Marketers: Stop Trying to Make ‘Poke’ and ‘Snapchat’ Happen

Are Snapchat and Facebook‘s Poke the latest Instagram-style visual branding tools? Or are they more effective for sending private “sexts” than marketing messages?

In case you share(d) our ignorance about these two apps, they allow users to send customized visual messages that “self destruct” after ten seconds or less. Sounds perfect for getting people interested with provocative pics/vids and urging them to visit your business, right? Like an even more ADHD version of Groupon?

Maybe not. Certain brands have had some success with the apps, most prominent among them an Israeli lingerie maker that used Poke to promote a one-time sale with a short video of a model in her underwear and an NYC-based frozen yogurt chain that offered a discount to customers for sending Snapchat photos of their treats to the company’s own account. The chain’s CEO amusingly compares the campaign to Kohl’s discount cards that can only be “scratch[ed] off at the register.”

But recent reports indicate that Snapchat and, we assume, Poke are more popular among teens who want to send sexy pics to each other without getting caught. If the message disappears then so does the evidence, right? (iPhone mom may want to add this to her son’s contract, BTW.)

Can we see more insta-message campaigns on behalf of clients promoting sales or other one-time offers, or are these apps a no-no for public relations and marketing?