Calvin Harris – Acceptable for the baiting?

Make sure you don’t leave the kids at home on August 18th, or you could, like the Bell family, land yourself with a £20,000 home repair bill to cover the damage of a skins style “Let’s trash the average family-sized house disco party” party thanks to the latest promotional stunt from team Calvin Harris.

Rachel Bill hit the headlines this April after she posted party invitations on social networking site which quickly got out of hand, following excessive syndication from community members. Spreading like wildfire, the party resulted in revellers trashing the Bells family home, urinating on Rachel’s mother’s wedding dress, stealing cash and jewellery and even chasing the neighbours with golf clubs to prevent intervention. Such a party that echoes that of the opening trailer for Skins (below).

To celebrate (or should we stay promote) Calvin’s album and his latest single Merrymaking At My Place, team Harris are calling on fans to stage house parties all over the UK simultaneously on Saturday 18th August.

You must register your party with their website first (data capture is a must!) before being granted access to their “Party microsite”, which at the time of writing wasn’t live – which is a bit of a shame – , however it promises to offer an online platform for fans, offering prizes, ideas and enabling communication between members.

There is no doubt that this stunt will appear all over the social networks as individual users upload their Calvin Harris style party videos and photographs on content networks including Flickr Youtube Google Video and the abovementioned ‘Party Microsite’ – and thus creating buzz and one way links to the Calvin Harris website.

This notion is only accentuated by the carrot and stick tactics that will see one Calvin perform a private acoustic set to one lucky host, in addition to personally delivering a £1500 cash prize (for the repairs no doubt).

However whilst many might be concerned of the wider ramifications of encouraging (albeit unintentionally) reckless behaviour, sexual promiscuity and excessive alcohol consumption, this campaign must be praised for tapping into the multiple social networks, stimulating cross platform content sharing and encouraging offline buzz…. There are not campaigns that we can say that about, particularly when considering the budget.

Whilst the social accountability of this campaign is bypassed with token small print, this is certainly somewhat out of the ordinary – but if team Harris wanted to provoke recreation, get blogged about, hit the headlines and ensure a legacy of video content uploads with the ultimate aim of increasing artist visibility and increased album sales, then I am sure, with this campaign, they will succeed.

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