Sweet, Hearst’s standalone Snapchat Discover channel, is taking on its first full-fledged fashion week.
The channel, which hosts content solely for Snapchat, is teaming up with a group of brands for exclusive access around fashion week, both in New York and globally. Sweet partnered with Gucci for exclusive-to-Sweet animations and phone wallpapers designed by GucciGhost, as well as makeup tutorials by makeup artist Bobbi Brown, and behind-the-scenes tours with Jenny Packham and Tibi, and the CND Nail Labs.
Hearst launched Sweet last November as a Snapchat-native channel catering to a global audience of millennials and teens, and currently claims to hit 15 million monthly views. The channel’s 30-person team is responsible for creating new content daily to fill its Discover Stories with videos, articles, imagery and tutorials around themes. While Sweet was around for February’s fashion week, this September season is the first time the channel is hosting fashion week-themed Stories.
Outside of Discover, Snapchat’s platform has become a prime vehicle for fashion designers and brands who are looking for a way to get closer to customers by showing behind-the-scenes footage, off-the-cuff video and sharing exclusive announcements in Snapchat Stories. On Discover, which functions as a curated, shareable daily magazine, Snapchat has had a more difficult time in figuring out how the product works best. In the past year, it’s moved the location of the channels to a more prominent place on the app, changed the Discover icons to display featured stories rather than logos, and, most recently, signed a deal with NBCUniversal to screen TV programming through Discover in a shift away from a media-heavy strategy.
As a digital magazine native to Snapchat, Sweet has been figuring out the type of content that works best for Discover’s curated platform, as opposed to its Snapchat user account, @wearesweet, which functions as a complementary account for live video.
“Beauty and fashion are big pillars for Sweet,” said vp and general manager Ross Clark. “What we’ve found works with our audience is taking beauty and fashion and intersecting it with technology, or tips, or a service. That combination is the most engaging, and that’s where fashion week is, too.”
Clark said that each fashion week partnership was optimized for engagement, but metrics differ by format. For Gucci’s partnership, which includes exclusive GIFs and graphics, Sweet will be watching its share and screenshot counts. Bobbi Brown’s video takeover, which is paired with tutorials, will be watched for the time spent on the Stories, as well as the behind-the-scenes footage shared at Jenny Packham and Tibi’s runway shows. Each brand partnership is unpaid.
In the past, Sweet has drawn in fashion brands who want a new, experimental platform to launch a campaign or product. In June, Carolina Herrera debuted its 2017 resort collection exclusively on Sweet in a video format. When Gucci released its Ace Sneaker this summer, new campaign imagery around the shoes premiered first on Sweet.
“Sweet has thrived when it’s gone for new content that’s extra relevant,” said Clark. “We’re hipster in the right way — we want below the radar finds. Those help us develop a strong voice.”
During fashion week, a period of time filled with noise of crowded coverage, Clark recognized that Sweet has to stand out, and he said he hopes the big-name brand content helps it do so. On Tuesday, though, Snapchat Discover’s fashion content got a little more stiff: Vogue launched its first channel ahead of fashion week.