Snapchat unveils 360-degree ad format with campaign for Sony's Don't Breathe horror flick

Sony is the first marketer to use Snapchat's new 360-degree format / Sony

Snapchat has debuted a new 360-video ad format, with Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) rushing to be the first brand out of the gate with a campaign for its forthcoming horror movie Don’t Breathe.

The video push marks the first time Snap Ads have integrated a 360-degree element. Essentially a 10-second Snapchat video ad, the latest format from the messaging app allows viewers to ‘swipe up’ in order to see an intimate 360-degree version of the trailer via a web page link inside the app.

The ad is rolling out in the United States first, and will also be served to users in the UK and Australia in the coming weeks.

The push is part of a global marketing campaign from Sony, created in collaboration with director Fede Alvarez, to give audiences a digital and immersive experience of Don’t Breathe – a horror-cum-thriller in which five carnival workers are kidnapped by a blind man and held hostage.

Originally a YouTube creator himself, Alvarez worked closely with SPE’s international digital marketing team to create a digital experience for influencers who gathered together in Spain last night (15 August) and walked through a recreation of Don’t Breathe using night vision and GoPro cameras as part of a ‘treasure hunt’ timed game.

The 360-degree video was created by Los Angeles-based digital creative agency AvatarLabs, with help from the movie’s creators. Unlike many 360-degree videos where viewers simply turn in place, AvatarLabs designed production to push beyond this limitation, allowing to move forward, providing a much more dynamic view of the terrifying scene and characters within.

Commenting on the Snapchat ad, Aaron Wahle, senior vice-president of international digital marketing at SPE at Sony Pictures Entertainment, said: “Audiences increasingly expect more from us and, as a result, digital marketing departments now have more access to provide higher quality content to satisfy this thirst for engaging content through the mobile phone.

“This, in turn, means that more thought must be put into activities across the board – it’s not just about one-sheets and trailers anymore, but about creating incredible experiences,” he added.

Snapchat is becoming a favourite among movie marketers. Twentieth Century Fox was the first company to take advantage of Snapchat’s Sponsored Lenses for Peanuts the movie, and also sold X-men tickets via the platform.

The messaging app streamlined its advertising offering earlier this year, introducing updates to its ad formats and announcing it was poised to work with several ad tech and creative partners. Since the shakeup, more brands have flocked to the service and are becoming more confident creating content for the platform.

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