How Sprite drove more than 2 million Snapchat views in just a few days

A new campaign for Sprite that puts Snapchat codes on its cans in Brazil has received more than 2 million views in just a few days, according to the agency behind the campaign. The company shipped millions of cans with the Snapchat logo slapped on the side, along with scannable images that act like QR codes that lead consumers to other accounts on the messaging app.

The campaign started with 15 different Snapchat codes printed on cans, connecting to Web celebrities and other local notables. The ad stars are sharing Sprite-related stories on Snapchat, which have now been viewed 2.3 million times in two days, according to the people behind the effort. (View counts on Snapchat do not necessarily reflect total audience, because often the same person watches a clip more than once.)

“Sprite has a young audience in Brazil, a very young audience,” said Felipe Simi of CUBOCC, the agency that helped create the Sprite Snapchat tie-up. “We are talking about Gen Z, not even millennials anymore.”

This is a first for Snapchat, which has never paired its logo with a product. Its account codes have, however, been used by publishers and others that post them on places like Twitter to accumulate more friends on the app.

The campaign is only running in Brazil, but the idea is reminiscent of Sprite’s parent company, Coca-Cola, and its Share a Coke marketing, in which people were able to personalize their cans. In this campaign, Sprite will start to print everyday consumers’ Snapchat account codes on cans, which will hit store shelves, too. So, eventually consumers will be connecting with each other, only it will be a surprise which cans lead to which Snapchat accounts — some will lead to the celebrities involved and others to regular users.

Brazil to Snapchat: ‘I like the Sprite in you’

If the initial performance is any indication, users should be prepared for a surge in friends.
“Coca-Cola is a really powerful medium in Brazil,” Simi said. “And the can has this huge distribution.”

It might be strange to think of cans as a medium, but that’s what Sprite is doing, considering that 40 percent of the desired young audience isn’t watching TV, Simi said. Snapchat is now reaching close to 200 million people globally, and tens of millions of them visit daily, he said. The youngest generation considers it the No. 1 app for their media consumption, according to his agency’s research.

Almost 500 people have sent their Snapchat codes to Sprite’s website in the past two days, Simi said. The company will decide which accounts get to be printed on actual cans, clearly vetting to limit any scandalous outcomes.

This is not the first time Sprite has leaned on Snapchat for marketing. Its agency, Wieden+Kennedy New York, set up a pop-up retail location in New York this summer, and people nearby were offered special filters to put on their Snapchat photos.

Snapchat is becoming a force in millennial-and-younger marketing, mostly on the back of these special experiences. Some in the ad world are not sold on whether it can scale the idea into a business that demands advertiser money like Facebook does. Also QR codes generally have been a flop in the U.S. after receiving a swell of initial hype years ago, according to ad industry observers.

“Stickers, overlays on photos, and those kinds of custom filter overlays, that’s more interesting,” said one ad agency source with ties to Sprite and Snapchat, who didn’t want to be identified.

Snapchat recently sold its first Sponsored Lens, which is an animated filter, for the movie “Peanuts. Users could tap their screens, and the animated lens would pop up on top of their photos to be shared with friends.

The Sprite campaign also relies on Snapchat personalities, just like campaigns often rely on YouTube or Vine celebrities. In this case, Sprite went for accounts run by people and artists popular in Brazil, including PC Siqueira, Pyong Lee the Magic Korean, graffiti artist Chivitz and skater Dwayne Fugundes.

Snapchatters with influence constitute an area that a number of brands see potential in, because they see a way to get their content in front of Snapchat users in a way that is typically less expensive than direct sponsorships.