Are Snapchat's Spectacles more than just a 'toy'?

Dive Brief:

  • Several brands and agencies — including Sour Patch Kids, VaynerMedia and Esquire Network — are having a blast making video content with Snap Inc.’s new Spectacles hardware, according to Ad Age.
  • Snap Inc., which owns Snapchat, released Spectacles Thursday through unique vending machine “bots” across the country. Spectacles resemble sunglasses, but have a built-in camera that records up to 10 seconds of footage that is then uploaded directly to Snapchat with a “from Spectacles” tag. Spectacles retail for $130.

  • Snap Inc. is in the middle of preparing an IPO potentially worth north for $25 billion for as early as March of next year.

Dive Insight:

When Snap Inc. CEO Evan Spiegel announced Spectacles in late September, he referred to the gear as a “toy,” and Spectacles' steep price tag and limited availability — the vending bots are selling a small quantity in just a few locations — mark it as a novelty item. However, Spectacles could also be a sort of test run for more Snap hardware further down the line, especially post-IPO, when the company is flush with cash for development purposes.

Response from brands and publishers to the Spectacles tech has been fast and largely positive. Steve Babcock, VaynerMedia's chief creative officer, suggested to Ad Age that the glasses can serve as sort of hands-free GoPro for day-to-day living. As GoPro struggles for viability, a similar Snapchat offering — one that comes integrated with all of the app’s features — could fill the gap and see significant appeal with consumers and creatives.

"It might not seem like much right now, but there's a lot we can do in the future," Wesley Saraceni, the brand manager at Sour Patch Kids, told Ad Age. 

Snap is attempting to make its platform more accommodating for marketers overall, with the introduction of APIs for programmatic ad buying last month and the rollout of variety of ad targeting tools in September.

The company needs to not only figure out ways to make its content monetizable, but also more distinctive from the competition, especially as Facebook, Instagram and even Twitter build their ephemeral video messaging offerings. Upgrades to Snap’s AR capabilities like the recent “world lenses” are one way, but Spectacles arrive as another, far more unique path to pursue, as few social media companies develop their own hardware.  

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Filed Under: Social Media Video Mobile
Top image credit: Snap Inc.