May 20, 2024

What I learned from using Snap Spectacles as a marketer, tech geek and a dad


There’s nothing cooler than a dad walking down the street sporting a sweet pair of new sunglasses –– at least that’s what I tell myself. Sure, it’s wishful thinking, unless he’s wearing Snap’s new Spectacles.

In the midst of Snap’s financials getting picked apart during its run-up to an IPO, I got my hands on a pair of the headline-generating eyewear. And while the jury’s out on how these new accessories have moved the needle on my cool dad barometer, they’ve definitely made an impact on how I’m thinking about social strategy and the future of storytelling.

As the co-founder of a social media agency, I’m pondering the opportunities Spectacles can bring to both our clients, aiding in our attempt to spark next-level joy for their customers and fans. But I’m also an undeniable tech enthusiast and [cool] dad, so was naturally excited for a new addition to my collection of first-run technology… from the Palm Pilot to my Apple Watch.

As a marketer…

I’ll admit it right up front: I’ve been endlessly impressed with the marketing campaign for the Spectacles themselves –– causing a frantic demand among the tech elite. The folks from our agency eagerly stood in line with our advertising peers, media reps, and of course, BuzzFeed. Spectacles continue to generate a massive footprint of buzz for Snap, compared to its very small distribution.

The Shadowhunters cast wore Spectacles to give fans a glimpse in the live tweeting session during the season 2 premiere. Video from the @ShadowhuntersTV Snapchat account, courtesy of Freeform.

Our team has already started using Spectacles at live events to provide a heads-up experience and we’re getting good lift by acknowledging that we’re using the Specs. Logistically, posting multiple videos in a sequence is very easy. The added value of editing, doodling on, and pruning out videos before they post is key to producing real-time native creative.

The thing that has me most intrigued, however, is the new “circular video” format that Spectacles generates for mobile viewing. The way you rotate your phone to see the edges truly feels different and innovative. It feels instantly more usable than the 360 video experience on Facebook or YouTube. It’s a game-changer; engaging, approachable, and encourages repeat viewing. I’m looking forward to creating lots of circular video in the near future.

An interesting aside — as I wore the Specs, I was instantly aware of the potential downside of inconspicuously wearing a camera. I traveled to a client’s office with heavy security and, while they inspected my bag and laptop, they didn’t even question my glasses.

As a tech geek…

I’m stoked on the packaging, form and function. From the tubular container to the ghost-shaped cleaning cloth companion, it’s just fun. For a “side project,” the Spectacles already feel pretty vital to my Snapchat experience. It makes me use Snapchat more. Since getting them, I’ve posted almost every day, as opposed to once a week (or less frequently!). As Snap repositions itself as a platform for everyone –– not just young people –– these glasses went a long way for me.

I also love the singular focus of the glasses that do one simple thing –– take a 10-second video and automatically throw it to your phone. Not complicated. Not overzealous. Not trying to take over the world –– just giving you the ability to capture a memory the way you actually experience it.

My only complaint is that the circular video output only really works well in Snapchat. It’s not universal. Sure, I can export a square fisheye video to post or save elsewhere, but it makes me a little nervous to save all memories in a single-use format.

As a dad…

I love the convenience of having a video camera ready at any moment. If you’re a parent, or ever have been around small children, you know that they do hilarious things, but they rarely do them twice, and certainly never slow down. It’s sometimes impossible to capture it on camera.

Yet, with the Specs, I have been able to film some surprisingly sweet moments with my kids. Watching my Spec videos is like a home movie of my own memories watching them dance, chasing them around the park, and exploring a monument on a family trip –– all from my perspective. These are all moments I might have missed if I tried to get out my phone, find the right app, and press record. The convenience felt like the first time I used a Flip camera a decade ago. My kids got it and loved it instantly. They’ve already commandeered my Specs and are shooting videos from their vantage, and so I get the added value of seeing the world, literally, through their eyes.

I do wish there was a way for me to wear the Specs more, but I don’t want to be one of those guys who wears sunglasses all day long, even if they are cutting edge tech. It might embarrass my kids. Then again, isn’t that a dad’s job?

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