- Universal-Illumination Entertainment launched a global campaign on Snapchat Monday to promote “Despicable Me 3,” the latest installment in the animated series starring Steve Carell and Kristen Wiig, according to Variety. The promotion includes one of the first sponsored World Lenses, which leverage a smartphone’s camera to incorporate AR objects in a user’s environment. The lenses were available for 24 hours on June 26.
- In Canada and France, Universal launched a different lens campaign that lets Snapchatters sing karaoke like the Minions do in the trailer. The studio also is running interactive Snapchat ads for users to swipe up to see a karaoke lens and enter a challenge that also runs on a microsite. The ads will run through the movie’s release this week.
- The studio’s augmented reality (AR) campaign is targeted at Snapchat’s audience of Gen Z and millennial users before the film’s June 30 premiere.
Sponsored World Lenses were introduced in May and offer a significant expansion on AR capabilities for marketers on Snapchat by enabling users to overlay 2-D and 3-D objects onto landscapes as opposed to just on users' faces. They also use a smartphone's outward-facing camera.
Interest in AR is showing signs of picking as marketer-friendly options proliferate. Apple recently announced ARKit for developers to create AR experiences with the iOS 11 software update coming this fall and Ikea is one of the first brands to jump at the opportunity to reach the platform's audience with an interactive experience.
The "Despicable Me" franchise has steadily grown its box office receipts with each new film, according to Box Office Mojo, making its worldwide promotion even more important to Universal. An earlier film in the series, “Minions,” grossed $1.1 billion globally after its 2015 release, 2x what the original film achieved five years earlier.
Snapchat’s lens sponsorship platform is one way to reach a broader audience of younger consumers around the world. Virtual lenses are popular with Snapchat’s users, making them a key method for movie studios to reach the app’s generally younger demographic and for advertisers to turn users’ selfies into ads. "Despicable Me" isn't the first film franchise to enlist the social photo-sharing platform. TriStar's promotion for the film “Baby Driver” will have geofilters that reach targeted theatergoers nationwide. Additionally, Warner Bros. sponsored a lens for the release of “Everything, Everything” last month, according to TechCrunch.
Snapchat has arguably outdone Twitter to become the second-favorite social media network after Facebook. The company says its lens and geofilter tools are heavily used in its app, which make them appealing to potential advertisers. More than one in three daily users play with Lenses every day, and photos with geofilters are viewed an average of over a billion times a day. However, Snapchat, which has said its users engage with a sponsored lens for an average of more than 15 seconds before sending it to friends or posting it to a Story, has been criticized for its ads failing to yield fruitful ROI and user engagement.