3 min read

Snapchat Spectacles: What They Are and Ways to Use Them

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I recently purchased a pair of Snapchat Spectacles, the video-recording sunglasses, to test out. They're now available for purchase online, so here's what I thought of them and a few examples of how brands have used them so far.

If you're thinking of buying them and leveraging them in your marketing, there are a few things to know up-front:

  • They only produce video, not still photos
  • The video only looks good within the Snapchat app, though you can download it and share it in other ways
  • Part of what the Snapchat app provides is the ability to rotate the video 360-degrees, which is cool but not supported in other channels outside of the app
  • While you can't edit the videos, you can annotate them in the same way as you do in the app (as in the escalator video above)

To begin recording a 10-second video, tap the button on the corner of the left frame. If you tap it twice in a row, it records a 20-second video. When recording, a light turns on and spins in the corner of the frame to let you, and everyone around you, know that you’re taking a video. This is different from how Google Glass worked when everyone was self-conscious of being secretly recorded.

Having the ability to take hands-free, first-person video offers a lot of creative potential. Especially if you want to give your customers and prospects a first-hand point-of-view of what it's like to interact with your brand or products. The challenge is that while the camera records what you're seeing, there's no way to tell what's actually in the shot without looking at the video on your phone. Though with some practice, you get pretty good at framing things up, and it's fairly intuitive.

As for looks – which may not be as important if you're thinking of buying them for your marketing projects and not everyday use– Snapchat Spectacles are more stylish than Google Glass.

However, looks and style were the biggest con I saw when testing them out in public. They scream NERD and draw a lot of looks from people passing by. Additionally, as they're sunglasses, night shooting is a bit of a challenge. If you're interested in them and wondering how to leverage them in your marketing, here are a few examples from Digiday of brands that have already tested the water:

Hyatt Hotels

In conjunction with the release of their TV spot, “For a World of Understanding," the hotel brand leveraged Spectacles to drive home a message about understanding the perspective of others. They enlisted eight employees from its hotels around the world to offer a perspective of the world “through their eyes.” Their stories have been woven together, and the brand is sharing them on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and also putting some paid support behind it.

L’Oréal Paris

L’Oréal Paris used Snapchat Spectacles during this year's Golden Globes. The devices were worn by their celebrity makeup artist, Sir John, as well as other brand ambassadors, who used them to stream behind-the-scenes content, from celebrities getting ready backstage to the walk down the red carpet. The 10-second videos were streamed to the brand’s Snapchat account.


As last year’s Christmas holidays kicked into gear, Grubhub took to the streets of Chicago, using Snapchat Spectacles to take viewers on a tour of a day in the life of a delivery man. The idea behind the effort was to “show you how we deliver joy at Grubhub,” according to the brand’s blog. The behind-the-scenes peek included two regular deliveries, as well as a pitstop at Engine 18, where the brand delivered some doughnuts to firefighters. The delivery man also went to Millennium Park, distributing warm coffee and sugar cookies to visitors there.

GrubHub | Snapchat Spectacles Strategy | Digital Advertising Agency | Mighty Roar

Sour Patch Kids

Sour Patch Kids was one of the first brands to try out Snapchat Spectacles, uploading a video showing how to make cookies with Sour Patch Kids in them. The video also featured regular Snapchat features, like added text and emojis, but gave viewers a unique look into baking from the perspective of the baker. They used text to relay baking instructions to the viewers like “add flour.” (editor's note: Sour Patch Kids cookies sound gross)

Esquire Network

Esquire Network used Spectacles to post a 90-second video of a motorcycle ride to promote its show “Wrench Against the Machine”. The ride was filmed from the viewpoint of a motorcyclist, who zipped past traffic in Venice Beach, near Snapchat’s California headquarters. At the end of the Snap story, Esquire also added text, asking viewers to “enjoy the ride” for the premiere of the show.

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