Costa Coffee Snapchat Spectacles campaign – This is why we can’t have nice things!

Imagine how cool it would be to get handed a shiny new toy that everyone is talking about and told ‘you’re the first to get it, now do something cool’?

There’s a definite first mover advantage for brands. The PR story of being the ‘first company to…’ do something can draw attention, and there’s also a little ego boost for the agency and brand manager. Everyone wants to be an early adopter, an innovator.

Costa Coffee in the UK got that opportunity last week. We’ve been waiting for Snapchat Spectacles to come to this side of the Atlantic for months, and Costa was the first brand in the UK to get their hands on a pair.

Now just imagine the creative possibilities at the brief stage? You get handed an opportunity to do something nobody has done before, to use a product that shoots video with distinctive look and to come up with a really cool, novel idea that’s guaranteed to get some interest.

Plus, there’s no pressure, the bar is automatically low since nobody has done much with the tool before. It’s literally an open goal for a digital creative. 


Unless you forget to come up with a creative idea that is.

Unfortunately, Costa fell into this trap. They created a campaign that’s the definition of ‘meh’.

Their idea was

“to give fans a unique insight into the world of Costa, specifically through the eyes of its baristas”.

Basically, they gave the specs to a barista, who made a coffee, and they recorded that. That’s the ‘campaign’.

According to a spokesperson,

“for our customers and followers, we know…they’ll be intrigued to watch their favourite coffee being made from the perspective of a Costa barista”.

Will they aye? Does anyone really want to spend a minute and a half watching a Costa barista pouring coffee? Is that interesting?

To me, this is a wasted opportunity. It’s a channel thought without any creative idea.

It’s relying on a shiny new thing to do the work, and lazily not thinking up of a way to bring it to life.

I know this is a first use in the market, and there’s no Spectacles campaigns to get creative ideas from.

But surely Costa could’ve looked to campaigns like this from Eighty Twenty and this from Old Spice for inspiration.

Both were built on top of an immature platform, but had a strong creative idea at the core. Both won awards too.

I’m not picking on Costa here, this is something that we’re all guilty of. We forget that channels and platforms are the equivalent of creative canvases that we paint on. But they’re  benign without a strong creative idea.  It’s up to us as marketers to get creative, build cool things on top of them, to understand them, test them and sometimes break them.

But just using a new channel can’t be ‘the big idea’ on its own.

In Ireland meanwhile, Aer Lingus were the first brand to be given a go. They decided to hand the specs to Conor Murray to give an insight into a ‘day in the life’.

Again, this isn’t exactly a revolutionary creative idea, but it’s a smart way to use their sponsorship assets and give fans a look behind the scenes that they wouldn’t normally get.

The resulting short social video got plenty of traction.

Who wouldn’t want to see the world from Conor Murray’s eyes?
(Don’t answer that one!)

A simple idea, but an idea at least.