Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) is the first brand to use Snapchat’s new 360-degree ad format to provide users with a “snackable” 10-second ad, as the brand admits the days of 20-minute engagement are “long gone”.

The campaign promotes SPE’s new thriller ‘Don’t Breathe’, which hits UK cinemas in early September. The film sees three thieves breaking into a blind veteran’s house, only to find themselves trapped inside and fighting for their lives.

Unlike many 360-degree videos where viewers simply turn in place, SPE worked with AvatarLabs to allow viewers to not only rotate their view 360 degrees but also move forward. The technology also has an ‘attachment’ feature, allowing users to read a synopsis or view extra images.

Aaron Wahle, senior vice president of international digital marketing at SPE, told Marketing Week the brand wanted to give young viewers a feeling of “being in the dark and feeling claustrophobic” to drive them to the cinema to see the film.

“Snapchat presents its advertising in a great way. We wanted to make people have that feeling where a stranger with super human abilities is coming at you. With the new technology, people can also view the ad from different angles,” he said.

Sony debuts Snapchat’s new 360 video ad feature from Marketing Week on Vimeo.


Why 360 video is not a fad

Wahle believes the brand’s heavy focus on tech is setting a precedent for “how movies should be marketed in today’s social media age”.

He claims initial tests show people spend an average of two minutes with the ad, a success given people’s short attention spans on mobile.

While campaign success is still focused on box office sales and “getting butts in seats”, engagement and whether audiences enjoyed the experience are also important.

“[The campaign] is really for people to have an authentic experience online, as this is getting harder and harder. It’s snackable and easy to digest, and if users look at it a second time – great.”

“We look at single digit figures [when it comes to engagement]. The days where people are on a film site for 20 minutes are long gone.”

Aaron Wahle, senior vice president of international digital marketing, Sony Pictures Entertainment

Whale admitted one of the challenges of using 360 video was convincing others within the company that “it isn’t a fad and will cut through”. However for this to happen he said brands must make sure they place the creative “in the right place at the right time for the right people” while making it feel “natural and authentic”.

Ultimately, Wahle believes 360 video will become part of mainstream culture very soon.

He concludes: “There is currently a transitioning happening from regular video to 360 video to VR. Because Google and Facebook have been doing such a good job of making 360 video and VR a priority, it’s now seeping into mainstream [culture].”

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