Snapchat’s First Global Campaign Focuses on Friends

It features users in a dozen countries

Snapchat OOH campaign ad featuring Walt Whitman
The campaign comes on the heels of reporting strong financial results. Snapchat
Headshot of Marty Swant

Snapchat wants to tell you who your real friends are.

In its first global campaign, Snap Inc. is highlighting how dozens of pairs of friends and family members around the world use the social media app to keep in touch. The campaign, which rolls out today, was created by Snap’s in-house creative team along with the Brooklyn-based agency SpecialGuest and includes a variety of out-of-home ads along with its first TV spot in key markets and a variety of digital assets.

“This campaign is really about us celebrating friendships and the importance of friendships and the role that friendship plays candidly in our platform,” chief marketing officer Kenny Mitchell said in an interview. “Our platform is really a response to some of the challenges of social media. It became a bit of an escape from social media, where people can really be themselves.”

To find the duos for the campaign, Snap cast a wide net of more than 1,000 Snapchat users and then narrowed it down based on each pair’s story along with criteria that included diversity of location and diversity of backstory.  The videos will also be published on Snap’s YouTube channel.

According to Snap, various aspects of the campaign will appear in a dozen countries: Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.

“It was a fun process, the whittling down,” Mitchell said, “but it became pretty clear as you started to hear and feel the specialness between these friends and how they stay connected in various ways through the platform.”

Snap is just the latest social media company to feature real users in a campaign aimed at illustrating how its platform drives conversation. Earlier this year, Facebook began a large TV campaign to promote its Groups tool, and Twitter recently began installing out-of-home ads in New York City’s subway system that highlight users’ tweets. Pinterest also recently debuted its first ad campaign that included TV and out-of-home ads.

Snap’s campaign comes on the heels of reporting strong financial results. Last week, the company reported it had 203 million daily active users at the end of the second quarter of 2019, up from 190 million in the first quarter. Revenue also grew to $388 million for a 48% year-over-year increase. The results led to a surge in the company’s stock, with share prices going over the IPO debut price for the first time.

As a teaser for the campaign, Snap has placed quotes about friendship from famous figures from the past in various print and digital media channels. Those quoted include Marilyn Monroe, Mahatma Gandhi and Aristotle—who were gone long before Snapchat was invented. Others are from people who are still very much alive, such as the singer Joan Jett.

Snap is also trying to invade Instagram by partnering with dozens of “quotefluencers,” which will take over popular hashtags like #realfriends and #friendshipquotes with posts that feature Snap’s yellow along with a quote about friendship and a photo of the Snap ghost so that the hashtags are flooded in Snap yellow.

Insights for the campaign came from Snap’s recent “Friendship Report,” a study conducted along with Protein Agency to understand how friendships are influenced by culture, age and technology. The report—which was came out of survey responses from 10,000 people ages 13-75 in a number of countries—found that a person’s average social circle consists of just 4.3 “best friends,” along with 7.2 “good friends” and 20.4 acquaintances.

The low numbers are a stark contrast to the high volume of “friends” or “followers” that people often have on other social media platforms, where a person might have hundreds or thousands of people in their network. The results also mirror what Snap has often said about itself and the differentiation between the company and its competitors.

@martyswant Marty Swant is a former technology staff writer for Adweek.