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On Thursday, March 30, Marriott International debuted the first episode of its newest content marketing endeavor: a three-minute “snapisode” called “Six Days, Seven Nights.”
The four-part Snapchat video series will feature a total of four different social media influencers who each visit a different destination around the world, and stay at a property from Marriott’s 30-brand portfolio. The series is meant to promote Marriott’s loyalty program, Marriott Rewards, specifically to Snapchat’s younger audience of users.
“We know loyalty is about building a relationship and this was an opportunity for us to introduce Marriott Rewards to a new generation of travelers,” said Amanda Moore, senior director of social and digital marketing for Marriott International. “We’re inviting them to come along on this journey and really create content on this channel that we know would engage them.”
Moore said that because Snapchat users’ attention spans are “very short” and “it takes three seconds to capture someone’s attention on Snapchat,” Marriott purposefully took a “TV approach” to the series.
“We took the idea of traditional TV episodes and tailored that specifically for Snapchat, where you still have a traditional story arc that you see in TV and film and we applied that mindset to this concept,” Moore said.
Because Snapchat emphasizes “experiences,” Moore said it was the ideal platform for delivering this type of content to people who may not be as familiar with Marriott Rewards. By contrast, she said another social media channel like Instagram, would require a different approach, since many Instagram users are already members of Marriott Rewards. The content Marriott Rewards features on Instagram or Instagram Stories, she said, “is more about what’s next and where they are headed on their next journey.”
Moore also said each of the four influencers in the Snapchat series was specifically chosen for being “relatable, good on camera, and have their own built-in communities and audiences.”
Imre, a New York-based marketing agency, and Delmondo, a creative studio and technology company worked with Marriott to produce the series.
The very first video in the series stars influencer Jen Levinson, who visits Berlin and stays at the Moxy Berlin Ostbahnhof and has a reputation for being a picky eater. The show follows Levinson throughout Berlin as she tries new foods.
It’s short, and it features a lot of the markers of what you’d expect from a Snapchat “story” with plenty of stickers, but it’s still, well, an advertisement, with Levinson mentioning how being a Marriott Rewards member included the perk of a later 4 p.m. checkout on her last day. And while Levinson does attempt to eat foods that she’s never had before, her reluctance and disdain for some of the foods she consumes in the episode don’t exactly compel you to book a ticket to Berlin.
The bigger question related to these “snapisodes” is whether they’ll actually engage Snapchat users like Marriott hopes they will. That’s something the company will be paying very close attention to.
While Moore wouldn’t disclose how much this series cost to produce, she said Marriott “invested enough so we have enough measurement in place.” She also said the company will be conducting a study with Nielsen to capture metrics of user engagement, and will be paying very close attention to real-time insights about how users are engaging with each episode.
Snapchat users who follow Marriott Rewards can also see behind-the-scenes footage from each shoot, and the episodes will also be promoted by each of the featured influencers. Marriott is also buying Snap ads that will be placed in its “Discover” section. The video can also be viewed on YouTube and Facebook.
“One of the biggest things brands miss out on these days in terms of content marketing on social media is distribution of that content,” said Moore. “You invest a lot on content marketing, but no one sees it.”