Facebook Is Developing Animated Selfie Masks for Brands

Advertising Age
Garett Sloane

Facebook is in talks to let several Hollywood studios promote big-budget movies using new animated masks on the social network, according to media and ad executives familiar with the plans.
Facebook has been experimenting with augmented reality in a camera-centered redesign for its app that appears inspired by Snapchat. The Hollywood masks could be part of that new look, which is expected in March, people familiar with the strategy said.

Facebook Live already lets people use the filters to sync up special effects over their faces, but has not allowed brands to participate. One ad exec said that the first branded mask would be an unpaid experiment.

Branded masks are just another offering that Facebook is looking to swipe from its younger rival Snapchat, which popularized augmented reality in mobile messaging. Marketers from Twentieth Century Fox to the Hillary Clinton campaign have paid Snapchat to let users render themselves as characters from “X-Men: Apocalypse” or as the presidential candidate herself. With every borrowed concept, Facebook and its subsidiary Instagram ramp up pressure on Snapchat’s parent company Snap Inc. as it prepares to become a publicly listed company.

But with every feature that Facebook or its Instagram subsidiary copies from Snapchat, the pressure on Snapchat parent Snap Inc. to reach its planned initial public offering only increases. Facebook offers marketers immediate access to much larger audiences, so unique features are Snapchat’s chief weapon.

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