Labatt turns cases of beer into NHL arenas with Snapchat lens


Dive Brief:

  • Beer brand Labatt USA is teaming with Snap and four NHL teams on an augmented reality (AR) experience, per details emailed to Marketing Dive. The teams included are the Pittsburgh Penguins, Philadelphia Flyers, Buffalo Sabres and Detroit Red Wings.
  • In those teams’ markets, Snapchat users who scan Snapcodes on select Labatt USA boxes will unlock a Marker Lens experience that causes an arena and virtual Jumbotron to appear in AR. In addition, Labatt USA launched Selfie and Gamified World Lenses featuring jerseys for the teams in each market.
  • The first-of-its-kind Marker Lens gives hockey fans another way to engage with the NHL as most teams — including the ones participating in the partnership — cannot host fans at games. The Canadian-born beer is distributed by FIFCO USA in the U.S., but marketed by AB InBev outside of the U.S.

Dive Insight:

Labatt’s partnership with Snap and four NHL teams allows the beer brand to tap into increased interest in the hockey season, especially in the days after the Super Bowl. The use of Snapchat AR lenses gives fans an interactive way to engage with both the beer brand and the league, as most games are still being held without fans in the stands. The activation also points to how, during pandemic lockdowns, interest has grown in contactless experiences that engage consumers when they leave their homes.

Optional Caption

Courtesy of Snap

“This truly is a best-in-class example of how forward-thinking brands have adapted to safely and creatively bring memorable experiences to consumers using AR on Snapchat,” Matthew Shore, creative strategy lead at Snap, said in emailed comments.

Seven out of 10 Snapchat users use the app while watching sports and over 200 million users engage with AR every day on average, per details shared by Snap, making the sports-based AR activation a good use of the social media platform to reach consumers where they are. Snapchat’s daily active users increased 22% year-over-year to 265 million, per its most recent earnings report.

AR activations on Snapchat have proven popular with beer and liquor marketers. Natural Light in January visualized the U.S. college debt crisis through an AR lens it billed as the “most expensive piece of art in the world.” Previously, 1800 Tequila and Constellation Brands’ Victoria beer rolled out AR experiences on the mobile platform.

For the NHL, the Labatt partnership is its latest digital content innovation as it seeks to engage fans during the pandemic. The league rolled out “tons of content,” doubled down on data and used new camera angles during its games, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said during a session at January’s all-virtual Consumer Electronics Show.

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