NZ Transport Agency leads the way in using Snapchat as a campaign platform

“What should we do about our social strategy?” “Do we need to do more than Facebook?” “How can we keep up?”

“Everything is changing so fast.” “We can’t do it all.”

If you’re asking these questions or feeling these emotions, you certainly aren’t alone. I hear these phrases on a pretty regular basis.

But fear not—while online communication and social media platforms have multiplied like rabbits over the past decade or so, the rules of the game have ultimately stayed the same. Marketing is and always has been about knowing your customers, understanding where they are and what they want, and creating meaningful dialogues and experiences with them in order to foster a relationship of trust.

This message will self destructOne platform that has been gaining ground especially with millenials over the past few years is Snapchat. If you’re not familiar with Snapchat, think of it as Vine meets Instant Messenger meets Mr. Quimby’s self-destructing messages for Inspector Gadget. As of August 2014, it had a user base of over 100 million users, 70% of whom were <25 years old.

Like most social platforms, Snapchat started out as a way for people to keep in touch. Until now it has been largely free of ads, marketers and all the noise—pure in content—if not by moral standards, at least from a marketing vs. native conversation standpont. But like with any fast-growing communication platform, these things never last very long.

In August NZ Transport launched a drug-driving campaign aimed at marijuana users and leveraged Snapchat to do it. Only a handful of other marketers have dipped their toes into Snapchat so far, but NZTA’s work is a great example of smart targeting a storytelling strategy fit for the medium. They started by creating a series of videos by a likeable, entertaining group of pot smoking guys under a user the organization dubbed “tinnyvision” and published the videos to Snapchat followers. After having sent a number of playful and goofy videos, they hit followers with one that graphically demonstrates the consequences of reduced reaction times when driving under the influence of marijuana. Immediately after, followers receive a simple message from NZTA, “Stoned drivers are slower to react.” Check it out here:

On a related note, yesterday SnapChat confirmed that the platform will be introducing its first ad product imminently. Find out more about CEO Evan Spiegel’s announcement yesterday on Mashable.

Is your organization using Snapchat? Seen any other cool campaigns on Snapchat lately? Share your comments below.

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