Watch the Spot

Floundering Startup Color Makes Sexy Commercial to Explain Its Pivot

YouTube Spot Depicts Group of Skinny-Dippers Using Live-Streaming App

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Startup Color raised $41 million last year and then went back to the drawing board after its proximity-based photo-sharing app failed to gain traction. Last month it unveiled a reiteration that enables users to broadcast snippets of video live to their Facebook friends, and it made a pretty polished video to explain the new product.

A minute-long video uploaded to YouTube last week shows a group of attractive adults in their 20s stripping down to their underwear and jumping into a pool, where one couple passionately kisses. A man in the group has opened Color on his phone to broadcast the goings-on to his Facebook friends, and the video cuts to someone on a city street holding his phone to watch a live feed from the pool party. The exuberant tone celebrates youthful spontaneity rather than caution about internet voyeurism. Another spot uploaded last month to coincide with Color's relaunch shows a group on a roadtrip in a Volkswagen van broadcasting to their friends.

Both spots are billed as "commercials" on Color's YouTube channel (which also includes an instructional video explaining how to broadcast on Color), but the company declined to comment on further distribution plans.

Tech startups generally don't have a marketing budget or are resistant to the idea of overt marketing, which make Color's spots notable. One exception is Path, a mobile app that 's positioned as an alternative to Facebook that lets users share selectively with close friends. A spot uploaded in November 2010 showing a man getting ready to propose to his girlfriend while paging through fond memories stored on the app has collected more than 100,000 views on YouTube.

Color had 1,000 daily active users as of today, according to AppData. Its spots have had limited viewership, with the pool-party video collecting about 6,000 views so far.

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