When Meerkat and Periscope debuted as the next big thing at SXSW earlier this year, marketers started salivating over the potential of live streaming video.
As with any new technology, some of the earliest use cases were pretty mundane. One of the first trending events on Periscope was #showusyourfridge, which involved people live streaming the contents of their refrigerators.
Like these earliest users, sometimes it feels like marketers get so excited about a new technology that they neglect to have an interesting story to share via the technology. Are marketers live streaming events that are really worth live streaming, or are they merely showing the mundane equivalent of what’s in their fridges?
Royal Caribbean just launched a Periscope campaign where they live stream what travelers are doing on a few of their cruises. These streams are not only posted on Periscope but on billboards around NYC. I think the concept has potential, but the most recent clip is a tiresome 15-minute video recording what a group of people decide to order for dinner. Is the fact that the original video is live really enough to make that interesting?
Contrast that with GE #Droneweek. In June, GE used Periscope to create a live drone’s-eye view of its jet engines, locomotives, wind turbines and other machinery. The footage was pretty riveting.
Sam Olstein, GE’s director of innovation, framed the Periscope campaign like this:
“When you give people a peek behind the curtain, they fall in love with the company. We’re treating it as a weeklong show where we stitch together a narrative to demonstrate the scale, size and impact of our machines…
“Video is one of the best formats today for storytelling. But the media landscape today is so incredibly fragmented that we need to be discoverable wherever there is an audience.”
What GE understood that I think Royal Caribbean may be missing is the importance of that narrative. Even when the video is live, I think you need a narrative.
Live streaming technology isn’t enough to make a remarkable marketing idea. When the novelty of live streaming wears off, is the story worth sharing?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the potential of live streaming video.
Here’s a related cartoon I drew right after SXSW.