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Sony Pictures' Underworld gets first-ever 3D-interactive promotional lens

Sony Pictures? newest blockbuster film, Underworld: Blood Wars, is getting the mobile treatment with a Snapchat campaign that production company Screen Gems calls the world?s first 3D-interactive Snapchat lens.

The promotion celebrates the release of the latest film in the Underworld franchise, a series of films about a secret war between werewolves and vampires. The 3D lens applies an Underworld-themed filter to an entire room and not just a static overlay.

"Brand adoption is certainly increasing, but marketers are still trying to figure out how to leverage Snapchat in a way that compliments their overall audience engagement strategies on social," said Toni Box, senior director of social media and content at PMX Agency. "Snapchat?s explosive user base growth has a lot to do with the fact that their content is so dynamic, and brands are getting better at finding smart ways to develop more native-feeling product promotion that gets the best bang for their marketing buck, but also stays authentic to the platform. 

"There are still questions about monetization, and Snapchat?s data and targeting capabilities don?t yet come close to Facebook. But brands have realized that this (Snapchat) is a place to help foster important, one-to-one relationships that eventually build brand affinity and loyalty."

Blood Wars
The Underworld films are known for their creepy, gothic atmosphere as well as for their thrilling action scenes. Screen Gems, the production company subsidiary of Sony Pictures that produced the film, is relying on the former in their latest Snapchat campaign to raise awareness about the upcoming film.

The promotion makes use of Snapchat?s sponsored filters to provide a branded overlay for consumers? snaps. This overlay serves the dual purpose of being a fun and interesting tool as well as a way to organically get people talking about the film and sharing content related to it over social media.

The filter, called the Unerworld 3D Lens, makes use of the user?s smartphone?s internal gyroscope to sense where it is facing and what the camera is looking at. Once its orientation has been established, the app will project an Underworld-themed setting over whatever location the user is in, changing it to something reminiscent of the film.

As the user moves their phone around, the image changes as well, adapting to whatever it sees.

In addition to transforming the environment around the user, the users themselves are also transformed into a vampire-like visage to fit into the background.

Social media
As mobile and social media has disrupted so many industries outside of entertainment, so too do films now turn to new tools such as Snapchat to make their mark on the consumers they are after.

Many films have made use of the power of unique tools provided by social media platforms to promote their releases.

For example, with the release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story imminent at the end of this month, Lucasfilm is turning to Twitter to live stream a promotional event that will showcase exclusive footage from the film and host interviews with the cast and crew, all to raise awareness of the film?s release (see story).

As time goes on, we will likely continue to see campaigns such as this from production companies looking to new avenues to promote their films.

The production company is using Snapchat?s augmented reality filters to promote awareness for the new film as well as provide some fun tools for fans of the series to play around with in anticipation of its release. The filter will go live on Dec. 29 and the movie will be released on Jan. 6.

"We are in the fetal stage of marketing on snapchat ? we haven?t even reached infancy," said Nick Einstein, VP of research at Relevancy Group. "Snap Ads, Geofilters, and Sponsored lenses didn?t even exist a year ago and are now becoming an important way to engage the critically important 18 ? 34 year-old demographic. 

"We?re seeing a lot of innovation in the space right now which is resulting in exciting new campaigns that are engaging consumers on deeper levels and in some cases, driving big gains for brands, but marketers are just getting started."