Virgin Mobile has certainly found a way to draw attention to a cause. As part of its latest charity stunt, the carrier is asking people to post striptease videos of themselves (think bathing suit, not birthday suit so the site says) and promised to donate a new item of clothing for every five times a video is watched. But its not just the thrill of seeing people take it off that’s creating enough hits to crash the site this morning. Like all good ideas, the site garnered some public controversy over the weekend.
Though Virgin partnered with the National Network For Youth (NN4Y), a Washington, D.C., lobby group representing more than 150 homeless youth focused organizations, for the promotion, called Stip2Clothe, some charities named as partners on the site weren’t so thrilled by the idea. Catholic Charities, which encompasses over 1,700 local charitable agencies across the country, reportedlysaid it was never consulted about the campaign, calling it “distasteful,” “inappropriate” and “exploitative.” The objecting organizations names have been taken off the site, and NN4Y has reportedly said the campaign is being “re-evaluated.”
But Virgin Mobile hasn’t thrown in the, um, towel… Spokesperson Corinne Nosal said, in an interview, that despite criticism, the carrier does not have plans to end the promotion: “At this point we are not pulling the site, this issue [of homeless youth] is really important to us, we’ve had over 12,000 hits for the site so far, and we want to continue to raise awareness for this important issue.”
And spokesperson Jayne Wallace wrote in an email, that the site experienced technical problems this morning due to “an unexpected increase in the volume of traffic,” and that the carrier “plans to continue to leverage this to raise awareness of the issue…We are talking to celebrities about adding videos and will set up a few areas where people can tape their own video, at the Virgin Mobile Festival.”