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How Snapchat & the Ad Council Created a Lens Challenge to Stop Bullying

Snapchat’s creative tools present a unique opportunity for nonprofits: the ability to spread awareness about a cause through not only consuming media, but also creating it. As Ad Council’s VP of Media, Social and Emerging, I’ve been working closely with Snapchat since 2015 - the year we launched our first Bullying Prevention partnership and developed two custom filters that ran nationwide.  Snapchat was a relatively new app at the time and I was so impressed to see this kind of engagement. Since then, we’ve activated several other filters and lenses for our youth targeted campaigns that have been used millions of times.

As a growing company, Snapchat has kept “social good” at the heart of their business. Thanks to our amazing partners at Snapchat - we’ve been able to develop innovative partnerships as they develop new products.  Our largest activation to date has been for the Ad Council’s recent “Because of You” campaign - a movement that encourages teens to reflect on the impact of their words and actions and create a more empathetic and inclusive culture around them. Last year, during Bullying Prevention Month in October, we worked with Snapchat’s creative team to develop an animated “Because of You” filter that ran for two days, a custom sticker pack that ran for a week and three custom ad units that ran for a month. Not only were teens seeing the message throughout their browsing experience on Snapchat - they also had the ability to be part of the movement by using the filters and stickers.

On April 18th, we took the partnership a step further and launched a special “Because of You” Lens Challenge prompting Snapchatters to describe a time when someone had a positive impact on their life.  This was Snapchat’s first-ever social impact Lens Challenge and will be available for 10 days to all users (until April 27th, 2019). People from all over the world have submitted to the challenge - spreading kindness and love. It doesn’t get much better than that!

To align with the Lens Challenge launch, we co-hosted an exclusive creator event through our Creators for Good initiative and as part of Snap’s ongoing Creator’s Lab workshop series. We invited creators to Snapchat’s Santa Monica Creator’s Lounge to learn how to use their creative talents to promote social good initiatives. “Creators for Good” is an Ad Council initiative where we work directly with celebrities, digital content creators and other established and emerging talent to amplify our messages.

At the summit, we heard from Erica Williams Simon, who works on Snapchat’s Creators Lab, who presented Snapchat’s new creator tools, and Sofia Gross, who leads Political and Nonprofit partnerships, debuted the Lens Challenge and Ad Council’s upcoming Snap activations. Erica hosted a panel with Lina Renzina, Talent Manager at Ad Council, and top social talent, Teala Dunn (second from left in below picture) and Rachel Levin (second from right), to discuss how they use their platforms for good.

The summit provided the opportunity for me to show the creators how critical their role is in ensuring our Snapchat partnerships reach as many people as possible. Several creators have already submitted to the challenge and encouraged their followers to get involved. I even got in on the action!

“Working with partners like the Ad Council, we’re advancing Snap's mission to contribute to human progress by raising awareness on important issues that affect our community,” said Snap’s VP for Global Public Policy Jennifer Park Stout.

What I think makes Snapchat’s platform so impactful is our ability to serve our messages through ads but also develop creative tools (filters, lenses, and now, lens challenges) that allow Snapchatters to be part of the campaign and share their own personal stories.  Enlisting creators to participate in our Snap partnerships creates a multiplier effect, as so many people follow them and are inspired by their messages. This is exactly the type of engagement we’re looking for when it comes to social causes because it’s these real impact stories that inspire change.

As far as we’ve come with our partnership with Snapchat, it also feels like we’ve just begun! For Bullying Prevention Month in October, we’ll be running another “Because of You” national filter as well as Snap Ads. Additionally, we’ll be supporting our Love Has No Labels, Truth about Opioids and Suicide Prevention campaigns through a series of Snap Ads and creative tools that will activate throughout the year.  I couldn’t be prouder of our partnership with Snapchat - together we’re making a positive impact on youth across America.


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