Karmaloop and Taco Bell Are Using Snapchat to Drive Sales | Adweek Karmaloop and Taco Bell Are Using Snapchat to Drive Sales | Adweek
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This Brand Is Flashing 'Boobs and Butt' on Snapchat

Appealing to a risqué-minded demo

Stori and August Alsina, from the Karmaloop Summer of Love Lookbook

College kids are getting frisky with their extra-special friends on Snapchat, the increasingly popular app that lets users send photos and videos—sometimes for sexting—that disappear after moments. And clothing e-tailer Karmaloop is making full use of its in-house photo studio and models to appeal to this young, risqué-minded demo.

Given that Snapchat’s roughly 8 million users are turning it into the digital equivalent of American Pie, Megan Knisely, Karmaloop’s marketing director, said she’s willing to let her brand occasionally show a little skin to get the attention of modern day Stiflers.

“Our snaps are not for the faint of heart—you got to be ready for a little bit of boobs and butt,” said Knisely. “We’ve toyed around with a little bit of nudity, but nothing hard-core. We have played up the fun, sexy side of things.”

In just a few weeks of participating on the platform, Karmaloop has attracted more than 2,000 Snapchat “friends” while regularly sending them—besides provocative pics—product shots for new clothing lines. This month, the merchant will test Snapchat-exclusive coupon codes to see if the app drives actual sales.

“Social media is a very important piece to our marketing,” Knisely said. “That’s where our customers are.”

Snapchat lets users select names from a contact list and then send a photo or video with a brief written description. It’s like text messaging, but the content disappears for the recipients within 10 seconds. If users screen grab these set-to-destruct messages, the sender is notified, but they often end up on Twitter and Facebook anyway.

Snapchat is quickly becoming a part of the social media outlay for marketers pitching everything from $3 burritos to $300 laptops. The reason: College kids are fleeing their parents’ beloved Facebook in droves. It’s too soon to tell if the pitches are working, and the practice raises the question of whether users of the app will welcome the brands on the very personal app (not to mention many Snapchat users are too young for certain kinds of ads).

Taco Bell has used the app since May to promote its Beefy Crunch Burrito launch. It doesn’t get as saucy as Karmaloop, though Taco Bell frequently uses Snapchat to grow brand loyalty while reaching numerous consumer groups.

“We want to make someone’s day everyday with our social channels,” said Tressie Lieberman, Taco Bell’s social media and digital lead. “It feels extremely special to get a Snapchat. It’s almost like we pick up the phone and give them a call.”

Leo Burnett is running a Snapchat-only campaign for U.K.-based retailer Co-operative Electrical through Oct. 11, offering a discount code for laptops worth £30 (roughly $46).

“There’s a business goal with a specific audience,” said James Kirkham, global head of social and mobile at Leo Burnett. “But there’s also the importance of being a pioneer in this space and creating buzz.”

And if there’s any group that’s not afraid of a little buzz, it’s college kids. 

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