On Friday, in a snap posted by Kylie Jenner with her sister Kim Kardashian, Tiffany’s logo and signature robin’s egg blue appeared atop the photo and matching blue hearts dotted Jenner’s eyes. The selfie was a high-profile use of Tiffany’s first sponsored lens on the platform, part of the company’s biggest push on Snapchat yet.
Makeup brands like Maybelline, L’Oréal and Urban Decay have embraced sponsored Snapchat lenses in the past, particularly using the augmented reality technology to display different lipstick shades, but Tiffany is the first luxury brand to sponsor a lens, which also draws a white heart with the text “Return to Tiffany Love” scribbled on top when users smile into the camera. The heritage brand is expected to have spent around $700,000 for the activation, the estimated price for sponsored lenses as the company doesn’t disclose cost.
On Snapchat, Tiffany will also have a branded geofilter at all 93 of its U.S. stores throughout August, and will be running video ads in the app between users’ stories. Its native account, @Tiffanyofficial, was launched in April.
“You can’t get bigger than Kylie on Snapchat,” said Ian Schatzberg, president of the agency Wednesday that worked with Tiffany on the platform campaign. “And it was all organic — the goal was to create something fun that has entertainment value, so people would be willing to participate. Kylie’s snap was unsolicited.”
The Snapchat campaign is part of the brand’s new marketing strategy. The goal is to appeal to a younger demographic through Snapchat and celebrity. Tiffany sales fell 7 percent in the first quarter of 2016, to $891 million, something the company attributed to tourism pressure, among other unnamed challenges. Previously, Diana Hong, vp creative director of global digital marketing at Tiffany, has said that the brand “found its groove” on Twitter, but the platform isn’t the core of the new campaign.
Tiffany’s not alone in switching its social strategy: Snapchat has become the next social obsession in fashion, in order to provide off-the-cuff content and get in front of a younger, digital first audience.
In the U.S., Tiffany is looking to regain its relevance by bringing back classic Tiffany pieces, like the heart tag necklaces, in its “Return to Tiffany” collection highlighted by the #LoveNotLike campaign. The signature heart necklace was a previously popular gift for young customers, and to reintroduce it, the campaign is commenting on the “like culture” surrounding the digital-first age group, according to Diana Hong, vp creative director of global digital marketing at Tiffany. For its Snapchat advertisements, Tiffany has recruited a group of young models — Imaan Hammam, 19, Fernanda Ly, 20, and Pyper America Smith, 18 — to represent the brand.
Grace Coddington, the former creative director of Vogue who left the magazine and joined Tiffany as a creative partner in April has ushered in celebrity faces for the brand’s fall campaign, which features actresses Lupita Nyong’o and Elle Fanning in its photospreads. It’s a first time for the brand, which has historically abstained from using celebrity power in its ads.
Between the brand’s newfound fixture on celebrity ambassadors and Kylie Jenner’s unsolicited Snapchat post, Tiffany is playing with different types of celebrity engagement: both paid and unpaid. On Twitter, Tiffany would frequently post photos of stars wearing Tiffany pieces or leaving a Tiffany store — a piece of brand currency similar to Jenner’s selfie. The brand is mixing that power with hired faces to further elevate the brand.
“It’s a digital led campaign, but you’ll see most of it on Snapchat,” said Hong. “That just proves to you how we’re focusing in the social space. It’s a really exciting platform for us. It adds another layer to our polished and thought-through editorial on our social channels.”
The campaign will be shared across multiple platforms, but Schatzberg said the main goal is to get Snapchat users to engage with it. Along with Twitter and Snapchat, Tiffany is active on Facebook, WeChat and Pinterest.
— Tiffany & Co. (@TiffanyAndCo) July 28, 2016
“The campaign and hashtag is relevant for multiple channels, but Snapchat is what’s relevant for the brand now,” said Schatzberg. “We’re playing to a highly engaged, digital demographic as part of a larger push to think about how heritage resonates in the modern age when you always have to be ‘on.’”