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Inside Snap’s exclusive program for AR



1. adidas Deerupt Shoe   Shoppable AR imageAdidas

  • Snapchat has an exclusive program to help keep its
    biggest brand partners ahead of the curve on augmented
  • The “AR Partnership Program” is a pilot initiative
    launched for 10 of its brand partners.
  • These brands get early access to new formats and
    buying methods in the form of alpha and beta tests, as
    well as visibility into Snapchat’s AR product roadmap.

It’s no secret that Snapchat has been
leaning into augmented reality
in recent years,
arming marketers
with a suite of products that enable them to
test the technology in their ads.

But it turns out, some brands have it better than others.

Select marketers, including Adidas, Anheuser-Busch and McDonald’s
are part of of an exclusive group that gets early access to
Snapchat’s latest proprietary AR tools and ad formats —
before they become widely available.

They are part of what Snapchat is calling “AR Partnership
Program,” a pilot initiative where 10 of its partners
get early access to new formats and buying methods in
the form of alpha and beta tests, as well as visibility into
Snapchat’s AR product roadmap.

The program, which was rolled out in January, is led by
Snapchat’s AR product marketing and management team. It is geared
at strategic partners who are “leaning in,” that is, have been
identified as having increased their investment over time.

The idea, according to the company, is to work with
brands to gauge not just how AR can prompt user engagement,
but also real business results.

“We want to learn exactly how AR can drive every type of
marketing objective, and we want to make it even easier to
develop and easier to buy,” Carolina Arguelles,
Snap’s head of augmented reality (AR) Monetization and Product
, told Business Insider. “We want to have these
brands really inform the things that we’re developing, and test
with us early.”

‘Bud Light Man’ broke new ground in AR ads

Anheuser-Busch, for example, was
one of the first companies to dabble in augmented reality last
, when it created a dancing 3D “Bud Light Man” using
Snapchat’s 3D World Lenses. Since then, the company has continued
to work with Snapchat to iterate on new ideas.

The company, for example, brought Budweiser’s iconic “Dilly
Dilly” campaign to life in the US through “Sponsored
,” Snapchat’s gamified AR lenses. If consumers
swiped left on the Snapchat carousel, they were able to use
Snappables to play an interactive game with their friends. If
they swiped right, they could use a dual-lens that they could
share with their friends. 

“AR allows consumers to engage with our brands in a deeper and
more meaningful way while bringing the personalities of our
brands to life,” said Spencer Gordon, senior director
of digital at Anheuser-Busch. “By participating in the program
we’ve been able to tap into the Snapchat team’s consumer
insights, which has allowed us to produce impactful, relevant
creative that’s tailored to the right consumer.”

Snap is trying to create a new ad medium hand-in-hand with big

To be sure, platforms having special groups of marketers and
advertisers dedicated to improve their products and help them
better cater to the industry’s needs is nothing new. Facebook,
for example has a client
as well as a creative and small business council.

But Snap’s AR Partnership Program is different in that it is
tailored according to each client’s individual needs, said
Arguelles. There is a core program strategy team, and other
teams, including engineering and creative, are looped in when
required. The program also includes access to senior leaders and
experts on its engineering and creative teams, such
as Steven M. Horowitz, Snap’s VP of Technology and Jeff
Miller, its global head of creative strategy.

“The team rotates and the cadence depends on each advertiser’s
individual needs,” she said. “It’s a hub-and-spoke model rather
than one large roundtable…[with a] team of experts that
works with each client individually to drive impact.”

When Budweiser launched its biggest-ever commercial campaign
during the soccer World Cup this summer spanning more than 50
countries, for example, it tapped into program to push the
envelope further. Anheuser-Busch reached out to to its Snapchat
reps, asking them whether it could merge sound and AR technology
to create a sound-activated lens.

Once the brand’s account and creative strategy leads confirmed
that such tech was possible and was indeed on the roadmap,
Anheuser-Busch was brought on board as an exclusive launch
partner with a June launch. A Snapchat team built then built the
AR Lens, which was able to recognize volume level around the
phone to make matching animations — in this case encouraging
users to cheer into the camera for their favorite soccer


The brands themselves are plugged in as well. All of
Anheuser-Busch’s digital brand managers, for example, meet with
the Snapchat team on a regular basis to ensure that they are up
to speed on the latest products and services. The company also
has two digital content specialists who help it cascade the
learning, best practices and results across the entire portfolio.

The hope is that AR ads can eventually work for all sorts of Snap

While Adidas, Anheuser-Busch and McDonald’s are big-name first
movers, Snapchat has been increasingly making a bigger play for
direct-response brands and their budgets. This is also reflected
in its AR Partnership Program, which counts King Games, the
UK-based company behind the mobile game Candy Crush, as a member.

King was a launch partner for Shoppable AR, becoming the
first brand to drive app downloads directly from an AR Lens.

“Most marketers haven’t realized that AR can drive results,” said
Shane Horneij, senior director of performance marketing at King.
“Snapchat has millions of people using AR every day, and in a
mindset to play — a perfect opportunity to drive engagement for
our games at scale.”

Ultimately, Snapchat hopes that it’ll be able to use learnings
from the program to relay the value of AR brands of all stripes.
And that the members will start to share best-practices among

“Until now, we’ve gathered learnings at each individual level,”
said Arguelles. “The next step is how do we bring everything
together to cross-pollinate these learnings.”

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