a marketing strategy to some. When we look at the kind of brand that would want to associate themselves with Chatroulette, you will be suprised. Ever heard of U.K.’s clothing retailer called the French Connection? They used this random chat service as a marketing push, approaching strangers through webcam. Regarding the contest held online, they promoted people to utilise the service and set a date from Chatroulette itself. The first person who does wins vouchers worth $375 to spend at a French Connection store.When interviewed the director of marketing at French Connection,William Woodhams, of his strategy of promoting, he says, “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.”

On the other hand Sassenbach Advertising, a German agency, engaged over 170,000 people per week with the Harley-Davidson brand message “Sorry I’m on the Road” on Chatroulette in 2010. Virtually with a nil budget, just a computer and a webcam, Sassenbach clearly saw an opportunity to increase Harley-Davidson’s target audience (single men). And here’s the feedback on how they responded to the advertising of Harley-Davidson.

Fairly Chatroulette does convey itself as a medium of convergence. Quoting Jenkins,” By convergence I mean the flow of content across multiple media platforms, the cooperation between multiple media industries, and the migratory behaviour of media audiences”.


French Connection Offers Shopping Spree to Winner Who Hooks Up Using the Webcam Chat Room, 2010, What Kind of Brands Associate With Chatroulette?, viewed 10 April 2014

Nice Idea: ChatRoulette and Harley-Davidson Motorcycles, 2010, Bikes in the Fast Lane: Motorcycle News, viewed 10 April 2014



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