Exciting as Snapchat’s effort to reinvent the publishing portal may be, the ads in Snapchat’s Discover section have not been. Generally they have been vertically cropped versions of brands’ TV and YouTube spots. Encountering these zoomed-in ads while swiping through publishers’ custom-designed articles and videos is like coming across an old-school, standard-definition commercial on your big-screen TV. But that’s starting to change.
Since late July, Snapchat has added a number of publishers like BuzzFeed, Mashable, Refinery29 and Tastemade that not only sell ads but also make them, spurring brands like Coca-Cola, Dunkin’ Donuts and TV network Pivot to opt for ads that are more native to the mobile app’s vertically oriented environment.
Of the early ads on Discover, “a lot of them felt really jury-rigged for this platform,” said Jeff Petriello, who heads Mashable’s emerging media group Mashable Collective. “We’re starting to see Coca-Cola ads on Tastemade that I really like and some other stuff since the new round of publishers have come out that feels like somebody thought about Snapchat Discover when they were making this.”
Tastemade’s Head of Production Jay Holzer had little else to think about when creating that ad for Coca-Cola in late August. It was three days before the food-focused digital video network’s Discover channel was set to debut and Coca-Cola’s creative guidelines were pretty minimal: make something that would resonate with Snapchat’s audience of primarily teenagers and twenty-somethings that are disillusioned by traditional advertising. In other words, no repurposing of existing ads.
“One of the things we wanted to do was make sure we took advantage of the vertical framing,” Mr. Holzer said.
Mr. Holzer and Tastemade’s team brainstormed concepts that would “build up” from the bottom of the screen to the top and incorporate the Coke bottle, which would serve as a vertical anchor. They came up with the idea of pairing the drink with foods whose ingredients were layered atop one another, such as sandwiches and tacos. They shot and edited one — starring a turkey sandwich and a Coke bottle — from a couch in Tastemade’s Santa Monica, Calif. studio, “in like an hour, and we got it back to them, and they were like, ‘Yes, this is great,'” Mr. Holzer said. “Then we shot five more of them that same day.” A Coca-Cola spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment.
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