- Universal Pictures last week launched a campaign on Snapchat to promote "Trolls World Tour," per an announcement shared with Mobile Marketer.
- The campaign includes an augmented reality (AR) lens for Snapchat users to transform their selfies into characters from the animated movie. The movie sequel skipped its theatrical release because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The "Trolls" lens also is available in the desktop version of Snapchat, letting users decorate their home video calls with digital images inspired by the movie sequel. The Snap Camera desktop tool has seen a 10-fold surge in downloads as people use their computers for video chats, per the company.
Universal's sponsorship of an AR lens in Snapchat aims to engage a younger audience in the U.S. and Canada that tends to favor the photo-messaging app to connect with friends. Parent company Snap claims that Snapchat reaches 90% of U.S. consumers ages 13 to 24, a group that's a key target for animated movies like "Trolls World Tour." Snap also says that 75% of its 218 million users play with AR content every day on average, increasing the likelihood that Universal can extend the reach of its campaign as people share branded content in their messages and Stories.
In addition to its AR lens, the campaign's utilization of the Snap Camera desktop tool could help engage consumers that are increasingly using videoconferencing to connect with friends, family and coworkers. Behr and West Elm both designed virtual backgrounds for Zoom amid the recent work-from-home boom.
"Trolls World Tour" is notable as one of the first feature films to replace its theatrical opening with a video stream premiere as the COVID-19 pandemic keeps movie theaters closed. That has led more people to rely on digital media for entertainment, driving an 85% jump in number of minutes spent streaming video in March from a year earlier, per Nielsen data cited by Variety.
Universal's campaign on Snapchat follows last week's release of custom mixtapes on audio streaming platform Pandora to promote the animated sequel. The studio aims to capture greater online revenue by streaming "Trolls World Tour" on Xfinity cable systems, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, Fandango Now, Google Play, Vudu and YouTube.
Universal is among the studios that have created AR content for Snapchat as part of their promotional efforts. Paramount Pictures this year collaborated with fast-food chain Jack in the Box on a gamified AR face filter to promote the release of "Sonic the Hedgehog." In December, Paramount was the first company to sponsor Snapchat's AR "trailer reaction lens" with a promotion for "Top Gun: Maverick," the movie sequel starring Tom Cruise. Paramount also promoted the release of animated movie "Sherlock Gnomes" with an AR beauty experience on mobile devices.