Snapchat rebrands and unveils ‘Spectacles’ video sunglasses

Our round up of this week's social media news and insights:

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Snapchat rebrands and unveils ‘Spectacles’ video sunglasses

Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel has unveiled Spectacles, the first hardware product from Snap Inc, as the business will now be called. When a user puts on the $130 Spectacles, and taps a button near the hinge, up to 10 seconds of video is recorded from their first-person vantage point. Spiegel, who describes Spectacles as a toy, revealed the new product will be rolled out slowly. For the younger generation, Snapchat has become what television was for baby boomers, with a daily reach of 41% of all 18-to-34-year-olds in the US. From an advertiser’s perspective it functions more like television. On average users spend 20 seconds playing with a sponsored Lens before sending the Snap - similar to the length of a TV commercial, but with radically different brand engagement. Snapchat is considered cool enough to escape the Google Glass stigma and after that the question is how the Spectacles might change the future of capturing social media. If Facebook is the News Feed, and Google is search, Snapchat wants to be the camera. The Spectacles only record the world around a user, but future versions could enhance it too, and the company has been staffing up with experts who could build the next wave of augmentation. In Spiegel’s thinking, Snapchat isn’t a social-media company. It’s a camera company with a vision of taking photographs that are more natural. Beyond the images, a wearable camera also knows a lot about what the user is looking at in any given moment, which opens up fresh commercial possibilities.

Snapchat will face stiffer competition from the likes of Facebook, but this is a moment of transition for Spiegel. The company’s Snap Inc rebrand, has been designed to reflect its wider ambitions, although the name of the messaging app will remained unchanged.

PR and Marketing in Social Media

HSBC launches Snapchat geofilters for freshers' fortnight

HSBC and We Are Social are targeting new students with a Snapchat geofilters campaign during freshers’ fortnight. Between 26 September and 9 October, a total of 14 different geofilters will be activated across 170 universities. These will imitate magazine covers, featuring a student’s face at the centre alongside the slogan ‘Face to Watch 2026. We Are Social has also created three SnapAds lasting 10 seconds each, which will appear on Snapchat stories. Social media marketing manager for HSBC Jag Sharma said: ‘Being the first bank in the UK to run SnapAds and geofilters during the freshers period means a lot to us, as we get to be the beginning of that special student journey’. He revealed the tie-up with Snapchat has been an ‘energising experience’, describing it as the ‘go-to social channel for Generation Z’. The social network’s appeal to the next generation of financial customers has been utilised by other brands, with Nationwide Building Society offering a bespoke geofilter and lens campaign to celebrate A-Level results day in August.

We Are Social UK managing director Jim Coleman praised HSBC’s Snapchat campaign for showing how well the brand understands students and the way they consume media. He said unlike the usual student promotions, this one ‘aims to reach students with content that will truly appeal to them’.

Social Media Brands...

Channel 4 creates Facebook Messenger chatbot to promote new run of Humans

Channel 4 has launched a Facebook Messenger chatbot to promote the second series of its sci-fi drama Humans. The broadcaster has also created a fake product recall, running a print campaign across UK newspapers last Friday, in the guise of fictional company Persona Synthetics, warning that a number of faulty synths are on the loose. The ad mimics the plot of the first series of the hit show and directs readers to a section of the Persona Synthetics website where they can watch a video promoting the new season. Viewers can also interact with the synth-powered Facebook Messenger chatbot, which carries on the charade, warning their Synthetic Human requires ‘immediate recalibration’, and promising to send a diagnostic truck to the user’s location immediately. The smart chatbot ramps up engagement with fans, telling jokes and revealing the exchange is the happiest moment of its life, before asking for help to find an escape route and passcode in one minute, before its supervisor returns. Oren Jacob, the CEO of interactive entertainment company Pullstring, described the synth as ‘one of the best examples of chatbots we’ve seen so far’.

Tweets from Channel 4 are publically denying the stunt to anybody who spots the print ads and site. Last year the broadcaster quietly developed a pop-up shop for Persona Synthetics, in a drive which helped attract six million viewers to the first episode. 4Creative's innovative promotion of Channel 4's Humans won the Grand Prix at the Marketing New Thinking Awards 2016.

Fashion world balance of power shifts to social media superstars in Milan

In the world of fashion, power is shifting away from boardrooms and the front row of catwalks, and moving towards the catwalks themselves. A tiny elite of models have become social media superstars, and they now wield influence and commercial clout far beyond the dreams of the 1990s supermodel. This year’s Milan fashion week saw the ascendancy of Gigi Hadid, who owes her stratospheric rise to 23 million Instagram followers. An Instagram picture of her in a MaxMara coat inviting followers to an appearance at the label’s flagship store attracted well over a million likes and the event proved so popular that it led to a virtual roadblock in the centre of Milan. Versace's front row was working just as hard for Instagram likes, with Serena Williams sitting in pride of place, while Dolce & Gabbana's ‘frow’ was a who's who of celebrity millennials: a troop of 21 social media sensations. Then there were the collections themselves, perfectly crafted to create striking pictures for social media feeds. One collection, according to Vogue, was proof that ‘Domenico and Stefano, in this era of Instagram and Snapchat, know that making fashion visibly fun is a big part of successful brand management’. 

This month’s totemic American Vogue stars Kendall Jenner with the coverline ‘the face that launched a billion likes’. Dazed magazine called the issue ‘a cultural milestone’. Another significant cultural milestone was reached this week when Kate Moss, an icon forged in a pre-internet age who rarely speaks in public, finally joined Instagram too.

Selena Gomez first to reach 100m followers on Instagram

Selena Gomez has become the first Instagram user to reach 100m followers. She now outranks other top celebrity social media users, such as Taylor Swift with 91.5m followers, Beyoncé with 85.3m and even Kim Kardashian West with 83.6m followers. Putting the number in context, the US presidential debate on Monday night was viewed by around 81m people. As the singer neared the milestone, her fans started the hashtag #GomezBreakTheInternet to help her cross the finishing line, even though she hasn’t been active on the social network for six weeks. Her last post was a photo from her Revival Tour, which she cancelled in late August due to health issues. The star issued a statement last month to inform she is taking a break from the spotlight, including social media, to combat anxiety and depression brought on by her battle with lupus.

A spokesperson for Instagram confirmed Gomez is the most-followed person on the social network. Reaching the milestone also cements her status as the reigning queen of Instagram, an unofficial title the Hands to Myself singer has held since July, when she posted the ‘most liked photo of all time’, which received more than 5.6m likes.

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