London gets the Snapbot treament as Snapchat Spectacles launch in Europe

Snapchat is bringing its cute Snapbot vending machines to Europe, letting Snapchatters in the region get their hands on a pair of Spectacles for the first time.

The unusual distribution strategy for the camera-equipped glasses follows on from a similar initiative in the US. On Friday (2 June) bots landed simultaneously in London, Venice, Paris, Barcelona and Berlin.

The bright yellow machines will be popping up in "surprising locations" throughout Europe this summer. The notoriously secretive company is not releasing the locations ahead of time, instead teasing them on a dedicated website which users can check 24-hours ahead of landing time.

Spectacles were launched by Snapchat last year to coincide with the firm rebranding its parent company as Snap Inc. The glasses cost £129.99 a pop and are basically hip round set sunglasses complete with an embedded video camera, which lets users capture Snaps on the go.

The Snapbot experience lets shoppers preview videos captured by Spectacles and virtually "try on" the eyewear.

The first London bot landed in the capital's South Bank next to the iconic London Eye ferris wheel. Where hundreds had queued when the push hit the States in LA's Venice Beach, Londoners were more reserved in their enthusiasm, with no queues to be seen.

Sean Tracey, a Labs developer at the Financial Times, was one of the first to pick up a pair of Spectacles in the UK capital. He said: "I think it’s an interesting way to launch a product. I can’t walk into Debenhams or Tesco to buy a pair, I have to come to a lovely part of London to get them. It’s a good way to get people interested."

Snapchat's chief strategy office Imran Khan has been keen to show marketers that the firm is "bigger than just one app" and creatives have been experimenting with the specs since they launched. In the US, paper towel brand Brawny recently rolled out a spot featuring clips of footage that were all shot by toddlers wearing the product.

You can get an insight in the Snapbot experience, which came complete with Snap's famous Rainbow Sick Filter-inspired Lenses, above.

Video filmed and edited by Katie Deighton

Get the Newsletter

Keep up to date with the latest news and insights.


Rebecca Stewart

Rebecca Stewart is a reporter at The Drum with a remit to cover the latest developments in social media marketing and wider industry news. Based in Glasgow, she has interviewed key figures from brands like Airbnb, Amnesty International, Facebook and Spotify. She has covered international events in Berlin and Amsterdam, as well as Advertising Week Europe.

All by Rebecca