Special Report: Brand Livestream
Kevin Best, Contributing Editor, BrandStorytelling.tv
Highlighting Impactful Live Streaming
Klarna, the online payment company that allows its users to split their payments into four parts, interest free, hosted its first livestream shopping event. The two-day event, titled “Hauliday” took place over March 1st and 2nd. Klarna partnered with Cosmopolitan Magazine to livestream the shopping experience from Macy’s flagship store in New York.
The event was brainstormed by Cosmopolitan’s publisher Nancy Berger, who was inspired by the enormously successful model for Alibaba’s annual Single’s Day in China. Exclusive deals were offered for Macy’s products, as well as other brands, including Adidas, Foot Locker, Saks Off 5th, Express, and Rebecca Minkoff. Cosmopolitan put out a handy guide for customers to find all of the brands participating, as well as a list of their top picks.
Parts of the event were hosted by Jackie Miranne, who is the daughter of Joy Mangano, the inventor of the Miracle Mop who was a fixture on the Home Shopping Network in the 90s. Miranne’s involvement was an interesting nod to both how shopping from home used to be in decades past, and also how much things have changed.
All of this was available through the mobile app ShopShops. Klarna included a $20 credit with the code HAULIDAY for those downloading it for the first time. The code also worked for additional discounts across all of the brands, with some of them offering up to 30% off and even 65% off sale items during the 48 hour event. ShopShops, the livestream app from China, has been gaining steam in the US along with the rise of livestream shopping the past year. With their established track record and ease of use, many brands are turning to ShopShops for events like Hauliday, instead of trying to build their own platform from the ground up.
Klarna, for example, has a mobile app for customers to use to bookmark their favorite stores and brands, which it certainly would have preferred to be driving people towards during this event. But the app wasn’t built to support livestream shopping, since that wasn’t the original purpose of the e-payment brand. This meant that for now, Klarna had to tell its shoppers to download the ShopShops app to participate. Klarna has expressed interest in creating their own video platform soon, which no doubt means they are permanently pivoting towards livestream, and planning to roll out several more events like Hauliday long term.
Hauliday is part of Klarna’s larger push to become a household name for online shoppers. They also recently aired a Superbowl commercial starring Maya Rudolph highlighting their interest free payment plans. The Swedish company is gaining popularity by helping shoppers buy things and pay over the course of 30 days. If they can continue to connect their US customers with their favorite brands for discounted events like Hauliday, that is certain to continue.
Recent Live Streams from Top Brands
Lexus unveils Twitch fan designed one-of-a-kind “Gaming Car”
Reach: 412K Views
Date: February 18
Back in January, Brand Storytelling reported on Lexus partnering with Twitch streamer Fuslie to let gaming fans customize a one-off Lexus IS. The project has come full circle now, with the crowdsourced car being recently unveiled in another livestream on Fuslie’s Twitch channel, which has 785k followers. The hour-long stream followed Fuslie as she was given a tour of all the bells and whistles on the showpiece, which had all been chosen by her fans. The theme of the inside of the car is Neon Tokyo, and it’s complete with a gaming console in the passenger seat and LED lights in the ceiling meant to mimic driving under Tokyo skyscrapers. While the car isn’t exactly practical to drive around in, Lexus is banking on using this stunt to connect with gamers and younger consumers. While Lexus itself doesn’t have a Twitch page, it has certainly noticed that Honda has seen some success building a gaming community on the platform.
Spotify: Stream On
Time: February 22
Spotify livestreamed its annual Stream On report on its YouTube channel, which has 1.1 million subscribers. The event detailed what the brand has been working on the past year to help connect musicians and their fans, and help musicians get paid for listens. The almost two hour update included sections about how the platform’s playlists work, international expansion, it’s embrace of the podcasting industry, and also had special guests like Billie Eilish and her brother Finneas talking about the importance of the quality of Spotify’s HiFi. The event concluded with a surprise “encore” performance by Justin Bieber, who performed versions of his songs “Holy”, “Lonely” and “Anyone”, in pre-recorded videos. Bieber is currently the second most-streamed artist on Spotify with 63 million monthly listeners (The Weeknd is in the top spot).
Billie Eilish Concert Livestream
Brand: Apple (Apple TV+)
Platform: Apple Music, Apple TV, YouTube
Time: February 26
AppleTV+ recently promoted its exclusive documentary about musician Billie Eilish, Billie Eilish: The World’s A Little Blurry, with a livestream performance by the artist herself. While the documentary is only available on AppleTV+, the forty-five minute show was also available to watch on Eilish’s YouTube channel, which has 38.9 million subscribers. Besides the concert, it also included a conversation between Eilish and Apple Music host Zane Lowe about her life and career. Clips from the documentary, which was filmed between 2018 and 2020, were also shown, focusing on Eilish’s relationship with her brother Finneas, who she’s been making music with since they were children. Reviews for the documentary have so far been overwhelmingly positive.
ON THE RADAR
Opportunities for Brands
TikTok looks towards UFC livestream partnership and beyond
TikTok has recently partnered with the UFC ultimate fighting league to offer live weekly content. This will include exclusive behind the scenes live content surrounding fight nights. The brand partnership makes sense given that the UFC has an active and growing fan base on the platform. While ESPN will continue to air the actual fights themselves, TikTok seems to think that fans want all the live UFC content they can get their hands on.
UFC currently has 6.3 million followers on TikTok, putting it just ahead of the NFL’s 6.1 million and making it the third most popular sports league on the platform (behind the NBA’s 12.3 million and World Wrestling Federation’s 10.3 million). The WWE in particular has had success building its follower count with TikTok kick-off shows before Pay Per View events, something that the UFC will be emulating.
This is not TikTok’s only recent foray into sports partnership. They also just reached a multiyear deal to be the main sponsor on the jersey sleeves of both the Portland Timbers Major League Soccer team and the Portland Thorns FC National Women’s Soccer League. TikTok branding will also be featured throughout the stadium, and just like the deal with UFC, both teams will be showing exclusive behind the scenes, weekly content during their seasons. TikTok is hoping that rabid sports fan bases like those of the Timbers and Thorns will be drawn to use the app more to stay up to date on their favorite team.
TikTok has been making moves like this to raise its profile and solidify its presence in the world of livestream content. After their successful test with WalMart to roll out live shopping directly through the TikTok app back in December, they have expressed interest in moving forward with a program that will allow influencers to receive commissions on the products customers buy through their Tiktok page. This would be a huge motivation for both brands and influencers to use TikTok as a livestream shopping platform more and more. All of this seems to be aimed at expanding what TikTok can be both now and in the future, as it reads the changing landscape of what consumers want from their social apps.
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.