Cannes Lions

Stranger Things + Snapchat’s AR Portal Lens

SNAPCHAT, Santa Monica / NETFLIX / 2018

Presentation Image
Presentation Image
Presentation Image






Stranger Things dominated pop culture in a way reserved for only the greatest entertainment hits. Fans dressed up as characters for Halloween, created parody videos, and even made their own swag. Netflix knew their marketing would have to match the level of fans’ expectation.

Netflix answered this demand in part with immersive marketing, going so far as to recreate Hawkins, Indiana at San Diego Comic Con.

But could we bring fans even closer to this show they lived and breathed? We saw an opportunity to put the world of Stranger Things literally into the hands of millions at once, with no barrier to entry.

At the same time, Snapchat’s advancing Lens Studio technology and Apple’s ARkit rollout would accommodate greater design complexity. And from studying user behavior we knew that Snapchatters seek out new experiences on the app. This was the perfect opportunity to bring AR to a new level.


Our solution to the challenge and opportunity at hand was Snapchat’s first ever Portal Lens, which walked Snapchatters through a door into the world of Stranger Things. Stepping across the threshold into the living room, a sequence of supernatural events triggered, rewarding 360 exploration. A full turn revealed the real world still visible back through the doorway.

The cast used the Portal on the red carpet, bringing the upside down to the heart of Hollywood. And on launch day Stranger Things dominated Snapchat, between the prime Lens placement and curated content in Discover.

Meanwhile, anyone listening to the theme song could Shazam within Snapchat to unlock the Lens, opening another point of entry.

For diehard fans, Easter eggs such as drawings on the floor and a scene on the TV provided clues. And for others, the simple face transformation, and the room’s immersive detail, were designed to hold attention.


The Portal ran on Snapchat in Netflix’s key global markets on the day Season 2 launched.

That weekend, the Stranger Things theme song became the 2nd-most Shazamed song on Snapchat.

The average Snapchatter played in the Lens for 24 seconds, a huge result on mobile, made more significant by the active, intimate nature of the engagement.

We reached 35% of Snapchat’s global in-market audience, creating mass impact on premiere day. And it moved the needle: Third party measurement proved the Lens lifted users’ intent to watch Stranger Things.

Above all, the Snapchat Portal Lens achieved breakthrough status. The press took hold of it, touting Snapchat and Netflix’s leadership in AR marketing. Portals became the new hot ticket, with other brands jockeying to be next. Success stories like this one have the ability to shape the future of AR on Snapchat, informing the technology roadmap ahead.

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