Snapchat’s trippy new brand campaign aims to answer the question: What is Snapchat for?
When former Wieden+Kennedy executive Colleen DeCourcy joined Snap last year as the company’s chief creative officer, she said it was “the best known, least understood” social platform.
A new brand campaign called “Wait’ll You See This” is aimed at remedying that.
Whether it’s Apple pulling heartstrings or Amazon getting a bit celebrity silly with Alexa for the Super Bowl, we’re now accustomed to seeing tech brand advertising that includes very elaborate product demonstrations. Snap’s new ad is no exception, except that it feels more like a product demo inside a fever dream.
People with horse heads, dogs with three butts, the dead-eyed goofy gaze of fellow commuters on the subway: It’s all in there. For some, it will be the stuff of social media dystopian nightmares—for others, a peek into the funhouse of creative possibility. The brand is aiming for the latter.
DeCourcy says one of the primary goals is to start a conversation between people who use Snapchat and those who don’t. “As a non-broadcast platform, which is the beauty of it, if you’re not there, you don’t know. So, we’re trying to get people there,” DeCourcy says. “We’re trying to punch a little hole in the Snapchat box and let it leak out into the world so that people can see what it does.”
This is not just a one-off campaign, but the start of what DeCourcy says will be an ongoing brand platform. It was created in-house, under Snap executive creative director Eric Baldwin, who joined the company last August, and previously worked with DeCourcy as ECD at Wieden+Kennedy.
New brand work started to trickle out, with a New Year’s Eve billboard in Times Square and a float in the Rose Bowl parade. This work will get its national TV debut during the NFL’s AFC Championship game on Sunday. “It’ll hopefully be this moment, with people watching a game together, where those who know will get excited and show the others in the room what it’s all about,” Baldwin says.
Snap reports that more than 250 million people engage with augmented reality (AR) on Snapchat every day, with more than 6 billion daily AR plays. The platform has has 300,000 AR creators and developers who’ve built more than 3 million AR Lenses for the platform.
“There is this Super Bowl-sized audience on the platform every day,” says DeCourcy. “In a very cynical world, though, people have to experience it to get it. I don’t want to make things about the platform; I want to make things with the platform.”
That’s where this new work gets most interesting. Baldwin and DeCourcy’s creative team worked with Snapchat’s Arcadia Creative Studio to make the spot fully integrated with the app’s AR lenses. Every single frame of the spot, whether you view it online, as a screen shot, or during the a NFL game, is scannable and will take you to a new suite of lenses, with a few surprises like a limited edition merch drop mixed in.
Arcadia Creative Studio’s global director, Resh Sidhu, says Snap’s AR technology is world-class, and the spot itself is the perfect platform to show off how it all works. “We wanted AR to be at the heart of this campaign, and this was the perfect way to do that,” Sidhu says. “What excites our AR team is how this creates a platform for us to continue to share our work with the world. It’s all about getting it in the hands of people and allowing them to experience it.”