Lessons in live streaming

Dan Whitehead, Director of Consumer Communications at 160over90 on what brands can learn from perfume giant Paco Rabanne’s 1 Million parfum live-streaming launch.

Dan Whitehead, 160over90

Director of Consumer Communications


The explosion of live streaming has been a much-needed lifeline for the economy in the midst of the coronavirus crisis. According to research from McKinsey, in the first eight weeks of lockdown adoption of digital technologies accelerated by five years. 

Nowhere was this shift more acute than for the events industry, where in-person events were suddenly no longer possible due to COVID-19. A business ecosystem which meant we needed to pivot to live-streamed events at speed.

For the marketing industry this switch to livestreaming, whilst driven by necessity, has also ushered in invention, resourcefulness and creativity in droves. Brands are only just beginning to understand the possibilities of virtual experiences to drive sales and brand awareness.

This innovation was top of the agenda as we collaborated with partner agency Talent Village to produce Paco Rabanne’s 1 Million parfum launch. There is no question that ‘live’ really is a different beast compared to pre-produced content. For Paco Rabanne we successfully translated a premium closed-event experience to live stream experience, underpinned by high production values. 

As businesses and brands face up to further months of restrictions, unlocking the marketing potential of livestreaming is increasingly crucial to success. With this in mind here are our key learnings and lessons from live streaming the launch of Paco Rabanne’s 1 Million parfum launch.

Rather than starting with the product or brand story, focus first on content that will entertain.

Dan Whitehead

1.Think like an entertainer to engage your audience

As an Endeavor company, 160over90 can lean on IMG and WME, for whom Charlie Chaplin was a founding client, to draw upon decades of entertainment and live production expertise to support our clients. Because instead of seeing live streaming as digitally upgraded experiential marketing, it is important to see the work more as Live TV than marketing. Ask yourself: what would make for an interesting ‘show’ and convey the messaging of the new product while keeping our viewers entertained and engaged? 

2. Don’t forget the role of the brand 

For the Paco Rabanne livestream, gift boxes were delivered to guests in advance containing the new fragrance and ingredients for the cocktail-making masterclass that would form one of the segments of the show. Recipients were asked not to open their package until invited by the show host, thus building anticipation and delight as the new fragrance was revealed. They could touch, smell and share reactions to the product while asking questions. This then led onto a segment with the brand’s fragrance expert for a deeper dive into its notes and inspiration. 

3. Play to your audience

Understanding the target audience is key, both primary, our guests, and secondary, their readers or followers. Rather than starting with the product or brand story, focus first on content that will entertain them. Keep segments short and diverse to prevent digital fatigue and wandering attention. Ensure that the content is relevant not only to the guests, grooming press and influencers in the Paco Rabanne case, but will also resonate with the end-consumer. In our case, the 1 Million Parfum was targeted at Millennial/Gen Z males who are passionate about music and aspire to a ‘bling’ lifestyle. Our content was selected to appeal to them.

For a premium user experience, we created a customised Paco Rabanne branded web-page as our live-stream interface. A chat window enabled them to interact with fellow guests, the brand and on-screen talent. The audience was highly engaged, averaging one post every 15 seconds.

The type of interactivity you want your guests to experience will determine the best platform for your livestream. Do you want guests to be able to talk to each other? Do you want the host to be able to respond live to incoming questions? We assessed the myriad of solutions currently available and chose the best one for our small, private livestream event of 50 VIP guests. There are many inexpensive options available, meaning more budget can be earmarked for production on set.

While the show is live streamed, it’s not necessary to exclusively rely on live content.

Dan Whitehead

4. The host is the show

Just like any chat show, the lynchpin of a live streamed event is the host who will create continuity and tie everything together. Casting the right talent for this role is vital to engage and hold onto your viewers. However, unlike in-person events where a macro influencer with the right profile and looks might do their job as they may only need to say a few words from script, for a successful livestream, the job will be more demanding. The host needs on-screen charisma and ideally live broadcast experience with the ability to ad lib and steer things back on track should anything unexpected occur. As we all know, when it’s live, there’s no second take.

5. Embrace dynamic long content

Live-streaming is inherently a long-form content type, normally between 30 and 60 minutes long. To hold the attention of the audience, it is critical to keep it dynamic with multiple segments. Our show included performances by a musical artist, TikTok dancers, an influencer DJ set, an interactive game, and a mixology masterclass where the cocktail was inspired by the notes of the fragrance. While the show is live streamed, it’s not necessary to exclusively rely on live content. We integrated short brand films and a pre-recorded segment with the brand’s perfumier to create a dynamic show.

Our other rule of thumb was to move camera angles every ten seconds to make the broadcast a visual experience. We used a multi-camera set-up and brought in a mobile vision mixing suite to create a broadcast gallery at our shoot location.

6. Be mindful of COVID-19 considerations

Consideration should be given to extra space for the crew to perform their duties in a socially distanced way. When planning, build in extra time for site visits from a production manager or health and safety consultant who can assess the space and provide guidance on how to manage the talent, crew and set on the day to mitigate health risks and legal liability. Social distancing of the talent and crew may have an impact upon the desired set design, and even the shoot location, so don’t let this be an afterthought.

7. Ensure there is life for the content beyond the live stream  

Finally, repackaging excerpts of the show into bite-sized edits for digital publications, influencers and social media can extend the lifetime and reach of your live streamed event.

Guest Author

Dan Whitehead, 160over90

Director of Consumer Communications,


Dan is a consumer and lifestyle communications specialist who works with brands to help them connect with people through the culture, values and technology that matter to them in today’s fast-changing, uncertain world. He likes to champion ideas with purpose which challenge convention, create community and drive action. By inspiring, entertaining and leading, he believes brands have a role to play in making a positive impact on people’s lives and the world around us. His experience includes consultancy for leading brands such as PepsiCo, adidas, Unilever, P&G, Philips, Huawei, Diageo and Nissan. He has delivered award-winning campaigns both in the UK and globally and leads the consumer brand communications team at 160over90, the creative and marketing agency of Endeavor, one of the world’s most culturally connected companies. He currently lives in south London, volunteers for a mental health non-profit and plays for the UK’s first inclusive LGBTQ rugby club.

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