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How live will change the world and why brands must embrace the ‘no safety net’


By Naomi Taylor | Client Services Manager

March 7, 2017 | 4 min read

The concept of live is becoming more and more a part of our digital consumption. From Trump’s presidential speeches, to #Drummondpuddlewatch and the Lad Bible’s iconic streaming of ice cream melting, the content on offer is varied, bold and not averse from risk. In the post truth world, live could bring consumers closer to brands through democratised live content which has not been planned or edited in any way whatsoever.

Cult LDN brought together a panel of industry experts from Edition (Vice Media), House of Holland, Airbnb and Facebook at the Protein Studios as part of their #CultHosts series, to discuss how brands should be embracing live to further engage consumers, what can go right, and also, what can go wrong.

Ian Crocombe, global head of creative at Facebook, commented on the creative ways that brands and advertisers could be utilising live. “There are so many opportunities for brands to use innovative ways to engage with consumers. For brands, there must be a point to activating a campaign via Facebook or Instagram, there must be some importance and purpose to their content.

“The most memorable use of live for me was when Cancer Research campaigned during a real life colonoscopy on Channel 4 to raise awareness of the impact of funding research. The risks here were obvious, yet the fact Cancer Research were bold enough to do this shows their transparency and their responsibility in raising awareness about the charity and what they do with the money raised.”

Jack Guppy, head of digital at Vice’s Edition spoke about live in the context of the music world. “Live has brought the performance to fans’ living rooms. The interaction between artists and their fan bases has completely shifted.” For example, being able to live stream Beiber’s performance brings him closer to the Beliebers who were unable to get tickets. The use of live for bands who are a little younger and looking for exposure is also invaluable. These invaluable experiences can be translated across industries such as food and drink, travel, charities and of course media publications.

That’s not to say that live is for all brands. Of course, when undertaking a live stream, there is that element of uncertainty as anything could happen. This is particularly ominous after shocking events last summer when a girl live streamed her boyfriend being shot by the police after being pulled over in the car.

Sophie de Kepper at Airbnb describes live as a marketing tool with “no safety net. With live you must embrace the risks and take into account the environment and the people around you. People are craving something human and natural.”

Emmeli Kimhi, head of digital at House of Holland talks about the monetisation of live, particularly in fashion. “There is a place for live in fashion, but this doesn’t make it any less daunting. The fact that anything can happen, as well as having little budget is quite scary for brands. However, the industry itself must embrace it as an advertising tool, for example, swipe up to see the inspo for this look.”

Unlike social’s counterparts, live streaming is not easy to measure. It is difficult to engage how long people have been watching the stream for compared to measuring engagement on Facebook with likes or reactions.

Despite this lack of innovation in measuring the impact of live, it should definitely be on the radar for brands this year. Crocombe commented: “If you have a good internet connection, then live is a democratiser. There will be a shift in the 'echo chamber' that is our social streams by publishing live, unedited raw content for consumers.”

Periscope, Facebook, Instagram stories and Snapchat stories are channeling real content to the real world. Watch this space.

Cult LDN are a creative digital communications agency working with clients such as Agent Provocateur, Rimmel and Barbour. The next #CultHosts event will be taking place on May 3rd. Check here for more details.

Technology Live Streaming Facebook

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Cult's ideas and insight take some of the world’s biggest beauty, fashion, luxury and wellness brands beyond their comfort zone to drive tangible business value. Founded in London in 2012 by Bridey Lipscombe and Cat Turner, we launched a New York studio in 2018, a global production house in 2019, and now have over 40 staff and an annual turnover of $8m.

Our innovative campaigns deliver authority, personality and relevance for our clients, be they legacy brands or start-ups. New business wins in 2019 included ELEMIS, Burberry, ghd, Rodan + Fields, Kopari and Pepsi-Lipton International’s latest plant powered energy drink YULA. Existing clients Sally Hansen, dunhill and Coty also extended our creative remit. Cult have worked with icons including Beyoncé, Katy Perry, Vivienne Westwood and Lady Gaga, while also recently being the first agency to develop a social drop-model for Marc Jacobs, which generated a sales uplift of over 250%.

The business’ R&D arm launched Mindscape, a mental health voice app for Amazon Alexa and Google Home, in conjunction with charity Mind. The app received critical acclaim and Mindscape 2.0 will be launched later in the year. Cult have recently appointed a new Head of Strategy, Charlotte Bunyan, their first Communications Director, Hugo Eyre-Varnier and signed award-winning futurist author Lucie Greene to collaborate on Cult Futures, their new insight and incubation program.

Clients include :

M.A.C Cosmetics, ELEMIS, Nike, Burberry, Sally Hansen, GHD, Kopari, Rodan + Fields, Amazon Fashion, Pepsico, Umbro, St. Tropez, Revlon Professional, FarFetch, Sarah Jessica Parker Fragrances, Agent Provocateur, Royal Salute, Kurt Geiger, Tod's

Awards include :

2018: Shortlisted Campaign's Independent Agency of the Year, The Drum Independent Agency of the Year Top 100 2017: The Drum Network Social Media Agency of the Year 2016: Brand Republic Agency of the Year 2015: BIMA Hot 100 (Agency Co-Founder Listed), Digital Mavericks, Top 10 (Both Agency Co-Founders listed) Clio Image Awards, Experiential (winner)

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