I might not be a millennial, but I love a good Snapchat Lens. I also love Lipton Iced tea.

But recently, these two loves combined and I was left hugely disappointed. You see, when it comes to sponsored Snapchat lenses there’s a fine line between fame and fail for brands.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, Snapchat lenses and filters are the tool within the Snapchat app that layer cartoons, text, sound and animated effects over your selfies, photos of others, and videos – some of them even have voice changer elements too.

Everyone – including celebrities – have their favourite, from ‘vomiting a rainbow’ to ‘dog face’. Just this week Rhianna praised the new ‘Oversized Bow’ lens as “the best” filter going (and I’m tempted to agree).

Snapchat has used this rather cool functionality to monetise to platform, with brand-sponsored lenses and – perhaps to a lesser-known extent – its geo-filters that can be designed and targeted, for a fee, by ordinary users as well as brands. While unbranded lenses still seem to gain the most traction, retail brands are also learning how to leverage the trend, with varying degrees of success.

It was hard not get involved with The Terminator movie franchise’s lens, which transformed the user into the notorious baddie, Nationwide’s A Level results day lens (for the target demographic at least) or Cadbury’s exploding Crème Egg lens and – although not available in the UK – Beats headphones Black Friday Campaign set to Drake’s Big Rings certainly captured the imagination too.

Which brings me back to Lipton. I love iced tea and Lipton is my brand of choice. But its recent Snapchat filter – to promote its Peach flavour – well, it just didn’t make the grade.

For those who didn’t see it, as it was only available for 24 hours in the UK, the lens featured a glass with ice being filled with iced tea, with a branded bottle in the corner. For the user, your face was obscured behind the glass and then liquid. Your eyes bulged. And that was it. Zzzzzzzzzzzz

The secret of creating a good Snapchat filter is the same as creating any good branded content. It has to be memorable, it has to be sharable, the user should be the hero or focus and it can’t be too obvious. Lipton made the fatal mistake of putting the brand – quite literally – in front of the customer.

Can you guess which snap our Senior Manager Nikki shared with her friends?

It all smacked of a bit of a rush to jump on the trend, meaning the execution lacked somewhat. By obscuring any sense of fun, intimacy and interactivity with its product, the lens did not feel particularly sharable.

So what could Lipton have done? Well, it could have improved on its effort by at least allowing the user to make it look like the iced tea was pouring into their mouth, or splashing all over them. But here are a few other creative thoughts from The Retail Room team (all including the Lipton branded bottle in the corner):

  • A pretty peach-tinged filter with a crown of iced tea glasses – perhaps ‘drink’ the iced tea to achieve this effect
  • Transform user into a Carmen Miranda style character with peach-laden headdress
  • Turn user’s face into a giant head-banging peach, to the soundtrack of The Presidents of the USA “Peaches”, ending with a surprise peachy explosion
  • Raise eyebrows to reveal sunglasses with peaches as the lenses
  • Showering in iced tea or recreating the effect of a bucket of iced tea being thrown at the user
  • Open mouth and peaches come out of ears
  • Douse user in iced tea and allow for a dramatic/sultry shake dry

All of these ideas make the user the star of the show, ultimately making the lens more sharable. When it comes to Snapchat lenses, the rules are simple, make your target audience the star and the brand secondary, make it memorable and make it worth sharing.

Want advice on leveraging the latest trends and tools to boost your brand? Contact The Retail Room team today.




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