As Assistant Media Manager for Business Development & Innovation and the newest addition to Ad Council’s West Coast team, I have been tasked with the exciting job of building social impact partnerships that raise awareness of critical issues on the digital media front. Most recently, I had the opportunity to work collaboratively on a partnership with Snapchat for our Wildfire Prevention campaign.
Although new to the organization, I am no stranger to how dear we hold our very own icon, Smokey Bear. This year, as a gift to Smokey Bear, and a continuation of spreading awareness about the dangers of wildfires, we have a big announcement. In celebration of his 73rd birthday month, we have developed our first-ever Smokey Bear lens!
Smokey Bear’s custom lens launched on Snapchat nationwide at 12 a.m. (local time) THIS MORNING, August 29th. The branded lens will be available to all U.S Snapchat users (around 71 million daily-active users) across the country and is live for a 24-hour period.
Since 1944, Smokey Bear has shared his prevention slogan, “Only you can prevent wildfires,” and now thanks to our partnership with Snapchat, we can bring his words to life using this lens.
The Smokey Bear Wildfire Prevention campaign is the longest-running public service advertising campaign in U.S. history, educating Americans about their role in preventing wildfires. Our beloved Smokey Bear has transcended generations, not just with 73 years of recognition and reminiscence, but now he’s making a splash in the digital and social world of today.
This partnership is unique as it not only reaches our target audiences, but it allows them to engage and interact with our content – we believe that is what will make the lens awesome for Snapchat users and spreading Smokey Bear’s message.
Below I’ve listed three best practices I found to be crucial in the launching of our first lens, which we will continue to lean on in future executions with Snapchat.
Make Sure the Lens is Interactive
Our Smokey Bear lens utilizes all the capabilities Snapchat allows with the combination of movement, sound, and visual, making the lens interactive on all levels of the experience.
When users open the lens view in the Snapchat app, they are able to see the Smokey Bear lens option and have the ability to turn their faces into Smokey Bear himself! Other visual features include the classic Smokey Bear hat and shovel.
The lens becomes even more interactive when the user opens their mouth and the words “Only You Can Prevent Wildfires” appear. Snapchat took it a step further by producing the gruff, voice-changing capability and a pointing paw.
Focus on Engagement
This campaign aims to develop personal responsibility in preventing wildfires – as we have learned from Smokey Bear, nearly nine out of ten wildfires nationwide, on average, are caused by people. By turning yourself into Smokey Bear, it creates a heightened sense of personal responsibility around wildfire prevention as you’ve now turned into the actual messenger.
With Snapchat being a sharable experience, users can post themselves using the Smokey Bear lens on their story as well as share individual photos or videos privately with their friends on Snapchat. This helps start a conversation among Snapchat friends that will hopefully expand outside of the app as well.
On average, 1 in 3 daily active users on Snapchat’s platform play with lenses every day. This creates greater exposure for Smokey Bear and will put wildfire prevention at top of mind for millions of Snapchat users.
In an effort to drive even more reach for this lens, we partnered with Influencer Marketing agencies, Delmondo and Popshorts. Thanks to their support, we’ll have several Snapchat influencers develop unique content with Smokey Bear, encouraging their fans to use our lens.
Now, we can all assist Smokey Bear in spreading the word, not wildfires.