5 brands that are pushing the boundaries of live video
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past couple of years, you’ve probably seen how live streaming is taking over the internet. For good reason too. According to Livestream and New York Magazine Survey, “Live video is more appealing to brand audiences: 80% would rather watch live video from a brand than read a blog, and 82% prefer live video from a brand to social posts.” (Source). No wonder brands big and small are finding new and innovative ways to engage with their audiences through live video activations.
Below are 5 excellent examples to fuel your inspiration and get the wheels moving on how you can incorporate live streaming into your campaigns:
1. Virgin Holidays Live Commercial
In August of 2016, Virgin Holidays ran a campaign called “Seize the Holidays” in which they broadcast a commercial that was made up of 19 different live videos from vacation destinations around the world. They encouraged people to “grab your holiday by the horns” by booking a vacation to one of the featured exotic locations. The commercial starts with a live stream from space looking down on earth, then cuts to a woman reading a book on the beaches of Barbados, then to a woman meditating at a temple in Thailand, then to a group surfing in the South Pacific, and so on, and so on. The campaign provided people a real-world look at what vacations could be like in each of those destinations, as opposed to the perfectly staged experiences you see in regular commercials.
And as anyone who’s worked in live streaming will tell you, no matter how much prep you make, NOTHING goes off without a single hitch. You’ll see at second 17 of this commercial, something went wrong with the stream from California and all you see are colored bars for a few seconds.
2. Woody Harrelson’s live film, Lost in London
In early 2017, Woody Harrelson attempted an unprecedented feat by filming and broadcasting live an entire feature length film to 500+ US movie theaters. Based on true events from his own life in 2002, the story is about a wild night in London in which Woody eventually find himself in jail. They started filming at 2am and continued for another 1 hour and 40 minutes. As you can imagine the logistics required to pull this off were pretty insane. They had to shut down city blocks and run over 45 radio frequency aerials mounted on rooftops in addition to running loads of cable connecting the various locations.
Whether or not the story was a success, I’ll let you decide, but hats off to Woody and his crew for the incredible job they did executing this challenge and pushing industry boundaries.
3. BuzzFeed Exploding Watermelon
Ever wonder how many rubber bands you would have to put around a watermelon before it explodes? Well, it turns out you’re not the only one. On April 8th, 2016, BuzzFeed ran a live video in which two employees, dressed in hazmat suits, placed rubber bands on a watermelon, one at a time, until it eventually exploded. The video was a sensation, to say the least. Over 807,000 people watched concurrently at the peak of its 45-minute runtime. People couldn’t look away. Social media was blowing up as people anticipated the point of eruption. One user tweeted “Help why am I in a bar watching buzzfeed trying to explode a watermelon.” Another posted on Facebook “I was supposed to pick the kids up from school 40 minutes ago!” Another tweeted, “The year is 2030 and my son asks ‘Daddy where were you when @BuzzFeed exploded a watermelon with rubber bands as 700,000 people watched on?”
The BuzzFeed team knocked it out of the park with this one as brand engagement and social interactions reached unprecedented levels. Oh, and in case you’re still wondering, the answer is 686 rubber bands.
4. Doritos Mix Claw Machine on Twitch
In 2016, Doritos—with the help of The Marketing Arm and HYFN—managed to combine the worlds of analog and virtual gaming in a successful live campaign to promote their new product, Doritos Mix, a combination of four unique chips in one bag. Via Twitch, the largest community of gaming enthusiasts on the planet, Doritos broadcast live their custom-made claw machine and allowed users to control the claw arm before it dropped by entering commands via the group chat window. They engaged Twitch gaming influencers to rally the users and organize their efforts to pick up balls assigned to varying levels of prizes.
This award-winning campaign was a hugely successful and showed an innovative way to use live streaming technology to drive social interaction and brand engagement.
5. Mission Athlete: Live workout with Reggie Bush
Mission Athlete is a performance active-wear brand whose clothes and accessories boast an innovative technology that either keep you warm or cool during your workout. They have endorsements by top-tier athletes like Dwayne Wade, Serena Williams, David Villa, and Reggie Bush to name a few. In 2016, they used live video to take you inside the gym with Reggie and his trainer. Users were able to see first-hand what kind of workouts Reggie endured as an NFL athlete. It’s one thing to read about these intense workouts, but it’s another to see Reggie actually doing them live, in real time. Lucky fans were rewarded with signed memorabilia for watching and engaging with Reggie during the live workout.
Mission has successfully been able to use live video to expand their reach by tapping into the fan bases of their premier sponsored athletes.
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