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Nicholas Hall

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In the run up to Content | Campus we managed to get our hands on a pair of Spectacles, the latest ‘must have’ piece of wearable tech from Snapchat, currently only available in the US. First of all just to clarify, ‘must have’ refers to agencies and opportune eBay resellers to whom we paid over the odds to obtain a pair over here in the UK. Whether or not they’re a ‘must have’ wearable for Gen Z’s, Snapchat’s key market, remains to be seen.

In this piece, I’m going to share my first shot at using Spectacles on a recent business trip to Dubai and some thoughts on how indeed they could be an essential piece of kit in any social media marketers toolkit if they’re interested in engaging the gen-z market.

The Spectacles

On un-boxing (sorry, no video here), impression was great. Nice packaging, a nicely patterned textile charging cable, a hard case which doubles up as a charger to re-boost your specs four times over and most importantly a very ‘on-trend’ pair of specs which will have heads turning even before they realise you’re filming.

Contrary to what many say, for me installation was a piece of cake. Switch them on, look at your phone and they’re paired. If someone else pairs the glasses, your saved snaps remain private meaning you can share and share alike without worrying about those accidental bathroom snaps 🙄. If like me you wear prescription lenses, Glasses USA will even ship you a pair of changeable lenses in a range of colours including clear, so you can snap to your heart’s content.

Snapping with Spectacles

A quick tap on the left of the sunglasses starts a new snap, each snap lasts 10 seconds and you can create three in a row if you really see something worthy of a whopping 30 seconds social media air time, unheard of today. Here’s the catch that's both good and bad; what you snap is stored on the specs until you wirelessly sync your phone to get them off. This is where it’s a great little accessory making recording life events easier but cumbersome at the end of the day when ‘editing snaps’ isn’t exactly your idea of relaxing in the evening.

On storage and battery, I’m yet to use up all the memory on the spectacles and the four times battery the case gives seems ample to go throughout an entire day. Where the convenience of Spectacles wears thin is when you have to sync it with your phone through the Snapchat app. You can do a fast sync with Bluetooth or a slow one for HD over Wifi. Here’s where you begin to wonder if they even tested this on a single user who wasn’t serving life in solitary confinement at the time. When syncing in HD, your Spectacles create an open Wifi network for the world to see and off you go transferring. Now this sounds smart but this is where it really hasn’t been thought through at all. I tried syncing at airports, on trains and even on a long-haul flight and every time it was interrupted as the people around you think someone’s just created a free wifi network, they join your specs and disrupt your transfer (not to mention all the security implications!). Totally mad.

Editing and Sending Stories

If you’re going to do Snapchat properly, you’re going to want to invest time to create funky animations, filters, text effects, emojis, you name it. All the stupid things that Snapchat is about. Now, in testing the spectacles I must confess I wasn’t a wild Snapchat user, just someone who checks it out from time to time to see if the app has changed. In test mode however, I decided to go full on and found myself dedicating a couple of hours each day just to importing, selecting, filtering and publishing snaps. What’s more, there are many great ‘additions’ that only spectacles users get, such as having a gallery of content to select from, making emojis track moving objects (that one’s really cool) and saving stories indefinitely, which admittedly is no longer a feature unique to spectacles.

The End Result

The end result is great, in fact I don’t think I can criticise it if Snapchat is your endpoint. If you want to be a Snapchat queen, or in my case a Snapchat king, these are the ultimate accessory. The ability to capture literally every step of every trip and every unexpected moment the second it happens is pure gold for bloggers, influencers, content creators and it even not bad if you’re average joe who wants to share his experience with friends.

The quality of the ‘HD’ snaps is really good, perhaps exaggerating the term HD as it gets thrown about pretty loosely these days but really nice quality nonetheless. The point of differentiation is that your followers will be highly impressed with the small, but cool, feature, which is turning your phone any way 360° and your snaps stay horizontal, meaning shifting your phone to landscape get’s you a wider view than portrait.

If however you’re not a Snapchat goddess or a very dedicated gen-z social media manager, you might find the value of the specs a tad questionable. Put it bluntly, you can’t really get good usable content out of Snapchat, despite having an option to save videos to your device. I’m not sure if this is just an interesting quirk or they deliberately did this to make them useless for any other purpose, but the video you save to your device is a round video, as opposed to the standard 16:9 format. For me, that just isn’t working out and I struggle to find any genuinely good way to remix the content for other purposes, making it fairly limited in appeal. Then again, this is Snapchat all over.

Destinations & Travel

So I’ve painted a fairly mixed picture of the spectacles so far right? Well, if you’re ready to accept forking out $300+ dollars for a pair of sunglasses which allow you to post content to Snapchat and do little else with that content, do read on. Here are some thoughts on where spectacles can be a really neat addition to your marketing strategy.

In the tourism industry, we are struggling day to day with the explosion of channels and formats to battle with. Our small marketing teams, became content teams, became creative teams and basically became everything teams until one day they explode with the day to day volume of conversations and the need to, ensuring their brand remains a relevant part of them. This is where spectacles could in fact be part of the answer, at least for one channel that is.

As these are still the ‘must have’ device in social media tech, getting hold of a pair early on will make you the envy of Snapchat influencers who you might want to be working with. A great way to engage them is to invite them to trial spectacles using your destination as their canvas. Another opportunity is your customers, if your core customer base is the gen-z marketing then you might already have a pair, but if not why not lend a pair of spectacles each day to a carefully selected guest in return for great content. What better way to show the experience you create through the eyes of your guests?

As you’ll see from the examples I shared, spectacles can be a lot of fun, even for those who aren’t avid Snapchat users, so handing a pair to first time users will really produce great content and interesting stories about what guests get up to, ehm. This can work wonders for destinations, but also hotels, airlines, tour providers you name it and what a great way to make the visitor experience all the more exciting.

Lastly, if you want to go all out and paint the town yellow, consider making a Snapchat hotel, boat, plane, city square or anything else for that matter. In the early days of twitter and Instagram we saw a few examples of hotels taking the opportunity to be ‘the first’, so this could be your opportunity to be ‘the first Snapchat hotel in the world’. Enjoy the PR spin that creates, invite top Snapchat influencers to stay for free and create a unique product which appeals to a market much of the industry is grappling to understand.

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