Authenticity Matters: Engaging Gen Z With Live Reaction Campaigns
The ripping sound of opening packages played a bigger role than anyone expected in creating today’s creator economy. Eagerly watching YouTubers removing new products from their packaging were among the first successful binge-worthy online productions.
With new social media channels and more and more influencers competing for viewers and likes, unboxing needed a makeover. Authentic collaborations with content creators that give them the freedom to share their live, unedited reactions to products and campaigns are a creative way to increase engagement with Gen Z audiences.
Today’s creators are more empowered and impactful than ever, and their audiences expect real-time authenticity. When trying to stand out across multiple media platforms, there's a constant need for original content. Influencers must stay on the cutting edge, be adaptable, and try new approaches to produce content.
Live reaction videos are still rare and considered a risk, but what started with innovative, trendsetting brands will gradually become more common. Marketers are engaging with content creators to take unboxing videos to the next level. Those Gen Zers who grew up spending hours watching unboxing videos are now looking to social media influencers for authentic insights into the brands they love and the items in their carts.
Here are three key steps to creating an engaging live reaction campaign:
Content is King
To get quality reactions, you need quality content for influencers to react to. In our latest Karma campaign, we produced an industry-first “Netflix-style” crime thriller. It was much more like a TV series than an advertisement. Plotlines and strong characters are a big part of it, and so is the script, which we wrote to grab someone scrolling through their social media feed. Unlike traditionally structured commercials, where the value proposition is at the end of the video, we wanted to tell a compelling story and pepper in the funniest lines about the product throughout.
Humor is a universal feeling. We wanted our video to feel like real — and really funny — content to spark authentic laughs and reactions.
Long Form Rules
What’s old is new again. Even Elon Musk’s Twitter is offering blue subscribers the opportunity to upload videos up to 60 minutes long, making a big bet on long-form videos. In fact, a Google video ad experiment highlighted in-depth storytelling which created “a more meaningful connection to the brand.”
It showed that longer-form ads were also both more effective in lifting brand favorability than the 15-second ad. Karma’s ad was three minutes and was designed to keep viewers on the edge of their seats, boosting engagement.
Make the Right Friends (We Pay Them, But They’re Still Our Friends)
Picking the right creators is key. We partnered with a diverse selection of 40-plus popular social media influencers to share their live-reaction videos about the commercial. Our goal was to have the greatest creators making content that their passionate and varied followers would love. These creators shared their live reactions as if it was another death on "White Lotus."
Being genuine and real is part of the risk. Audiences appreciate authenticity and can smell “fake” from miles away. While you can expect funny, colorful reactions, you must always be prepared to take a hit. (We respect and embrace partners for who they are — what’s not to love about queens like Katya and Trixie?)
Live reactions can easily go viral and be picked up by another media channel or posted to another social media platform with high engagement, helping brands reach millions of views from new people. Apart from brand awareness achievements, live reaction campaigns can add a significant increase in users. We added more than 200,000 active users in just three months.
To form impactful collaborations, brands must put a strong emphasis on quality content that can't be skipped. They should think outside the box even if it feels a little risky. If it’s unique, that could translate to success. And who doesn’t enjoy a little break to watch content that makes you smile?
Mor Pesso Eblagon is the chief marketing officer at Karma, an AI-driven shopping assistance browser extension and app.
Related story: Volcanica Coffee's Founder and CEO on the Impact of Authentic Brand Storytelling
Mor Pesso Eblagon has held numerous roles in the marketing and advertising industry over the past 17 years. Starting in 2004, they were an Account Manager at Dahaf Advertising. Mor then went on to work as an Account Manager at BBDO | GITAM in 2006. From 2011 to 2016, they were a Group Account Director and Account Supervisor at Grey Tel Aviv, where they managed a team of four account managers and was responsible for all aspects between the clients and the agency. In 2016, they became the VP of Marketing & Strategy at Delta Galil Industries. In 2019, they were appointed CMO at CASTRO. Most recently, they began their role as CMO at Karma in 2021, where they are aiming to build the coolest brand with a team of winners and become the most interesting address for employees.
Mor Pesso Eblagon studied Communications and Mass Media at UNIP (New York University of Prague) from 2000 to 2004, and is currently studying Communication and Mass Media at the University of New York in Prague.