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Snapchat’s New Billboards Are Giant Inside Jokes for Snapchat Users

The unbranded outdoor ads are a sneaky signal to a certain segment of consumers.

WHAT: Snapchat opted to step out of the digital realm and into the oldest-fashioned of old-fashioned media–big yellow signs on the street–for its new campaign. The billboards, which are on the streets in Chicago, Palm Springs, Boston, Montreal, and other cities, eschew all Snapchat logos and branding in favor of a graphic representation of the location, like the ones that users find when they thumb through the app’s geofilters.

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WHO: Snapchat (with MediaVest for the buy).

WHY WE CARE: It’s fascinating to see a company like Snapchat invest in outdoor ads that are utterly uninterested in engaging people who aren’t already familiar with their product. If you’re not a Snapchat user who likes to scroll through your filter options, you’re more likely to assume that the campaign is some city-sponsored civic pride than it is advertising for an app. But if you do use Snapchat, the billboards instantly give you A) something to photograph and B) a reminder that you have Snapchat on your phone, and maybe you want to use it to share a snap on your story.

Related: Why Snapchat Is The Greatest New Storytelling Tool

About the author

Dan Solomon lives in Austin with his wife and his dog. He's written about music for MTV and Spin, sports for Sports Illustrated, and pop culture for Vulture and the AV Club.

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