Special Report: Brand Livestream
Kevin Best, Contributing Editor, BrandStorytelling.tv
Highlighting Impactful Live Streaming
Vans Launches Daily Livestream Broadcasts with Channel 66
The skateboarding shoe and apparel company Vans has launched Channel 66, a free digital livestream broadcasting network. The channel went live on February 8th, and broadcasts every weekday starting at 11Am EST on the Vans website. The live feeds are based out of flagship Vans stores located in Los Angeles, Mexico City, Chicago and New York, with local programming from each city that aims to feel like a combination of a radio station and public access TV.
While this new project should obviously help drive customers to the Vans website, Vans has expressed that the channel launch really has two main goals: to act as a direct response to the isolation felt by everyone during Covid-19, and to also put a spotlight on local creatives and brick and mortar small businesses that might be struggling right now. Vans is known to be a regular sponsor of live events like concerts and skate competitions, so the brand had to brainstorm how they could pivot and stay involved with their community. While most brands are using livestreams to unveil their latest product, Channel 66 is aiming to provide entertainment for Vans customers.
Rather than having competing programming, the live feed bounces around from each of the cities throughout the day with the start of each new program. An average day will have five or six events on the schedule. There is an expandable chat feature that customers can access if they sign up with their e-mail address, and the layout of the channel allows viewers to shop for Vans products above the video feed.
The live audio and video programming includes live music, DJ sets, and curated playlists, along with talks and workshops intended to cover music, art, food, and action sports like skateboarding. Local stores, restaurants, music venues and record labels will also be given airtime. One such show is called Chessboxing with GZA, which features the Wu Tang Clan member playing chess while chatting with other celebrities. Another is Shop Radio presented by Kingswell, a Los Angeles skate shop run by former pro skaters where the hosts and their guests discuss the ins and outs, importance and value of local skate shops.
Channel 66 is an interesting example of how a brand can use livestream not just as an advertisement, but a way to connect with its consumers. With the increasing demand for live content, offering free entertainment that resonates with their core audience should be bringing more and more people to Van’s website, while also helping local businesses in the community. Vans also recently launched its 12th annual Custom Culture art competition, which rewards high school students with a $50,000 grand prize for the best and most creative digital shoe designs.
Recent Live Streams from Top Brands
World Premier of 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander
Platform: Amazon Live
Date: February 16
Mitsubishi recently unveiled its 2022 Outlander in a 30 minute video on Amazon Live, the first vehicle launch on the platform that normally features product demonstrations and deal highlights. Amazon made a webpage that housed the video and also allowed customers to configure the new model in different ways, scroll through a photo gallery, and enter to win the car for free. Although customers won’t be able to directly purchase the vehicle from the site, the partnership makes sense because Mitsubishi is offering some free Amazon perks with the purchase: a 6-month free trial of the Amazon Music Unlimited Individual Plan, a free Amazon Echo Auto and 3-month Audible Premium Plus Membership. And with this partnership Amazon is announcing itself as a platform for the recent trend of livestream car reveals, which had up to this point been mostly been dominated by YouTube.
Soundcloud Player One Fortnite Tournament
Time: February 18
The audio platform Soundcloud hosted a Fortnite Tournament livestream, titled “Player One,” on Twitch featuring eight Soundcloud artists playing the game against each other. The event aired from 8-11pm EST on Soundcloud’s Twitch channel, which has 17.8k followers. Co-host Rico Nasty performed during the “halftime show,” which broadcast from the rapper’s hometown in Washington D.C. The crossover between music and video games felt natural for Soundcloud, which has reported finding that almost half of its users identify themselves as “gamers.” The livestream was the first in what Soundcloud hopes will be a series of gaming events to help showcase new musicians.
Audi e-tron GT World Premiere
Time: February 9
Audi joined the livestream car-unveiling wars with the world premiere of their new high performance electric sedan, the e-tron GT. The event, titled Celebration of Progress, lasted over an hour and was hosted on Audi’s YouTube channel, which was 91.2k subscribers. To help hype their latest model, Audi enlisted the help of three heavy hitters from fashion, music, and film: designer Stella McCartney, singer Janelle Monáe, and actor Tom Hardy. Monáe also performed a few songs during the unveiling. Short clips showed the brand ambassadors each talking about how their work ethic and philosophy aligned with Audi’s goals. Luxury cars are racing into the electric car market, with Jaguar recently announcing all of their new cars will be all-electric by 2025.
ON THE RADAR
Opportunities for Brands
Livestream Shopping Startup Talkshoplive Raises $3 million in Funding
Back in December, Brand Storytelling covered the rising popularity of livestream shopping platform Talkshoplive. The success has continued, as the company has just raised $3 million in seed funding from Spero Ventures, an investment firm known for working with tech startups. Talkshoplive has been making headlines recently for successful product launches with celebrities like Matthew McConaughey, Paul McCartney, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Garth Brooks. The company was founded in 2018, inspired by the surge in online shopping happening overseas in China.
While livestream shopping is suddenly becoming quite a crowded field in the US, Talkshoplive aims for easy access by not requiring users to download an app to tune in. The video player is directly on Talkshoplive’s website, and includes a clickable “buy button” wherever it is embedded. This could be particularly important if Talkshoplive’s target audience is skewing towards Boomers. While Talkshoplive hasn’t commented on the average age of their consumer, one can assume given the list of celebrities involved (other famous partners include Dolly Parton, Peter Frampton and Julie Andrews), it is skewing towards an older demographic. It’s no surprise that the generation that was used to “live shopping” back when it was on television on channels like QVC is embracing a new, easy-to-use livestream shopping platform that doesn’t need a mobile app.
The company has done particularly well so far helping musicians like Brooks move new albums, and authors and publishers with book sales. Talkshoplive reports that the publishers they are working with are saying sales on the site have been up to 8 times higher than on other platforms. The shopping “social network” is also focusing on moving into beauty products and food brands, with Food Network stars like Giada de Laurentiis and Alex Guarnecelli.
The recent hype around the company has no doubt been caused by the celebrities turning to Talkshoplive, but most of its partners are smaller brands and influencers. Talkshoplive has been hosting over 3,500 small businesses who are hoping to see big spikes in sales as well.
About Kevin Best
Kevin Best is a writer and film critic who lives in Los Angeles, California. He is the host of the podcast Sequel Rewrite, and is working on his first novel.