Snapchat are no stranger to some excellent marketing, so when I heard they were bringing out some wearable tech, I knew their product launch would be good. As an outsider, it looked like the bulk of their strategy was to build hype around the Snapchat Glasses.
Snapchat sunnies were teased months out with no indication of how to get them. Then, when they were announced, they were only sold in certain locations at a certain time through a stylised vending machine. People were only allowed to buy two at a time, with many people queuing for 6+ hours to get their hands on a pair. Big shout out to Ben Young who queued in New York from 3am to get us a pair. All of this created a sense of scarcity by making the glasses physically difficult to get your hands on, and increasing the sense of achievement if you managed to get a pair.
So we’ve had the spectacles for over a week now and I would be lying if I said I haven’t used them every day. But are they worth all the hype? I have to admit, they are pretty cool. I’m an avid snapchatter, so naturally having glasses that allow me to snap hands-free was a great novelty. Plus the glasses look good too which is a huge bonus, especially given their target market are image conscious millennials.
The one cool function that only works natively is the twistable view that you get in Snapchat. Once you export the video though, it converts itself to a circular video bubble, so you lose the interactivity. Once the video has been taken it uploads to your snapchat memory and thankfully only posts to your story or send to friends if you instruct it to. I was a little worried that the spectacles would automatically post content, especially when I spent the first day with them experimenting around the office!
Hype aside, the Snapchat Spectacles are just a camera in a pair of sunnies. It’s pretty comparable to having a GoPro that uses your nose as a mount, but can only record 10 seconds at a time. It’s not like this technology is anything new or exciting, so in that sense they did really well at creating hype around the product. That said, they are not shy about the glasses only having a single function, and to their credit, that one function is well executed.
Also, given the history of Snapchat, the app that started out as a school project and progressed into the social media channel it is now, I have a feeling that the glasses will follow suit. Plus, there are already some copycats on the market, as well as other companies trying to ride on the coattails of the snapchat specs – e.g. a New York optometrist is now making custom prescription lenses for the Snapchat glasses.
And I think they have done this the right way around – come out with wearable tech that only has a single function, but does it well and then build upon that with additional features. We saw the Google Glass discontinued quietly when it failed to catch up, perhaps because it was too much too soon for an untapped market. What is exciting about the Snap sunnies is that I think they do signal the mainstreaming of affordable tech, and the resurgence of wearable tech for a millennial audience.
That said, as easy as it is to be caught up in the hype of a new piece of tech, the most important thing for marketers to always consider is crafting a robust and effective campaign for Snapchat, rather than focussing on wrapping or shoehorning a campaign idea into the glasses. Our recommendation from here forward is to keep an eye on Snapchat Spectacles updates, as well as other wearable tech hitting the market. But as with anything, don’t just use it for the sake of it. If it seamlessly fits into a campaign that speaks to your target market creatively and effectively, then go hard. Otherwise, hold off. I’m looking forward to seeing how people harness this new tech.