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Chat up a live parrot on Facebook

Not getting enough Facebook action? No problem. Gigaset's chatty parrot will be happy to blather with you live on the site to promote the company's L410 cordless speakerphone clip. Just don't ask him about his personal life.

Gigaset parrot on Facebook
Who's a pretty boy? You are! You are! Gigaset

Few things warm the heart quite like a goofy publicity stunt. P.T. Barnum once had an elephant plow a field. German phone manufacturer Gigaset is right on Barnum's wavelength. Animals get attention. In this particular case, the animal is a chatty British Gold Macaw on Facebook.

OK, let's review. We have a parrot. We have Facebook. Put the two together in a live-chat format and you get people from around the world jawing with a bird over the Internet's most popular social-networking site.

I had the opportunity to briefly interview the bird (actually, it's a team of three birds taking different shifts). Certain keywords are likely to set him off. I was instructed that he likes peanuts, but that he was much more interested in the topics of chocolate and dogs.

In all this excitement, it might be easy to forget exactly why we're talking to a bird on Facebook in the first place. The parrot is supposed to pitch Gigaset's new L410 hands-free clip for cordless phones. He's a lousy pitchman. His obsession with chocolate completely overrides his ability to speak eloquently about the clip's tech specs.

For the record, the L410 is designed for home use and can be clipped to your clothes as a wearable speakerphone. It works with DECT-GAP phones and runs 49.99 euros. Germans gets first crack at it this month.

Now, back to the bird. The parrots will be on duty until the 9th of May between 3 a.m. and 1 p.m. PT. There are a few simple rules. Be patient. Don't swear. He won't answer questions about his personal life, but topics such as biscuits and chickens are OK.

Your friends will want proof. Make sure your Webcam is in good working order and you will end up with a video of yourself talking to the parrot to spread around on YouTube and Facebook. This is viral marketing, after all.