Gatorade's Serena Williams Snapchat Ad-Game Scoring Well With Users

Marketer Says People Spend 200 Seconds on Average With It

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Gatorade's Serena Williams game is also an ad on Snapchat.
Gatorade's Serena Williams game is also an ad on Snapchat. Credit: Gatorade

Gatorade already takes credit for one of Snapchat's biggest ads from the Super Bowl, and now it's trying to outdo itself with 8-bit graphics.

Gatorade's latest ad, which turns into a Nintendo-style video game, seems to be a hit on the app, where about 35% of people who see the game share it with friends, according to Kenny Mitchell, head of consumer engagement at Gatorade.

The ad also has seen average time spent of more than three minutes per person and a more than 16% play rate, Mr. Mitchell said.

The ad features Serena Williams, in video game form, and lets the user play a tennis match with her character. The game functionality is part of Snapchat's new interactive ads, which people can click to view more video or other actions -- and in this case actually play a game.

"We wanted to do something a bit disruptive, a bit fun," Mr. Mitchell said. "So we had this idea for a retro game."

Players can share the game with friends by clicking the opening screen of the ad, and more than one in three are doing so, he said.

The campaign coincides with the U.S. Open and appears inside ESPN's channel in the Discover section of Snapchat. Discover is the premium publishing network inside the app, where media brands fill daily channels with articles, videos and animations.

Mr. Mitchell declined to reveal the cost of the campaign, which is the first-ever video game inside Snapchat.

TBWA/Chiat/Day LA and Ludomade helped create and build the game.

Snapchat is known for demanding high prices for new ad products. For instance, the NFL is creating a Discover channel, and Snapchat is seeking $7 million for some sponsorship packages, according to ad executives.

The goals of the Gatorade campaign had to be different than just selling brand awareness, Mr. Mitchell said. In true Snapchat fashion, branding inside the ad is subtle and in 8-bit graphic form, which almost makes it tough to distinguish the "G" logo.

"Nothing is super prominent or in-your-face," Mr. Mitchell said. "There is some logo branding along the sidelines [of the virtual tennis court] and some coolers in there. It's intentionally not too aggressive."

The early results of the campaign show that 16% of people who see the ad swipe up to play, and they are spending on average more than 200 seconds with it, Mr. Mitchell said.

Snapchat declined to comment for this story.

At a time when basic social media video ads are getting shorter and shorter and people are becoming more quick to click away, mobile platforms like Snapchat and Facebook are trying to develop ads that keep consumers' attention.

For instance, Facebook developed what it calls Canvas ads, multimedia mobile units designed to keep people enthralled for often more than 10 seconds at a time.

Facebook, working with brands like Carnival cruise lines and L'Occitane, has said Canvas ads keep users engaged for close to three minutes, in some cases.

Snapchat is placing a greater emphasis on time spent with its ads too. Gatorade got about 10 million people to play with the one it developed for the Super Bowl, Mr. Mitchell said.

Snapchat said the lens, which featured a virtual Gatorade cooler splashing the drink over people's selfies, generated 165 million impressions.

He wouldn't reveal how many unique users played with the new ad, but "the game is mildly addictive," Mr. Mitchell said.

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