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McQ Live Stream on Facebook: Great Innovation or Social Media Suicide?

Ashley Turner
Ashley Turner

21 February 2012

Every time London Fashion Week comes around, it’s just as certain that a social media innovation will occur as it is that it will rain. British Fashion Designers are creative, imaginative and seem to understand more than anyone how beneficial social media can be for the longevity of their brand. Burberry has been the perfect example for the past year, being the first brand to live stream from the catwalk and inventing the #Tweetwalk as a way to show social media followers that they are just as important or more so than the industry professionals and celebs sitting in the front row.

This year, beloved brand Alexander McQueen was the star of social media innovation at London Fashion Week. With the return of the British fashion house to the UK runways and the very first catwalk show of their fusion label McQ came a Facebook live stream fashion show.

As a social media professional, I find myself saying things like ‘Content is king!’ and ‘Exclusive content is the foundation of a successful social media campaign!’ all the time so as far as I’m concerned, McQueen struck social media gold with this exciting innovation.

By it’s very nature, a live stream is the utmost in exclusive content. It’s never been seen before – it has the same appeal as a live television program or sporting event. It also sparks conversation, not only on social media platforms, but also around the water cooler at the office where you might hear someone saying “Did you see the live stream of the McQ show last night?” just as they would talk about who scored the big goal in the footy match last week. Furthermore, there is nothing more exclusive than a high profile fashion show. Invitations are nearly impossible to get for these events that only last about 5 minutes, yet seem to dictate what everyone will look like in a few months. The star power alone is enough to draw attention as we saw last night with Anna Wintour and Selma Hayek.

The team at Alexander McQueen took this exclusivity and put it to work for them by featuring it on their Facebook page. Requiring people to like the page before they can view the content is a great way to grow the community. Live updates provided via Twitter with hashtags only sweeten the package, making the live stream an exciting multi-channel event!

There are however a few obstacles for hosting an event like this…

The viewing quality of the McQ runway show, while very artistic was quite poor. It was difficult to see the clothes on the models who were walking at lightening speed. Because of the artistic frame that was used on the screen, you couldn’t see close shots from head to toe. The ending, which was the key part of the storyline of the show, was so blurry that it couldn’t be seen at all, leaving the concept muddled and unclear, no pun intended. Obviously, a lot of cyber-fashionistas were disappointed.

Many viewers, including myself resorted to going back to Twitter and Instagram to see the photos being tweeted by those on the front row. If the aim was to prove in any way that a live stream was just like being there, that aspect of the project was a complete failure! It’s as if someone forgot that the main point of a live stream is being able to see and hear the video properly. I think audiences are more willing to forgive a technical difficulty when streaming much more easily that a deliberate and poorly chosen artistic interference.

Because the McQ show was streamed on their Facebook page and promoted with the #McQLIVE hashtag, it opened up a flood for complaints and comments about the poor quality of the stream…

I admire the courage of the team at Alexander McQueen for being brave and trying this out, but the lesson to learn here is that if you are going to offer something on your social channels that warrants this much hype, it needs to be pristine! In the event that it doesn’t quite work out, you need a plan B such as offering the video content after the show quite quickly on your social channels for those who couldn’t see the stream. Also, some firefighting is important. A timely, polite response to the complaints will work wonders for damage control.

So what do you think about live streaming a fashion show on Facebook? A great innvoation or social media suicide?




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