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As a global pop star, Katy Perry is no stranger to having all eyes on her; however, when it comes to the promotion of her new album, Witness, she’s really taken the title theme and run with it.

In order to drive sales and streams of the record, which was released last Friday, the hit-maker – or, rather, her marketing team – decided to live-stream her entire weekend Big Brother-style, with no less than 41 cameras documenting her every move for 72 hours. The stunt, which also aimed to promote ticket sales to her recently announced tour, took place at the ‘Witness Worldwide Headquarters’ (an LA apartment) and culminated in a free concert for 1,000 fans.

So, what did she get up to?

Far from a candid account of the daily goings-on of one of pop’s princesses, the event was highly structured, kicking off with an in-depth, emotional session with a therapist on Friday. The rest of the weekend saw her indulge in a bit of yoga, have a glam session with YouTube star Laura Lee, take part in a cook-off with Gordon Ramsay, tuck into breakfast with James Corden and invite a host of other celebrity pals – including Sia, Dita Von Teese, RuPaul and Caitlyn Jenner – over for a chin wag. Fans were also treated to the incomparable thrill of watching her sleep – a lot. Of course, she got a few performances in there too, rehearsing a selection of tracks from the averagely-reviewed album in anticipation of Monday’s concert.

The entire live-stream was hosted on YouTube, while clips were pushed out on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, with the hashtag #KPWWW making the ‘Trends’ list.

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A shift in music marketing

Katy Perry’s escapades serve as a reminder that musicians are brands too and, in an increasingly competitive market, often can’t rely on the quality of their music and instead, like any brand, need to utilise fresh marketing methods to get noticed and flog their product.

In the traditional run of things, an artist would launch a single, release its video, then comes the album, a few TV appearances, more singles and then a tour. Done. However, that just doesn’t cut it anymore. Streaming apps like Spotify and Apple Music have been particularly pertinent to the demise of this structure, with stars using such platforms to drop surprise albums, sometimes with accompanying films, with no build-up whatsoever – think Beyoncé’s Lemonade. Adele and Frank Ocean, too, released work after long hiatuses with little or no promotion. Then there’s the Kanye West approach: a few well-timed promotional singles leading up to a spectacle of a listening party at Madison Square Garden. All novel ways of challenging prosaic marketing strategies.

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The power of live-streaming

Witness World Wide jumps on a general trend among brands to utilise live-streaming, including Nike’s Breaking2 campaign in May, which saw the company attempt to have a trio of the world’s top distance runners complete a marathon in under two hours. The stunt racked up 5.4 million views of the live-stream on Facebook, while enabling Nike to push its messages and shine a light on its new Zoom Fly SP trainers. Or there’s Buzzfeed’s 2020 presidential election countdown – one of Facebook Live’s most viewed streams with over 51 million views and nearly 800,000 shares. Clearly, there’s huge scope to use the facility to your advantage and generate much-needed attention – and, hopefully, revenue – for your brand.

Despite the prominence of live-streaming nowadays, what we’d really like to think is that Katy took inspiration from our live hair transplant for Farjo Hair Institute way back in 2012. What can I say? We’re trendsetters…

To find out how Peppermint can shake things up for your brand, give us a call on 0161 941 4252 or drop us a message.