Disney and Snapchat partner for AR lens ahead of latest ‘Avatar’ release


    • Disney and Snap partnered to create a custom Snapchat augmented reality lens ahead of the anticipated release of “Avatar: The Way of Water,” according to details shared with Marketing Dive. The movie is set to premier Dec. 16. 
    • Using 3D graphics and computer vision technology, those using the filter will see their face transformed with blue hues to replicate characters in the movie. Snapchat users can open the lens directly from the app or find it using a link that includes a scannable QR code. 
    • The tie-up follows other collaborations between Disney and Snapchat and comes as Snap in its latest quarter earnings reported that it would more heavily prioritize its AR technology.


    Theatrical campaigns using an AR lens in 2021 in addition to video buys saw a 32% average incremental reach, according to research cited in the release. Which could be why Disney is expanding its relationship with Snap ahead of the highly anticipated latest installment to the “Avatar” film franchise, hoping to drive interest in its 3D format. To date, the films have driven significant ticket sales. However, “Avatar: The Way of Water” arrives at a moment when Disney is looking to course correct after a recent earnings report showed revenue missing expectations and amid reports suggesting the new Avatar film needs to make $2 billion to break even, which could be a challenge since interest in 3D films isn’t exactly robust. 

    With the Snapchat lens, users can see their mouth, eyes, head shape, hair and skin change as they transform into a Na’vi, the inhabitants of the fictitious Pandora world that the movie “Avatar” takes place in, with the look completed with a signature blue-striped texture. Disney promoted the tie-up on Instagram, enlisting “Avatar” star Trinity Bliss, who plays Tuktirey, to demonstrate the lens.

    In April, Disney and Snap came together to create an AR mural of Cinderella’s castle using customers’ Disney PhotoPass photos. Snap also worked with Disney’s PhotoPass service to create special AR lenses for the My Disney Experience app.

    Disney isn’t the only one calling on Snapchat this year. American Eagle for its holiday social media strategy focuses heavily on the platform’s AR technology, creating three festive, virtual storefronts that allow users to shop on the app for clothes. In the past, each of American Eagle’s virtual storefronts on Snapchat have generated about $2 million in revenue. Amazon Fashion in November utilized Snapchat’s Shopping Lenses to allow the app’s users to virtually try-on thousands of eyewear brands available for purchase.

    Snap, in its latest earnings call, mentioned that among three top priorities in the fourth quarter, augmented reality is one of them, and perhaps for good reason — Snapchat sees over six billion AR lens plays every day on average, per details shared in the release. Further, brands who utilize branded AR experiences are 41% more likely to be considered by consumers, per the platform. Leaning further into the technology could help lift Snap during what it predicts to be a shaky fourth quarter.


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