The Snapchat Spectacle

written by
hosted by
Luke Miller
published on
December 16, 2016

“6 billion dollars and he didn’t sell, what an idiot!” I once emphatically proclaimed to a friend. That was the number Facebook offered Evan Spiegel to buy his company, Snapchat (now Snap, Inc.), about 2 or 3 years back.

“There is no way he can grow that company much more, he should sell.” I continued. I was wrong that it wouldn’t grow, Facebook was wrong that they didn’t offer more, and I am sure throngs of others were wrong with their opinions of Snapchat too.

I once developed an app very similar to Snapchat. It was called Exposure and it essentially did the same thing, but Snapchat did it better. Facebook once developed an app very similar to Snapchat. It was called Poke and it essentially did the same thing, but Snapchat did it better.

Do you see the pattern here? Snapchat is doing it right. Snapchat is a media and marketing darling. I don’t know if they can make a wrong move. They haven’t yet and I challenge them to prove me wrong.

Their latest endeavor, Spectacles, further supports this can do no wrong credo. Google once released a pair of spectacles, they called them Glass…Snapchat did it better. Whether or not Snapchat Spectacles are a trend or have some staying power, their launch will go down as one of the greatest marketing and PR stories of all time. A product so aptly named; Spectacles did it right. They flipped the script, they did it the only why they knew how: the Snapchat way.

When Google released Glass, they allowed sign-ups, they solicited the tech community, and they priced themselves out of the very market they created. Tech writers, who got them for free, tore them apart, early adopters, who paid way too much for them, couldn’t figure out what to do with them, and everyone else, well, they just didn’t care.

When Snapchat released Spectacles, they did it with authority. They targeted the right person and they priced it right, but, ultimately, the delivery mechanism is what made it work. The way you got your Spectacles was out of a Coke machine like ‘Bot’ with no human interaction. Sometimes that Bot was in a building in New York City and sometimes it was at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. There was only ever one Bot and where it was going next was a mystery. It was exclusive, spontaneous, impersonal, cool. The experience of receiving Spectacles was as much a part as the experience of using Spectacles themselves.

I was fortunate enough to get my hands on a pair. They are incredibly useful, rather intuitive, and people are in awe when you use them.

My one complaint? They are always sunglasses. How about some transition lens or something?

Snapchat’s one complaint? They don’t have one, because here I am doing exactly what they hoped for: writing a blog and proliferating the conversation. Kudos Snap. This is marketing gold and we’re all taking notes. You should be damn proud of the Spectacle you’ve created.

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