You Have to Wear a Mask to Unlock Ogilvy's Snapchat Lens for the City of Chicago

Engaging Covid initiative with local designs

You'll have to mask up to plaster the Bulls, Cubs or White Sox logos across your face using a new City of Chicago Snapchat lens.

To encourage folks to don mouth and nose coverings in the fight against Covid-19, Ogilvy created an augmented reality experience that unlocks only when users wear masks. Doing so allows them to virtually trick-out their face guards with the insignia and colors of local sports teams, among other designs. The resulting Snaps are intended for sharing, to inspire mask wearing IRL.

"Our youth are smart, civically minded people," Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot says in a statement. "They know their personal actions help keep them and their friends and families safe. By using this fun, unique tool, we reach them where they are—on their phones, on social media, and at the point when they have a choice to make about wearing that mask."

Targeting millennials and Gen-Z—less than 30 percent of whom wear masks in public spaces—the push arrives amid a coronavirus surge in Chicago. In recent weeks, daily new cases tallied between 1,500 and 2,000, up from about 500 in June.

"We've been looking for ways to empower Chicago's younger residents to share the precautions they are taking as they confront this pandemic," says Joe Sciarrotta, worldwide deputy chief creative officer at Ogilvy. "We saw this lens as a perfect opportunity to help young people prove through their social networks that they are making the right choices."

The project employs the tag "Team Up, Mask Up," the city's rallying cry across all its communications urging Chicagoans to cover their faces and stanch the transmission of Covid-19.

Ogilvy audio engineer Joe Griffin developed the concept after a friend mentioned that AR lenses wouldn't work when users wore masks. The work builds on Ogilvy's 2019 International Women's Day initiative with Snapchat and Glade on custom AR lenses for women in Saudi Arabia. Designed for women wearing veils, those lenses could be triggered by the blink of an eye.

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