Snapchat. Not just an app, a tipping point

Once regarded as simply a platform for teens to share content they would rather not have linger, Snapchat looks to have finally broken out of its adolescent confines to move from niche social network to mainstream platform. Older generations are now snapping away their day, too, making a real impact on Snapchat's growth. “While the service has grown 59 percent in the last year to 40.3 million US adult users (as of November), it has grown 69 percent among people age 25 to 34 according to ComScore. Nearly 27 percent of US adult web surfers this age are on it" (Wired).

Why did teens take to it so quickly while adults took baby steps? Personally, I think that this is due to the fleeting nature of the platform. Our generation is the archive generation. Pictures were something that required an investment of time, effort and money. Remember the ritual of dropping film rolls off at the drug store, and then waiting a few days to pick them up? And paying for them on top of that? I think that commitment to our content has translated to the digital world. We want to save everything, backup everything. But today’s generation? Pictures, videos and other content are created and consumed on demand. Like life moments, they are simply building blocks that make up their day. When my daughter makes brilliantly funny snaps, I ask her if she's OK with them disappearing after 24 hours from her Snapchat Stories. She just shrugs and says “I’ll make more.” 
While the thought of losing great content admittedly makes me twitch a little, this is the reality of the next generation of consumers. Content is dynamic; it is on-demand, real-time and completely integrated into their lives. It’s not “online” or “offline” anymore. The divisions are not that distinct. I think it’s time we call it “inline." Technology cannot be separated from the moments that constitute our lives. It is our lives. As marketers, this is the new reality we need to face. We can tap into our customers’ lives as a useful, albeit fleeting experience, or rest on the sidelines trying to divert their attention and archiving our decline.

Road to #SB49…CES to Super Bowl

Yes, 2015 is indeed here and we are all up and running as marketers. And the first quarter has been hectic, going from the first ever College Football playoffs, to CES, to the Super Bowl. I believe that the College football playoffs were long overdue. But it has been interesting to see the impact of the “New Year’s Six” on the incumbent BCS Bowl title sponsors. What is the role of the 75-odd bowl games moving forward? Three of the four sponsors walked away from renewing their contracts.  We were one of them, as the title sponsor for the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. We have had a great relationship with the Fiesta Bowl committee for 19 years, so it was a tough decision all around. For us, it was about consolidating our brands around Pepsico’s #1 sports investment, the NFL.

I did not make it to CES this year. But a couple of things struck me watching the coverage from CES. It is no longer just geek heaven (former engineer and proud card-carrying member of Geekology, here). Marketers are keen to the fact that CES is where today's consumers come to find inspiration, experience innovation, and witness invention. It has essentially become the world’s fair for a marketing technologist. CES is where you start getting an inkling of what the public will want in the next couple of years and the impact that it will have on our brands. 

Mobile dominated this year's coverage. Safe to say game, set, match to mobile. Mobile is now our first screen -- it has finally arrived! Hardware is getting even cheaper and more capable. We are in the 3rd wave of the S curve. Devices are merging. TV/Phone/Camera/Watch/Tablet/PC....what is what? No doubt this is going to accelerate creativity and innovation. 3D is going through a 2nd generation update, both in 3D graphics and 3D printing. Tech was always cool, but thanks to Apple’s rebirth it has now crossed over to “chic." 

The amount of  high-end wearable devices that debuted at CES was astonishing. I remember reading that the Swiss watch makers were not feeling threatened.  Interesting... if I were in their boots, I would be shaking. I am going to go out on a limb and predict that the Millennial and Gen Z generations will pick smart devices over the designer watch that “only” tells time.

Tostitos RFID wearable tag in use at #partyblvd

Tostitos RFID wearable tag in use at #partyblvd

Thanks to my daughter,  I am getting familiar with Snapchat. And I have to tell you I am getting more and more intrigued with the brand storytelling possibilities that this platform represents. The “Stories” product is brilliant and its usage during the Detroit Auto Show was a breakthrough.

These are quick missives for now from the field, as my team prepares for Frito-Lay's  Super Bowl marketing activities. Gathering more thoughts from my "game within the game" perspective for my next post on the road to #SB49.