A little-known aspect of Justin Bieber's rabid Internet fan base is the role that Bieber's camp plays in stoking the flames. Last night, Bieber's manager held an impromptu webcam chat and urged girls to lure guys into his new movie.
It's the stuff of legend among the Beliebers: Justin Bieber will sometimes spontaneously post a link on Twitter to a chat room and interact with fans. Last night it was only Justin's manager, Scooter Braun, who tweeted a link to the webcam service Tinychat and hung out for about an hour. But 600 tween- and teenaged girls still joined to worship the adult who probably knows Justin better than anyone except his mom. Once in the room, Braun made the few Beliebers lucky enough to be "on cam" turn off their mic and respond via a system of thumbs-up/thumbs-down. (Most were limited to text-only chat.)
He then brainwashed them. It was imperative that the girls spread the word about Justin's upcoming movie, he told them. They should do for Never Say Never 3D, which opens next month, what women did for Sex and the City: "We want you guys to tell all the girls all over the world to get dressed up, put your make-up on, put your high heels on. look fancy and go see the movie." And they must bring boys: "Tell all the boys that if they want to make out they have to go to the back of the theater with you for the Justin Bieber movie. You will not be allowed any makeout session at any other movies for Valentine's Day weekend."
Here's the audio from this part of the chat:
Priming these die-hard fans through a medium they're so comfortable with is a brilliant marketing strategy. After the chat, the girls hit Twitter and Tumblr and YouTube, carrying the Good News from Scooter. "Scooter Braun on the the tinychat said to get all fancy when you see the premier… I'm down with that…" tweeted itssMackenziee. (At the top of this post is a video taken by a fan while Scooter discussed rumors that Justin and fellow child star Selena Gomez were dating.)
But it's also kind of unsettling. Here's a 30-year-old man on webcam instructing a horde of girls half his age to lure young boys into theaters with the promise of make out sessions that are in reality secret favors to Justin Bieber, the boy they really want, who also happens to be the 30-year-old man's client, and also happens to be making him very rich.