Technology Featured APAC

Snap to make layoffs – The Verge

United States – Snap Inc., the parent company of Snapchat, has been reportedly planning to implement layoffs. 

According to recent news by The Verge, the information that the company is in the early stages of retrenchment comes from two people familiar with the plans.

The downsizing comes after the company recently registered disappointing earning results – failing to forecast earnings for the third quarter. 

According to The Verge, Russ Caditz-Peck, a Snap spokesman, declined to comment on the matter.

The blow to Snap’s business can be partly attributed to Apple’s IDFA changes, which makes it more challenging for companies like it to effectively target their ads, while another factor is the larger economic downturn that dampened the stock prices of Snap and other cash-burning companies. 

According to The Verge, Snap has been profitable in only one quarter since it went public in 2017. In addition, the last time Snap made layoffs was in 2018, when it was recovering from the fallout of a poorly executed Snapchat redesign.

Snap joins other Silicon Valley companies eyeing to make cuts such as Twitter and TikTok. Tech giant Oracle has also recently made ‘sizable’ layoffs in the US. 

Technology Featured Southeast Asia

Snap, Hyper Island to launch AR accelerator programme in SG

Singapore – Snap, the parent company of social media platform Snapchat, has announced a partnership with education provider Hyper Island to launch an augmented reality (AR) accelerator programme in Singapore. 

The two-day course is targeted at digital creatives, marketers and brand managers aimed to accelerate participants’ understanding of AR and integration in marketing strategies.

At the end of the course, attendees will also try their hand at developing Face, World and Landmarker Lenses on Snap’s Lens Studio, a free software that allows anyone to create, publish, and share AR Lenses with millions of Snapchatters across the globe. 

The ‘AR Accelerator’ programme will be launched in Singapore first, and rolled out in other markets later in the year. In Singapore, there are two courses, from 6 to 7 September and 29 to 30 November, with a total of 20 spaces available for anyone to sign up at a cost of S$2,500.

Gareth Leeding, head of creative strategy APAC at Snap Inc. said, “The growing smartphone adoption and camera usage in APAC has led to an increased acceptance of augmented reality. Businesses that incorporate augmented reality in their customer outreach are able to invite people into an immersive experience, facilitate product try-ons, and activate useful formats for education, thus generating conversation. At Snap we believe AR is unlocking channels to reach potential customers far beyond traditional offerings.” 

He added, “We are extremely excited to partner with Hyper Island to launch a unique educational programme in Singapore to help hone augmented reality skills of local creatives and marketing professionals. Through the ‘AR Accelerator’ programme, participants will learn about the power and potential of AR, the development of full-funnel, always-on AR strategies and the ideation and even creation of prototypes. We are confident through this course we will be able to increase understanding of AR and further its integration into marketing activities.”

Meanwhile, Paviter Singh, head of courses at Hyper Island Asia, commented, “At Hyper Island, we believe in designing learning experiences that challenge companies and individuals to grow and stay competitive in an increasingly digitised world. With our keen knowledge of education and learning built over the past 25 years, coupled with Snap’s expertise in AR, we are confident to deliver a concise and bespoke programme to inspire, equip, and support the growth of the participants.”

Marketing Featured APAC

Snap bolsters regional team with new hires across verticals in SG

Singapore – Social media and camera company Snap has announced new hires across its verticals in Singapore to bolster in Singapore. They will build on the company’s growth momentum following Snap’s Singapore office opening in 2020 to boost its regional presence and investments. 

The new hires in Singapore are namely Saurabh Dangwal as head of global brands for APAC, where he will be responsible for Snap’s global client partnerships across the region to drive business results using Snap’s AR and commerce solutions; Dan Heffernan as head of global agency for APAC, where he will be in charge of developing strategies to grow Snap’s partnership with agencies through scaled education and commercial initiatives; Igor Lima, head of global brands for tech in APAC, where he will partner with top brands in the tech industry to drive meaningful results and digital innovation; and Kelly Chiu as product marketing manager, where she will drive product excellence for the region.

Other hires in APAC include Kanishk Khanna as director of media partnerships in APAC, where he will collaborate with top content and media organisations to drive meaningful engagement and empower them to meet their business goals. Aiding Snap’s government relations and public policy work in the region will be Amanda Ang as head of public policy for East Asia and leading their recruitment efforts in the region is Monisha Singh as recruitment lead in APAC.

Kathryn Carter, general manager for APAC at Snap, said, “The opportunities for Snap across the APAC region are tremendous. We continue to grow the team at a phenomenal rate, further increasing our capacity to deliver to brands, advertisers and partners. We’re excited to continue building the momentum in each of our APAC markets with such a talented group of individuals.”

Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Snap partakes in Women’s Day via AR workshop for young women

Singapore – In honour of International Women’s Day, which is celebrated on 8 March, the camera and social media company Snap has launched three workshops across SEA called ‘Lensathon’, aimed at upskilling and encouraging participation of young women in augmented reality (AR).

The workshops will let participants use Lens Studio, Snap’s free desktop app, to create and design their own AR experiences with the theme of International Women’s Day. The workshops were conducted by women creators from Snapchat Lens Network namely Danielle Grace for Indonesia and Singapore, and Yong Nurain Sofia Binti Khairulhiddard for Indonesia, Singapore, and Malaysia. 

Moreover, Lensathon participants who will be submitting valid Lenses will stand a chance to join its Lens Studio Community and pursue their passion for AR.

Grace commented that she is honoured to be able to teach Lens Studio workshops to bud female creators in SEA to help them express their creativity with augmented reality.

“Having used Lens Studio to create thousands of AR Lenses myself, I know the potential for creativity is limitless and I can’t wait to see the creations from our growing creator community,” she said. 

Meanwhile, Anubhav Nayyar, Snap’s director of market development for SEA, shared that their approach to AR is rooted in storytelling and creativity as the entry points to introduce this new technology to broad audiences. 

“We have greatly evolved AR not only for entertainment but also utility use-cases like education, commerce etc. Our International Women’s Day Lensathon hopes to inspire and upskill women across the region to bring their creativity and passion to life,” said Nayyar.

Snap said it has been conducting multiple Lens Studio workshops across SEA to help students and youths create shared experiences and express their ideas in compelling ways. It also announced that it will be leveraging the power of AR by launching a series of special, #BreakTheBias AR Lenses, and hyperlocal geofilters for Women’s Day, in alignment with the celebration.

Platforms Featured APAC

Snap bolsters creative team in APAC with new hires

Singapore – Camera and social media company Snap has announced the appointment of two new senior creative leads, namely Gareth Leeding, the new head of creative strategy for APAC, and Haran Ramachandran, the new head of creative strategy for ANZ, aimed at driving its commitment to creating best-in-class creative campaigns on the platform.

Leeding has previously held the role of executive creative director at socially-led creative agency We Are Social’s UK office where he built a creative department, co-founded WAS Sport, and won over 70 global awards for work across leading brands including Adidas, Audi, Google, and YouTube, as well as Lego, and Lidl, among others. In his new role, Leeding brings over 18 years of experience, and he will be the first dedicated creative leader in Snap’s APAC team.

Meanwhile, Ramachandran has also relocated from London where he was most recently the creative lead for telco Three Mobile and PR agency The Academy. In his new role, Ramachandran will help develop breakthrough creative campaigns for the ANZ region.

Commenting on his appointment, Leeding said, “I am excited to be joining the Snap team at a time when the APAC community is experiencing such growth. As Snap continues to push the boundaries with AR and the camera, there is immense creative opportunity, so I’m pumped to be leading the APAC region as we redefine what’s possible.”

Ramachandran also said, “We know local consumers are typically cynical of brands, which is why we need to look at ways to engage them in new and exciting ways. The chance to do that on a platform like Snapchat with a great audience and great tech is super exciting.”

Kathryn Carter, Snap’s general manager for APAC, said, “We couldn’t be more thrilled to welcome both Gareth and Haran to our APAC and ANZ teams. Their visionary creative strategy will continue to help our partners create campaigns at a scale that millions of Snapchatters across the region love.” 

In 2021, Snap has launched its first-of-its-kind environmental pledge in AR to protect Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, which has brought the Hyundai Kona small SUV into millions of Australian living rooms and even partnered with Common Ground to create a series of immersive sleep stories from First Nations storytellers using AR.

Platforms Featured APAC

Snap launches new multi-format delivery ad product

Sydney, Australia – Camera and social media company Snap has recently announced the launch of their new multi-format delivery advertising product, which enables a renewed buying experience for marketers to purchase all of Snap’s video formats in one advertising set.

Said product launch will include all of Snap’s video ad formats including Snap Ads, Story Ads, Collection Ads and Commercials and will feature Snap’s camera offerings, including augmented reality, by the second quarter of 2022.

In addition, the product will be inherently different from single product ad sets, in that delivery and ranking will be able to determine the best inventory to fill in for the selected formats, goal, target audience, and bid.

Kathryn Carter, general manager for APAC at Snap, said, “Snap ads have been successfully leveraged by businesses who seek to directly connect with audiences through immersive and engaging content. At Snap, we pioneered AR advertising at scale and have been innovating ever since.”

Multi-format delivery ad sets reporting will be broken out by ad format, so that buyers can evaluate the efficiency of each format and how it contributes to overall brand performance. While the core experience will remain relatively consistent, Snap has reconstructed how formats, and various campaign criteria are selected within the purchasing experience to allow for more flexibility for buyers.

“The launch of Multi-Format delivery, an industry first product, really solidifies augmented reality as an always-on buying opportunity for our clients. This launch is a game-changing opportunity for brands and advertisers, providing them with a simplified, all-encompassing buying process for their next campaign with Snap,” Carter added.

The new product announcement follows after Snap recently launched Arcadia, a global creative studio for branded augmented reality (AR), powered by a team of world-class experts that pioneered mobile AR advertising at Snap.

Speaking about how the new Snap product can aid Australian and Singaporean brands, Carter said, “Now, Australian and Singaporean brands across categories can easily discover innovative ad opportunities that optimize AR and video together to drive strong results. We are excited for advertisers to use Snap to reimagine their next campaign, using AR which we know is a growing sector and valuable tool.”

Platforms Featured Global

Snapchat’s parent company launches Arcadia, creative studio for branded AR

Singapore – As more brands venture into various media to create branded content, camera and technology company Snap, the parent company of social media platform Snapchat, has announced the launch of Arcadia, a global creative studio for branded augmented reality (AR), powered by a team of world-class experts that pioneered mobile AR advertising at Snap.

Arcadia will develop new technology and aims to deliver the most innovative, impactful and effective AR experiences to brand and agency partners. Furthermore, the creative studio will be platform-agnostic and will develop experiences that can live across platform, web and app-based AR environments. 

Arcadia will work on a studio model and will take on select projects that require the most creative and technical skillset. In doing so, the studio will be developing the next generation of branded AR experiences with the goal to lead the charge on innovation for the larger AR creation ecosystem.

“Arcadia is the newest member of Snap’s AR ecosystem that we’ve been developing for the last decade and we have seen proven results with our over 40 trusted partners and success in tools like ‘Lens Web Builder’ and ‘Creator Marketplace’. By launching Arcadia, we are further cementing Snap’s commitment to Augmented Reality as a format that truly pushes the boundaries of creativity and performance in digital marketing” said Jeff Miller, global head of creative strategy.

Arcadia shared that it has already secured partnerships with world-class marketers including P&G Beauty, Verizon, WWE and Shake Shack. Through the launch, the studio will partner with brands, agencies and creators to elevate what is possible in AR, further cementing it as a must-buy, always-on format to engage with the millennial and Gen-Z audience.

In terms of how Arcadia can serve both brands and creators, the studio offers the following prospects namely ‘Studio of Record’ where Arcadia will become the official ‘AR Studio of Record’ and take on all of their AR production, strategy and insight needs across platforms; project-based work where Arcadia will deliver against a specific scope-of-work that align to Arcadia’s mission; and strategic partnership where Arcadia will offer AR Strategy expertise to clients or agencies in the form of workshops, insights and trend reporting to up-level their own capabilities 

“By focusing sharply on the AR format, the creative studio will set the highest creative and technical standards in the market, capture an early-mover advantage, command credibility and reframe the value that a modern studio brings to its clients,” Snap said in a press statement.

Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

AirAsia partners with local hotels in Philippines to offer promo deals on new platform SNAP

Manila, Philippines – In its efforts to boost domestic tourism in the Philippines, AirAsia has partnered with local hotels in the country to launch SNAP, a new flight and hotel platform on which offers convenient fly and stay packages.  

The airline will be offering an introductory SNAP promotion of up to 50% off on flights when consumers book a flight and hotel via the platform. This special promotional fare will be available on from 21 to 27 September 2020, for travel from 21 September 2020 to 25 March 2021.

The airline assures in its press statement that it will be complying with advice and regulations from the local government, civil aviation authorities,  and global and local health agencies, including the World Health Organization. 

The company said that guests can expect enhanced safety measures throughout the entire journey, including pre-flight, in-flight, and arrival processes. These include the mandatory wearing of face masks to be permitted to travel, among others. Guests will also be advised to check and comply with measures implemented by local airport authorities for a smooth travel experience.

AirAsia Philippines CEO Ricky Isla said, “We are pleased to launch SNAP in the Philippines to be able to provide new and affordable offerings on, especially for business travelers and those planning for their future getaways once leisure travel is permitted.”

Isla added, “Aside from developing as Asia’s fastest-growing super app, this initiative has opened up opportunities to work with partner hotels, as we start to recover from the effects of the pandemic which have devastated the travel and tourism industry. We look forward to forming more partnerships with more hotels in the future.”