Despite Snapchat’s reputation as a seedy sexting platform, it recently secured $60 million in funding which values the company at around $800 million.
Though the smartphone app hasn’t published its user numbers, more than 200 million pictures and videos are shared over the platform on a daily basis.
For the uninitiated, Snapchat allows users to send images and videos to their friends, but once viewed the messages are then deleted forever after 10 seconds or fewer.
It’s the ultimate in short-term, throwaway messaging, so it’s no real surprise that it’s been used for illicit purposes, but it is a bit weird that brands have been looking to get involved.
Personally I think it’s a social network too far and that brands should leave it well alone, but marketers will always want to follow their consumers and jump on-board with trendy new apps.
The Co-op became the latest brand to being experimenting with Snapchat last week, so here are details of its campaign along with six other brands that have trialled the app for marketing purposes...
The Co-operative Electrical
The Co-operative, which isn’t really known for its edgy marketing campaigns, has launched a promotional campaign offering students £30 off laptops.
After adding the brand students are sent a promotional code that they have eight seconds to write down before it disappears.
Though the campaign is supposed to target students, presumably anyone could apply for one of the codes as there don’t appear to be any checks in place.
Automotive brand Acura turned to Snapchat in order to promote its new NSX supercar earlier this year.
The first 100 users to add Acura_Insider received a six-second clip of the car driving round a track.
It’s similar to the Vine clip used to promote the new Wolverine movie, however it obviously has an air of exclusivity as only 100 people got to see it.
According to Honda and Acura social marketing manager Alicia Jones:
People use Snapchat to communicate with friends through pictures and video in mobile - it’s a fascinating and important trend in digital and social right now, and brands have a place to play there.
But really it’s difficult to see what benefit Acura could have derived from this, other than a bit of low cost PR.
New York frozen yogurt chain 16 Handles used Snapchat in January for a ‘Snappy New Year’ coupon promotion.
The campaign asked the brand’s Facebook fans to send in a Snapchat photo of their frozen yogurt, and in return they received a coupon worth either 16%, 50% or 100% off.
As the messages disappeared after 10 seconds recipients had to wait until they were at the counter to reveal the level of the discount to the cashier.
16 Handles decided to use Snapchat instead of Twitter as it meant that people were unable to share the vouchers codes with friends. The business has reportedly had more than 1,400 interactions with consumers as a result of the campaign.
Chat Sports chose to use Snapchat for a ticket giveaway as it wanted to target high school and college students.
In order to enter, fans had to get five friends to add the brand to their contacts list and send a unique snap with the fan’s username and the hashtag #gimmietickets.
It received 150 entries in just 48 hours and one person won tickets to see a baseball game.
The level of interest it received convinced Chat Sports to run the competition on a regular basis.
A dreadful, vacuous reality show is probably the perfect product to promote using Snapchat, and MTV decided to do just that when launching the sixth series of Geordie Shore.
It sent out photos and videos to fans to give them a look at the ‘cheekier side’ of the show, and also used the platform as a way of reminding fans to tune-in while the show was on air.
This is one of the best uses of Snapchat I’ve seen thus far, as it makes the most of the app’s slightly dodgy reputation and is the perfect platform on which to reach MTV’s target demographic.
As with other examples on this list, Lynx used Snapchat to reward fans with exclusive content as part of a promotional campaign.
Communications agency TMW asked fans to add the brand 48 hours before a launch event and began sending behind-the-scenes images to around 100 new-found friends.
Fans were obviously able to respond to the messages, with a few sending in slightly risqué images. Lynx played up to the Snapchat’s reputation by responding with an image of the new Deep Space shower gel and a message urging them to clean up and take a cold shower.
However TMW admitted that the experiment had some unexpected results. It was a time consuming way to communicate with fans and people continued to send unsolicited images even after Lynx had lost interest.
The cost of viewing and responding to all these images is potentially extremely high when compared to the reward of improving relationships with individuals.
After promoting its new Snapchat account through Twitter, Taco Bell sent its friends a picture advertising the Beefy Crunchy Burrito.
Apparently many people received the snap several times so the execution wasn’t perfect, and Taco Bell will now be suffering the same problem of having hundreds of people sending them random images.