10 Examples of Sponsored Snapchat Lenses


September 21, 2016

This blog was originally posted on
Conviva Acquired Delmondo in November of 2018 and has become Conviva Social Insights.

Snap Inc., the parent company of Snapchat, describes itself as the company that reinvented the camera. By doing so, they reinvented the way people express themselves, live in the moment, learn about the world around them, and most importantly, have fun together. To do this, since 2015, Snapchat has offered several different tools, including Snapchat spotlight features, and different types of lenses. Whether for personal use or advertising purposes, the Snapchat lens has allowed people to get highly creative. So much so that we at Conviva would like to show you some of the best examples of Sponsored Snapchat Lenses we’ve seen so far. But first, a little background on Snapchat.

What is a Snapchat Lens?

The Snapchat lens feature was introduced to the app in September 2015.  Unlike Snapchat filters which are static, Snapchat lenses sit on top of your image or video. They have augmented reality (AR) animations that can change the sound of your voice, as well as your appearance on the screen. It responds to a user’s facial movements, adding sounds and interactive motion effects to video selfies. 

In 2018, Snap creators had designed over 100,000 lenses on the platform. Now Snapchat says there have been more than 1 million types of lenses created. The standard lenses are free. The customized ones come at a price.

What is Snapchat’s Lens Studio?

But if you can’t find a lens that suits your specific interests, why not try The Lens Studio? The app allows creators, from 3D professionals to Photoshop hobbyists, to create their customized lenses. Created by Snapchat in 2017, their second official app is designed to create personalized AR lenses. However, in the years since its introduction, there have been many updates to the Lens Studio. It has become a developer tool, allowing the user to create face lenses (front camera experiences) and world lenses, which have now been opened up to advertisers. World lenses that dress up your selfies with AR-based content. The world lenses let you create content beyond the face, including floating 2D or 3D objects, interactive content, and other items.  

How many people use Snapchat’s Lenses?

There are as many as 210 million snaps each day decorated using the lens feature (Snapchat 2020). Many of these include sponsored lenses, one of the most premium types of ads available from Snapchat. They are sponsored, enabling advertisers to build branded experiences they can share with their friends.

Sponsored Lenses

Snapchat ran more than 100 sponsored lenses in its first year, with lots of brands buying them up. It seems like we’re being asked by clients regularly here at Conviva for examples of sponsored lenses. So today, we have created a list of the top 10 sponsored lenses in the first few years. There are still perfect lenses!

It’s important to note that there are other Snapchat-sponsored features such as Smart Geofilters. This type of advertisement allows users to activate branded overlays that appear when they swipe left or right on the camera. They automatically add location information or other real-time information to a nationwide or chain Smart Geofilter. As an example, these could be updated automatically to include things like high school or college name, airport location, city, or mall location.

However, we’re here to focus on sponsored Snapchat lenses in this article. The following are the long-standing top ten that we’ve calculated here at Conviva using our social analytics tools

10. ‘The Peanuts Movie’

The Peanuts Movie was the first brand to sponsor a Snapchat Lens. It was undoubtedly trying to copy the viral success of the rainbow throw-up lens as the Peanuts Movie theme song played. At the same time, an endless stream of candy corn poured out of the user’s mouth. While indeed not our favorite lens, the very first sponsored lens of all time deserves a place on this list for being the ultimate brand icebreaker.


9. Apple’s Beats

Like Peanuts, Apple’s Beats is on the list for being one of the first to run a sponsored lens. In this case, the first tech company to purchase a Snapchat lens. When people used the filter, they saw Beats headphones appear on their heads, and Drake’s “Big Rings” song would begin to play in the background. The lens appeared right before Black Friday in 2015, an effort to spur sales for the product.


8. L’Oreal

Hailed as the first beauty brand to run a Snapchat lens, L’Oreal allowed people to see what they would look like while wearing makeup. After taking a selfie, users could add eyeliner, mascara, foundation, blush, and lip color. Furthermore, the campaign did a fantastic job of picking up press in nearly every fashion/makeup publication and blog online.


7. Budweiser

USA, USA, USA!! While not the first alcohol brand to run a sponsored lens, Budweiser’s sponsored Snapchat lens was the first of its kind for a beer brand. Its inclusion showed a marked change in the demographic among targeted users. Tying into their “America” campaign, which included changing the name of their beer, the lens turned your selfies into a virtual Uncle Sam, complete with top hat and goatee. This provided a fantastic example of a user experience using a sponsored lens.


6. Malibu Rum

The hardest I’ve ever laughed at Snapchat was watching my friend’s grandma use the Malibu Rum lens.

Launched on Memorial Day weekend, Malibu became the first spirit company to use a sponsored lens and featured an exploding pineapple head to help usher in the summer season. After Memorial Day, other alcohol companies like Budweiser quickly rolled out their own sponsored lenses.


5. Empire/Fox TV

After being away from TV for nearly four months, Fox ran a sponsored lens campaign in March to promote the second half of its show Empire. The lens overlaid a pair of headphones and sunglasses over the user’s face, played a backing track, and transported them to a “virtual music studio,” where they could lay down vocals.

The lenses were viewed more than 65 million times. Users spent on average 20 seconds playing with them, and Snapchat reported that they boosted brand awareness by 16 points.


4. X-Men Apocalypse 

What was unique about the X-Men apocalypse takeover was that not only did they sponsor nine lenses, but they made sure the other lenses were removed. Dubbed a “Lens Takeover,” for 24 hours, the only lenses you could use were X-Men themes. Yes, that’s right – you couldn’t even use the rainbow vomit or the dog-licking lens. Although it bothered some, the lens takeover was an impressive effort, the first of its kind, and generated significant press.


3. Michael Kors Sunglasses

This sunglass giant created a lens that virtually allowed consumers to try on a pair of Kendall II sunglasses styled after Kendall Jenner. We like this because it allows people to try on three different colors to see how they might look while wearing them, with only subtle branding in the bottom left.  The company also was adamant about tying their Snapchat activities to sales. Following the campaign, Luxury Daily reported that the Michael Kors Snapchat lens was viewed over 104 million times. This high visibility translated to an 18% increase in ad awareness and a 6% lift in purchase intent.


2. Gatorade

You’ve probably seen the iconic image of a coach or athlete getting the Gatorade shower after a big win. Introduced at Super Bowl 50, they brought that same experience to Snapchat, letting users dunk their virtual cooler full of Gatorade over top of another person’s selfies.

We like records, and while this one was ultimately broken as the most viewed filter by our #1 pick, Gatorade set the standard for Snapchat-sponsored lenses this year.  Introduced for Super Bowl 50, this lens received more than 160 million impressions-surpassing the 115 million viewers who watched the game. Users interacted with the Super Bowl lens for an average of 30-seconds.


1. Taco Bell

Our number one sponsored lens goes to Taco Bell. For Cinco de Mayo, the company sponsored a lens that, simply put, turned a user’s head into a giant taco shell.

The lens set a record by being viewed 224 million times. The average user played with it for around 24-seconds before sending it on to their friends, Adweek reported. It was also named as the top campaign in the app’s entire history (to date).

Putting aside the fact that turning someone’s head into a Taco is the funniest idea ever, the execution of the lens was flawless. Unlike some lenses, it didn’t seem rushed. The details were unique, and it worked seamlessly on anyone you pointed the camera on (including animals). For these reasons, we rank Taco Bell as the number one Sponsored Snapchat lens to date.


Want to know more about how your company can maximize Snapchat’s lenses? Check out Conviva’s social insights tool. We’ve got the analytical tools and knowledge to help you maximize this revolutionary social app.