Now that the iPhone XS is officially available for pre-order, Verizon and Apple are giving Snapchat users the opportunity to win the device through an augmented reality scavenger hunt rather than forking over $1,000 for one.
Starting on Friday and ending Sept. 17, Snapchat users will be able to collect virtual music snippets, which manifest as pulsing AR visuals via Lenses. After collecting at least three loops and one super look, participants will be able to mix them together to create a full track. Players can then submit their tracks for a chance to win an iPhone XS.
According to a Verizon spokesperson, the loops feature music produced by Squeak E Clean from songs by SZA, Daya, Børns, and others. A total of 150 iPhone XS smartphones will be given away as part of the contest. Those interested in playing along can get started at the sweepstakes website.
Verizon pulled a similar stunt in 2017, where the company challenged citizens in eight US cities to follow clues and find the spot to unlock an AR Lens and a chance to win the iPhone 8.
Similarly, back in April, Snapchat treated users to The Great Snapchat Easter Egg Hunt, where players could find virtual Easter eggs in real-world locations via Snap Map. Each egg hatched a different Easter bunny that would dance in the player's physical environment.
At the time, I theorized that this would eventually become another ad product, so at first blush, it felt pretty good to be right. However, according to a Snap spokesperson, the new experience actually doesn't use Snap Maps.
The game is available to US participants in New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Houston, Dallas, Philadelphia, Boston, Seattle, New Orleans, Atlanta, Miami, Denver, Las Vegas, Cincinnati, and Minnesota. For others, the game takes on the appearance of "catching" music clips in the wild, but in actuality, you're just following a series of links and Snapcodes. When an AR music loop appears, catching the loop consists of tapping a Shoppable AR-like link.
There's a certain amount of irony in the fact that Snapchat's AR platform will be used in an iPhone XS giveaway instead of an ARKit-built app, or some Animoji-based mischief.
But in the end, for many marketing teams, leveraging an existing social network like Snapchat is hard to deny when the goal is reaching as many potential consumers as possible.