On Tuesday night, West Ham United fans got over excited and ended up throwing bottles at the Manchester United team bus as it arrived at Upton Park. Idiotic and predictable, but not a huge news story. However, what got captured and broadcast inside will become Snapchat folklore, and perhaps inadvertently become their best ’advert’ to date.
The United players jokingly cowered in the aisles between the seats, took to their phones and started documenting the moment. Jesse Lingard, who himself is just 23 caught the most hilarious of stories and broadcast it around the world through his Snapchat account. It was of the team larking about, with fake quivering lips and pretending to scream, showing their a playful side. This was the world of media trained footballers with the handbrake off. You got to see multimillionaire superstar players mucking about as a group on camera, play-acting and showing off their personalities which remain hidden in most press conferences.
The Snapchat piece lasts under a minute, yet it is such high comedy derived from such a surprising moment that it will live long in the memory. A version which made it to Twitter moments afterwards had already been re-tweeted and favourited several thousand times just minutes following the upload.
This potent combination of celebrity and news story has really given Snapchat its moment in the sun for live reportage. Just as Twitter’s prominence for documenting events as they unfurled came to the fore during the London riots in the UK, now this little stolen sporting nugget of chaos will be a marker moving forward.
Snapchat’s growth has been rapid and well documented. The most vital reason for it has been an ability and reputation to be anchored in authenticity. What started with schoolchildren adopting Snapchat as an antidote to other overly stage managed platforms, is now reaching the masses and an older generation too. Brands have sniffed their opportunity and looked to capitalise on this. What begun as experiment in urgency, with disappearing offers and teased trailers for new films, is now about how to convey true legitimacy with an audience.
This audience driven moment which is bringing so much welcome disruption to sports like football, is therefore a canary in the coal mine to other verticals too. Savvy brands will be looking to have entire stories taken over and handed across to people with personality as shown with the United players on Tuesday. Likewise, it is hard to emulate the sheer visceral excitement of swiftly put together ‘live’ video which Snapchat is bringing to the party. The world then tunes in and we all reflect the happenings in more traditional media the day after.
The full snapchat video can be seen here. Be warned, it contains lots of expletives!
Article by James Kirkham, Copa90