Snapchat was purely software, and the only way you’d really notice the app would be by seeing it load up on someone else’s smartphone. Spectacles bring a new name to Snapchat, and encourage others with or without the app to do a double-take on the street when they see the glasses, thinking “What are those?”
Spectacles have been explained as a marketing experiment. Spiegel admits that he doesn’t know how the glasses will do, but by rolling them out slowly, he can adapt them to respond to user concerns. The glasses will use this feedback loop to make further iterations to the product line, and I’m sure a “Spectacles 2.0” is already in the works because of this.
Legitimizing the service, Spectacles give more credibility to its social media app, since older folks still view Snapchat as a place for “naughty behaviour”. The app is simple, fun, and easy, where the Spectacles are simple, fun, and bold. The boldness gives the company an air of seriousness, particularly with them rebranding as Snap Inc. This shift shows that they’re not just some viral app anymore, but a successful company with a product line, a viable means of income, and they aren’t going anywhere any time soon.
The best part of Spectacles is that they disrupt an industry that they themselves created.
Snapchat formed its own unique brand of social media, where the phone is used as a brief little diary of a user’s life. The personal phone became the personal lens into a personal perspective of a life that doesn’t get shown anywhere else. Despite having little competition in this field, Spectacles upped their own game by giving people a new, even more intimate and personal lens to look through. They essentially disrupted their own industry.
Advertising of the Spectacles is more or less free for Snap Inc. When people view their friends’ stories, and some start to be filmed through the Spectacles, users will notice the difference immediately, and think “Wow, I want those.” The difference in video quality and style itself will be enough to provoke more buyers, as it’s the latest, coolest, and best-looking experience they’ve ever encountered. The new circular video style will also inspire a new wave of creatives who will take advantage of this niche filming approach, thus boosting the popularity and appeal of the glasses.
The biggest question people are asking, though — will the Spectacles stop users from using Snapchat on their phones?
No. Quite simply, because the user still needs to open Snapchat to publish these videos. The greatest thing about Spectacles is that the videos don’t need to ever be public. Users can record video, automatically have it saved, and keep it for personal reflection if they so please.
Herein lies the crucial point of Spectacles as a marketing tool. Through their release, people now perceive Snapchat in a different, introspective way. Previously, Snapchat was only used to show other people the user’s simple, day-to-day life. Now, with Spectacles, users can record their experience for themselves. The audience grew from the user’s friends to include just the user. The glasses gave a new lens, a different perspective, an expanded audience, and a new purpose to Snapchat.
That, in itself, is enough reason to call these retro glasses disruptive.
– Austin Fisher