Snapchat takes a not-so-subtle dig at Instagram

Snapchat has fired a shot at chief rival Instagram with its first major advertising campaign, even plastering the Facebook-owned app with ads in the guise of inspirational quotes.

The integrated campaign “Real Friends,” which includes TV, print and billboard ads, features more than 70 Snapchatters from 12 different countries, sharing stories about how they maintain close relationships via the app.

“When we launched Snapchat more than seven years ago, it wasn’t about capturing the traditional Kodak moment, or trying to look pretty or perfect,” said the company in a blog post announcing the campaign, which launched Tuesday. “We wanted to create a way for our friends to express themselves and share however they felt in the moment.”


The latest salvo in an ongoing battle between the two social platform arrives amid growing concerns about the harm caused by social media that rewards the endless pursuit of likes and followers.

Snapchat has long claimed that its platform is about authentic relationships, and Snap CEO Evan Spiegel has accused Facebook of being an environment that encourages “shallow friendships”

“What people are experiencing on Instagram is, they don’t feel good about themselves. It feels terrible, they have to compete for popularity,” said Spiegel at a New York Times conference late last year.

Facebook has also been accused of copying some of Snapchat’s most popular features—including Filters, Chats and Stories—directly into both its flagship app and Instagram over the years, so it’s perhaps not surprising that the company is thumbing its nose at Mark Zuckerberg’s platform.

Snapchat also worked with so-called “quotefluencers”—Instagrammers who post daily inspirational quotes—to create a series of celebrity posts about friendship on the platform. The takeover campaign features a series of posts using the hashtags #realfriends and #friendshipquotes.

The paid ads, which use Snapchat’s signature yellow background and its ghost logo, feature quotes about friendship uttered by personalities such as musicians Joan Jett (“You don’t lose when you lose fake friends”) and Jim Morrison (“A friend is someone who gives you total freedom to be yourself”).

The campaign comes at a time when Snapchat is enjoying significant growth, adding 13 million new users in its most recent quarter. The app now claims 203 million daily active users—up from 190 million in the previous quarter (Instagram has more than 500 million daily users.)

Snapchat’s growth has been attributed to a revamped Android app and new features including the addition of playful gender-swap and baby lenses.

Chris Powell