- Red Bull is selling limited-edition cans of its energy drink that feature Snapchat Snapcodes to unlock two augmented reality (AR) experiences, according to a company news post.
- People can scan the special packaging with their smartphone and Snapchat app to open an immersive experience that lets them pitch a virtual baseball to Chicago Cubs star Kris Bryant. The front-facing camera also transforms a user's face into a baseball that Bryant hits into the air. To promote the effort, Red Bull produced a prank video of Bryant disguised as a pizza delivery person who visits unsuspecting fantasy league players while they make their draft picks.
- The special cans are available in the Chicago area and parts of the Midwest as Major League Baseball kicks off its regular season on March 29. Red Bull is the official energy drink partner of the Chicago Cubs, whose Opening Day game against the Miami Marlins airs today on ESPN and Fox Sports Florida at 12:40 p.m. Eastern time.
Red Bull's Snapchat-ready packaging for the Chicago Cubs is a creative way to engage baseball fans and demonstrate how AR can add a new dimension to physical products by linking to mobile experiences. Leveraging the popular social media app's Snapcodes and the popularity of Bryant will likely help the brand spread its reach as users snap and share the baseball-themed filters ahead of Opening Day.
This is the third year Red Bull and Bryant have collaborated on prank videos. In 2016, Bryant bamboozled a baseball team at a community college when he acted as the team's newest star transfer coming to take their positions. Last year, the tables were turned and Hall of Famer Greg Maddux went undercover as a video sound guy to prank Bryant. Meanwhile, Snapchat has helped drive the resurgence of QR codes through Snapcodes that can access digital content.
For brands, Snapcodes and similar tools might better measure ROI in a way that other digital metrics can't. Similar strategies are being adopted by other platforms including Pinterest, whose Pincodes have started to appear more frequently on products from CPG companies like Kraft Heinz. Last year, Bud Light and PepsiCo added Snapcodes to some of their packaging as part of promotional tie-ins with the beginning of the National Football League season. Sony Pictures this month promoted the DVD release of "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" with Snapcodes that unlocked two World Lenses.
Snapchat has made significant steps to popularize its AR platform. The company in December opened up its AR camera to anyone who wants to create virtual objects and selfie masks with the rollout of its Lens Studio. Before then, advertisers had to work with Snap's in-house creative team to create the effects. The company opened the Lens Studio as a way to compete with Facebook, Google and Apple, which al recently released tools to more easily create AR effects. It also recently started featuring creator-made AR lenses in the app's carousel, which means that any creator has the chance to show off their handiwork on the app's main screen for added discoverability. The decision to include more creators in its platform comes as Snapchat struggles to compete with Instagram Stories for the attention of influencers, artists and advertisers.