In November of last year, two seemingly disparate things took place: 5 Pointz, the “graffiti Mecca” in Queen’s was whitewashed to make way for development, and Snapchat became the focus of an intense bidding war.

With the former, I was initially saddened until this post by Jay Edlin, author of Graffiti 365 made me realize I lacked a meaningful understanding of the medium.

The materials used in both graffiti and street art are not intended with long-term viewing in mind. Spray paint, ink, or wheat pasted paper don’t stand the test of time when living outdoors. Graffiti involves creating the work completely on the spot. The most a writer brings with him to a wall is a sketch…The adrenaline felt by kids risking their liberty shows through in the work.

Ok, so what the heck does this have to do with Snapchat? What I took from Jay was that there is true power in ephemera. There’s excitement in anything fleeting.

Snapchat’s newer speedometer feature speaks to the joy of speed. Rather than laboring over the perfect shot, the credit comes from your velocity.

So, as Snapchat enters its “fish with feet” stage of a platform – billion+ valuation, 25 million+ users – how do brands get involved? The platform is becoming too big to ignore for many brands looking to engage a younger audience of 16-30 year olds.

My hope is that brands put a system in place and embrace the speed. Know what you stand for and then put yourself out there fast. Embrace that your post will be gone in a scant 10 seconds. At most, your moments are woven together as a Story for 24 hours.

I’d love to hear from you in a reply to @brosbeshow on what you’d love to see a brand Snap, but here are some back-of-napkin ideas to get started:

Action Sports

Training for Sochi Mens Halfpipe, a rider give fans a sneak preview of the cab double cork 1440 that is going to get you to gold. Fun fact, this trick is actually called a YOLO.


Your brand is revealing your new luxury hybrid vehicle next month at the Chicago Auto show. You’ve hidden two tickets with exclusive passes somewhere in Downtown Chicago. Your Story gives fans clues to where the tickets are hidden. When found, a new Story shows the celebratory moment when a lucky fan finds those tix. Extra Credit: New Stories show what happens at the show and so on.


Your creatives get together and make fast video clips & images about what makes those crazy cereal squares so delicious. I’d love to see Snapchat’s sketch tool in the hands of an artist. A longer Story could be a narrative, maybe even a light parody of more serious fare like ‘Her’ or ‘Downton Abbey’.


You’re launching a new collaboration with a famous designer? Awesome! Snap out teasers of the clothing, with never seen before looks. If you want to engage farther down funnel, an expiring code for early access to the items. Create a Story that shows your brand behind the scenes at New York Fashion week.

So how is this being done in practice?

If you look at the recent examples of HBO’s Girls on the platform, their fans celebrated the intimate message and cross promoted it across other platforms:


The snap was a clear reference to the show that only Girls fan would get while tapping the simplicity and speed of the medium.

This cross pollination across platforms is natural and really amplifies your different platform strategies and shows how they might work together.  With a system in place to monitor mentions of your brand & Snapchat, you’ll be quick to respond to this engagement.

In Sports, Alex Restrepo of the New Orleans Saints outlines their Snapchat strategy in this excellent podcast here.

Right off the bat, one thing I loved was that Alex aims to take 10 minutes of every hour to respond to fans. Alex maps out just noticing that more and more of his friends were using Snapchat daily which is always his spark a platform matters to his brand.

Stories, with a 24 hour window that anyone can see, enables Alex to show fans the storyline of an NFL game day. Traveling with the team enabled Alex to give the fans the behind the scenes view on their favorite players.

I’d be thrilled to see more brands join the platform. As our CEO Noah Brier noted recently in Ad Age, “good creative, is good creative.”  Regardless of format  be it your flagship Super Bowl commercial, or a 6 second Snap  you have a message, you have content, let it fly.