Periscope Isn’t All It Seems

Periscope is a powerful thing – but it may damage your brand. 

In January, 20,000 people tuned in to watch a puddle.

(By the way, this actually happened.)

Swarms of people rushed online to see swarms of other people trying to get across a piece of road covered by water. It really is as crazy as it sounds.

It all went down on Periscope – a live video streaming app, that like so many video services is gaining a lot of attention.

Probably more so because of this puddle incident.

Because when Periscope, and likewise Meerkat, came out in 2015 they didn’t make as much a splash.

But Red Bull, Spotify, Mountain Dew and Adidas are or have all used Periscope. So maybe we should take notice.

Facebook certainly have as they now favour live videos to saved ones on timelines with their new service called “Live.”

As marketers, we’re always looking for ways to release new products or show behind the scenes footage or support our customers or improve transparency.

Periscope and similar platforms seem like a good way to do it.

Recently, Barcelona footballer Gerard Pique’s periscope on their team plane demonstrated the potential Periscope has to bring fans and customers closer to a brand.

If I was Barcelona’s board, though, I’d be concerned.

Because there are outright implications, too – ones that need consideration before firing up the app.

If your brand isn’t ready for live streaming, you could end up in a spot of bother by trying it. It is actually live, after all. The complication here, of course, is that if you don’t dip your toe in the water, cooler-younger competitors will do so and will overtake you.

Which means a lot of brands will test Periscope which will then lead to the Periscope market getting saturated.

As what Periscope really is, is another marketing channel to add to the mix – a powerful one at that.

My question is: do we need another?

Just as something has gone “viral” doesn’t mean that brands should allocate an annual marketing budget to it.

We see things go viral often. What we don’t see is things going viral in the same way a second time.

And that can be traced back to some of marketing’s most viral campaigns such as the Blair Witch Project and Red Bull Stratos.


Because at the time of it happening, you’re immersed in the campaign. You believe it. You think you’re on to something special.

You believe you’ve discovered something that no one else has (even though it has spread around the world by then).

But in reality, it isn’t exactly like that.

Days after the puddle incident, a marketing agency came out and claimed responsibility for the incident.

Days after the Blair Witch project hit the cinemas it was obvious that it was all staged.

Which doesn’t fill me with confidence with for the future of Periscope and the agency in question when it comes to live streaming.

Viral campaigns aren’t sustainable; saturated markets aren’t environments where things can go viral, neither.

As the second Blair Witch movie taught us – which by the way, did you know exists?

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