Snapchat's First Super Bowl Ad Calls for Safer, Friendlier Social Media

The campaign positions the brand as a more authentic platform

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Snapchat will make its Super Bowl debut with an unfiltered message urging audiences to consider the platform as a safer and more authentic alternative to toxic social media.

The ad, created in-house, originally debuted during the Grammys on Feb. 4, but a 30-second version will run during the fourth quarter of the Big Game on Feb. 11.

“Less Social Media. More Snapchat” positions Snapchat as a space to make real connections, a bold play to differentiate the brand from platforms such as Instagram, which is often associated with glossy influencer content or online bullying.

The frenetic spot features a carousel of images and copy taking the audience on a journey of social media users sharing images of themselves in a quest for more likes and followers. It quickly descends from a mundane collage of sameness into a toxic hellscape of screenshots filled with comments from trolls, before shifting to videos of users performing dangerous stunts (and in some cases, acts of unrest and insurrection) for engagement.

Finally, the ad moves on to the calmer waters of Snapchat, where users incorporate vibrant, fun and occasionally wacky filters for lighthearted, sharable and genuine moments with their communities. 

The campaign, led by chief creative officer and industry veteran, Colleen DeCourcy, also includes a full-page ad in the Sunday New York Times with takeovers of its digital properties, out-of-home placements across U.S. cities, and amplification across digital platforms. In the U.K., the company will wrap black taxi cabs with branded creative and run digital ads. 

“Snapchat was built differently from the very beginning as a place where people can be their real selves with their real friends,” DeCourcy said in a statement. “With this campaign, we want to show the world exactly what Snapchat is not, and what it really is. We are shining a light on the unfiltered, bright yellow world of Snapchat, where people can easily share what matters to them in the moment, with the people that matter to them most.” 

Bringing brands to The Big Game in a Snap(chat) 

Despite this being its first ad in the Super Bowl, Snap was already a player in the game, having created AR lenses with multiple brand partners, including The U.S. Air Force, Doritos, Dove, Pringles, Nickelodeon and Samsung.  

For example, it partnered with the U.S. Air Force and its agency, GSD&M, to create a Flyover Lens allowing both the game’s attendees and users at home to see a fleet of USAF aircraft flying above. With Doritos, a Triangle Tracker Lens transforms a side of the pyramid-shaped Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas into a giant chip promoting the Frito-Lay brand’s new Dinamita flavor and unlocking a sweepstakes where users can win tickets to next year’s game. And Pringles’ “Where is Mr. P?” Lens supports its spot with Chris Pratt, allowing users to wear the mascot’s famed mustache, eyebrows and bow tie. 

Snap Stats: Unfiltered 

The company reported that last year’s Super Bowl saw over 2 billion engagements with Snapchat lenses in North America, and nearly 10 million unique viewers of NFL content for Super Bowl 58 on the platform.  

Snapchat reports 414 million active daily users and more than 800 million active monthly users, as well as over 90% reach among 13- to 24-year-olds and over 75% reach among 13-34-year-olds across more than 25 countries.

A recent analysis done with Kantar revealed that Super Bowl campaigns executed using the platform were 2.2x more effective in driving ad awareness. 

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