Special Report 
Brand Live Stream

by Will Clark, Contributing Editor,

Highlighting Brands Innovating with Live Streaming

Celebrity/Influencer: Colter Wall, and 10 other artists
Brand: Ram, Harman Kardon, National FFA Organization
Platform: Facebook live
Reach: 400k views (most recent session)
Time: April – July (weekly)

In today’s virtual environment, livestream concerts are one of the most popular ways for fans and artists to connect. Embracing this shift, G7 Entertainment Marketing  has worked to partner brands with artists to create an ongoing cadence of content, repeatedly reaching the Top 10 on Pollstar’s Livestream Chart. 

Jessica Abel, Senior Director of Growth & Development at G7, was one of the people who brought G7’s Ram Jam Sessions to life.

“Everyone wanted to come together to create something that hadn't really been done before for the brand,” Abel said. “You had a lot of artists taking the opportunity to go online and perform for fans from home, but much of what artists were putting out there lacked structure and consistency, which led us to create a recurring series with Ram Trucks.”

The series was one of the first of its kind to find the intersection between branded content and at-home concerts. For the first few months of the pandemic, G7 produced 11 Ram Jam Sessions, but as the reality of life in quarantine set in, G7 had to come up with more creative solutions to engage with audiences.

“It’s fun to see your favorite rock star at home playing stripped down,” Abel said, “but you also want to see them in a bigger environment with some more production and better sound quality too. Our future Ram Jam Sessions will be filmed in legendary Nashville recording studios with multiple HD cameras and state of art sound engineering.”

In June, G7 contributed music and celebrity guest appearances to the Cisco Live virtual event that hosted over 80,000 registered guests.  

“Before the Cisco Live event went virtual, we already had contracts signed with The Chainsmokers, Fall Out Boy and Joan Jett to perform live at that event,” Abel said. “So very quickly, we had to re-negotiate the terms of those contracts and figure out what would resonate best in a virtual format.”

Again, livestreaming proved to be the best way to adapt, but G7 went beyond at-home performances. The Chainsmokers gave a behind-the-scenes tour of their home studio in LA, and Joan Jett ended up doing a Q & A with former MTV DJ Tabitha Soren.

“And the results were great,” Abel said. “We had tremendous feedback from both the attendees and the brands.”

So what can brands do to ensure their investment in livestreaming is a success? Abel explains G7’s approach.

“It’s really understanding from clients what is important right now,” Abel said. “We need to understand, are we driving to e-commerce? Are we giving people some sort of offer that they're going to redeem? Is the goal social engagement, and specifically what kind of social engagement? Is it about getting people to watch a live stream? Once we understand the client’s ultimate goal, we can make a tailored recommendation on a program or a platform that specifically meets that objective.”

The challenge, Abel said, is to cut through the screen and create a connection with audiences in ways that resonate.

“There are so many other things they could be watching online or on TV,” Abel said. There's no shortage of content out there. So how do you make it unique? How do you make it really specific for the audience and the brand?”

As the country begins to reopen, opportunities are starting to arise for more complex productions. 

“We were initially limited to doing things at home, but now we can get people into studios,” Abel said. “We can use untraditional venues with just the artist and a couple of production people to create something that’s a lot better.”

Abel and many others believe that livestreaming is not just a novelty solution to events in the time of a pandemic. 

“I think one of the things we're going to see is people starting to embrace the idea of hybrid events,” Abel said. “Maybe there is an in-person, smaller live experience, but brands are realizing now that they're able to reach much larger audiences through virtual platforms. So maybe in the future, there will be a virtual component that lives on because of the ability to scale and the ability to reach more people.”

The G7-produced livestream program with Robert Hall Winery  streams bi-weekly. So far, the Facebook Live series has featured performances from Larkin Poe, Hamilton Leithauser, and Keb’ Mo. The latest session takes place on Wednesday and will feature Nashville songwriter Elizabeth Cook.

“I do think virtual is going to sustain,” Abel said. “Fans are looking for those interesting, unique experiences, and I think you know it's going to be up to brands to get really creative with how they can use the technology that's available to connect with consumers in a meaningful way.”


Brand Bites
Recent Live Streams from Top Brands

Event: Galaxy Unpacked 
Platform: YouTube
Reach: 5 million views
Time/Date: August 5 @ 7 am PT 
Description: Instead of Samsung’s usual in-person event in NYC, the tech giant live streamed from Korea. With an emphasis on creating “The Next Normal,” Samsung announced a series of new products, and in lieu of an audience, presented in front of a wall of applauding faces. 

Event: Kia K5 Live 
Platform:  Twitter/YouTube
Reach: 41.5k views
Time/Date: July 29 @ 5 pm PT
Description: This live event involved professional Hollywood stunt drivers and was directed by Darrin Prescott, known for his stunt work in many films, including Ford vs. Ferrari. The brand introduced its reimagined sedan, called the K5. While the event was promoted on Twitter, it is available on YouTube as well.

Condé Nast
Event: Virtual Events Upfront 
Platform: N/A
Reach: N/A
Time/Date: August 18
Description: While not a livestream, this event signals a lasting shift in thinking for both event production and for brands. Last year, Condé Nast hosted 650 events globally. This year, many of their events have been virtual, and that trend is likely to continue. Among the brands at Condé Nast’s 150 virtual events so far this year are Axe, Chipotle, Chloe, OGX, Ralph Lauren, Shutterfly and Ulta Beauty.  In a recent DigiDay article (, Eric Johnson, Condé Nast Senior VP of commercial marketing and events, said the global scale of virtual is too large to give up post-pandemic.


Opportunities for Brands to Connect with Successful Streamers

Struggle Meals 
Celebrity/Influencer: Frankie Celenza
Platform: Instagram Live
Reach: 12k+ views (archived videos)
Time/Date: April – July (weekly)

Tastemade is known for its beautiful recipe videos designed for social media, its highly produced cooking and travel shows, and recently, for their successful Instagram Live series with chef Frankie Celenza.  

Over the past few months, Celenza, the host of the popular Tastemade series Struggle Meals, has maintained a sense of community for show’s audience while simultaneously developing live streaming into a more robust part of the Tastemade video diet. 

Lauren Arso, General Manager of Social Media at Tastemade, explained more about the live series with Celenza. 

“Live streams pre-COVID existed more on an ad hoc basis for us,” Arso said. “Once we entered into quarantine, we developed a regular cadence of live streams so that our fans felt a very strong sense of community during an unprecedented time and were able to utilize us as a real resource for learning to cook at home with what was available to them.”

In a May article in Forbes on the future of experiential marketing, a panel of experts noted the power of shared experiences even when those experiences aren’t face-to-face. 

The article repeatedly emphasizes the strength of shared experiences in building a community and suggests the human desire to connect will overcome the physical distances between us. Those who can build the virtual spaces for people to connect will come to dominate the future of experiential marketing. 

One of the benefits of a shared experience like an Instagram Live series is the access to influencers through chat features or screen-sharing. 

“Frankie was able to answer questions directly from the audience,” Arso said, “and he even accepted a handful of viewers from around the world to share the Instagram Live screen with him to chat about where they were from and what things were like in the corner of their world.”

While the Instagram Live series didn’t partner with a brand, Tastemade and AirBnB did partner this summer to create a unique online experience with Celenza.

Conducted through Zoom, these cooking classes were limited to 10 people, and although no more classes are currently scheduled, Tastemade plans to do more virtual cooking classes with Celenza and other Tastemade chefs in the future.

Tastemade has also incorporated live streams through their new Fellowship Series, where each fellow has the option to conduct a live stream interview with a guest of his or her choice. 

“In Tastemade’s Fellowship Series, we give different creative minds in the Black community an opportunity to use our platform and fully take over Tastemade’s Instagram account for a day,” Arso said. “This is a paid position in which the Fellow is able to program content that is meaningful to them, while highlighting Black voices in food, home, and travel.”

While their low-budget, at-home livestreams have been successful, a big focus for Tastemade is getting back into the studio and finding long-term solutions to production.

“We are always looking for new ways to tell stories, especially by utilizing all features of each social platform,” Arso said. “Live streaming offers unique abilities and conversational elements that are not possible within a standard video post, so we plan to continue to evolve our live streaming formats while keeping a pulse on new ways we can tell stories across social.”
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