Scan, which is currently available for iOS devices only, combines visual search and augmented reality by enabling people using Snapchat to hold their finger on the application’s camera screen and search for content and AR lenses related to what the camera is focused on—in this case, the respective logos of the fast-food and beverage giants.
Starting Thursday, Snapchat users in the U.S. with Scan activated on their iOS devices can scan the McDonald’s logo on products such as French fry boxes, burger wrappers and food trays to unlock access to three immersive McDonald’s AR lenses, which will show up in their Lens Carousel.
Or they can scan the Coca-Cola logo on cans to unlock three immersive Coke AR lenses, also accessible via Lens Carousel. Snapchat noted that Scan only works on the original Coca-Cola logo and cans that contain it, such as Coke Zero, but not for permutations of the logo, like Diet Coke.
Snap Inc.’s research and development team worked with the two strategic partners to train its machine learning algorithm to identify their logos on various products with high precision.
Carolina Arguelles, product marketing manager on Snap’s AR team, said in an email that the two companies’ Scan initiatives complement their existing marketing campaigns and help extend their digital content into the physical world.
She added that some of the dynamic lenses unlocked via Scan are promoted to Snapchatters directly via the app, and brands can drive incremental value from the immersive creative they develop, reaching both existing and potential new customers.
Reaching brand partnerships for Scan enables Snap to give users a way to engage with brands they are interested in, while those brands can drive engagement via the content generated by the AR lenses and turn Snapchatters into advocates.
Arguelles pointed out that while typically, the marketing funnel starts with awareness and ends with a purchase, that purchase is just the beginning of a brand’s relationship with its customer.
Scan also makes the process of engaging with brands easier on users, as it eliminates the step of finding and scanning Snapcodes.
While McDonald’s and Coca-Cola have access to some exclusive features as early partners in the initiative, any brand can create a marker tech lens for free via Lens Studio, Snapchat’s public AR creation tool, and submit it to the Snapchat community, at which point that lens will automatically be enabled with Scan.
Scan debuted at the Snap Partner Summit in April, with Photomath and Giphy as partners.
Photomath enabled Snapchatters to point their camera at a math equation and see the solution appear, while Giphy suggested contextually relevant, dynamically generated GIF lenses for their Snaps.
In the future, according to Arguelles, brands may opt to enable Scan to allow users to virtually sample their products before purchasing them, or to conduct tutorials via AR, among other potential uses for the technology.
She added, “Turning physical products that are a part of Snapchatters’ everyday lives into conversation starters through immersive AR is an incredible way to connect with our audience and an important milestone for this technology. Using Scan in this way offers so many possibilities for brands—from creating fun, shareable moments, to sharing product information or offering a virtual trial. We can’t wait to see what brands create and what the future holds.”