- Snapchat is running a sweepstakes for a chance to win a trip to San Diego Comic-Con by submitting augmented reality (AR) artwork that features DC Comics characters Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman, the social platform announced. Users are being encouraged to use its Lens Studio design software to create a DC-themed Lens, a feature that overlays a digital image on a selfie.
- The companies provided a number of assets for contestants to use in their custom Lenses, including digital stickers of the three characters and their respective logos. The challenge is open to Snapchat users in the U.S. through July 8. The winner and one guest will then receive a three-night trip to the comic-book convention that runs July 19-22.
- Meanwhile, parent company Snap introduced a refreshed version of its camera-equipped Spectacles, which are now available through Amazon in the U.S., U.K. and Canada, Engadget reported. The sunglasses cost $150 and will soon be available in European countries including France, Germany, Italy and Spain.
Snapchat's DC Comics contest is a fun way to urge app developers and regular users to become more familiar with its Lens Studio design software, which the company introduced in December, and learn how to create AR experiences for its platform. As much as parent company Snap faces strong competition from social network Facebook for audiences, Snapchat must work to encourage designers and brands to create content for its platform that typically sees younger users. Lens Studio aims to give people the software tools to create AR experiences more easily and without coding experience, opening up the platform to a larger group of users. This signals how the company might motivate users to craft a Lens in the future while pointing to how Snapchat is working to keep people coming back to its app.
Though this isn't Snapchat's first Lens challenge — a previous one asked users to decorate rubber duckies — this is the first one with a major brand tie-in. It could likely drum up some excitement ahead of the comic festival, especially because the challenge comes just months after superhero movie premieres like "Avengers: Infinity War."
Snap recently announced that it's working on its first software development platform called SnapKit to appeal to more app designers. The program will let other developers integrate their apps with Snapchat's Bitmoji avatars and host a version of its camera, meaning other apps could add Snapchat's photo editing tools and AR-equipped camera without having to develop the features in-house. This could lead to more content sharing through Snapchat, making its platform stickier for users.
Meanwhile, Snap's update of its camera-equipped sunglasses marks the next stage in the company's efforts to sell hardware that supports its app functions. Snap last year wrote down the value of unsold Spectacles for $39.9 million and said it would expect modest revenue from the product line, per Business Insider. Snap only sold about 150,000 pairs of the gadgets in the first year, and less than half of Spectacles owners still used them after the first month. With a more realistic expectation of how many devices it can sell and where to reach consumers (Amazon), Snap can better manage its inventory without over-committing to a faddish product.