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Three partners with Snapchat as it looks to AR to build its brand

Three has unveiled the world’s first augmented reality Snapchat pet – Puggerfly – as it looks to boost its digital presence and tap into Snapchat’s 12 million-strong daily UK audience.

From today (26 April), Snapchat users will be able to interact with a Tamagotchi-style digital pug-butterfly and follow its story as it transforms from ‘Puppyfly’ to ‘Puggerfly’ over the course of a week.

Through a variety of lenses, they will be able to feed their pet bones, clear up its rainbow poo and watch it twerk. And, in another first for Snapchat, hand recognition technology will recognise a user’s hand so they can summon a lead via the front-facing camera and take it for a walk.

It builds on Three UK’s ‘Go Binge’ proposition, launched last year, which allows customers to watch and listen to services including Netflix, Apple Music and Deezer without eating into their mobile data allowance. Three customers can also now use Snapchat without using any data.

Three says the decision to work with Snapchat came about because it wanted a partner that was mobile-first, free and something that customers could truly engage with.

Snapchat fits the bill because of its reach in the UK, which includes Three’s two key target audiences, the 16- to 34-year-old ‘trend setters’ and 25- to 44-year-old ‘social enthusiasts’. According to Snapchat, users spend an average of 30 minutes a day on its platform.

“The biggest thing you’ll start to see from this campaign – and also what Three is doing – is that it is a true partnership, so we didn’t want a brand that just wanted to put a logo on an outdoor ad,” explains Three UK’s director of propositions, Jasmine Skee.

“We wanted a brand that wanted to come on board with us to co-create something so that we can talk to the audience that we need to talk to.”

A campaign to promote the tie-up, created by Wieden+Kennedy London and The Mill, with a media plan from Mindshare, will make its debut to UK TV viewers during the advertising break of Hollyoaks and Emmerdale.

The 30-second spot will be accompanied by press, digital and social advertising, while a nationwide out-of-home campaign will include a huge airborne Puggerfly in the Liverpool One shopping centre. Puggerfly has also taken over Three’s five concept stores in London, Maidenhead, Manchester, Glasgow and Liverpool.

Snapchat’s international head of creative strategy, Will Scougal, says the Puggerfly campaign is camera marketing “at its most powerful,” and underlines the potential of AR as an immersive and storytelling brand-building vehicle.

“A great example of how creativity and AR can be beautifully combined to delight people on Snapchat and turn them into advocates of the brand,” Scougal says.

More than 250 million AR Snaps are shared every day, while 70% of users play with AR each month and 30% for more than three minutes a day.