Chicago Launches First-of-Its-Kind Snapchat Lens Encouraging Residents to Wear Masks

By WBBM Newsradio 780 AM & 105.9 FM

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) — The City of Chicago launched Monday another engagement tool to combat the spread of COVID-19 in Chicago: a Snapchat lens.

The Mayor's Office said the social media platform is popular amongst Millennials and Gen Zers, a demographic that has seen a recent rise in case numbers in Chicago, and which the city believes is key to stemming the virus.  

City officials said to encourage users to wear masks when in public, this first-of-its-kind Snapchat augmented reality lens deploys new technology that only allows the user to unlock the lens when they put on a mask. 

“Our youth are smart, civically-minded people,” said Mayor Lori Lightfoot. “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.”

Mayor Lightfoot also launched her own Snapchat account on Monday as another method of outreach to Chicago’s youth. Anyone interested in following Mayor Lightfoot on Snapchat can find her @MayorLightfoot.

Known for offering its users “Easter eggs,” or hidden surprises found only through unique codes, Snapchat collaborated with Ogilvy-Chicago to design an AR lens that is “quintessential Chicago.” The city worked closely with Snap Inc. and Ogilvy to produce, refine, and complete the new designs to ensure they were aligned with the city’s current public health awareness initiatives, specifically, the ‘We Are All ONE Team: Team Up, Mask Up’ campaign.

“Youth are often given a hard time, so we’ve been looking for ways to empower Chicago’s younger residents to share out the precautions they are taking in confronting this pandemic,” said Joe Sciarrotta, deputy chief creative officer worldwide for Ogilvy, in a statement. “We saw this lens as a perfect opportunity to help young people prove through their social networks that they are making the right choices and truly believe ‘We are all one team.’”

The Mayor's Office said the City of Chicago was the first to deploy this technology, and it continues to be an innovator in raising awareness around the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information on COVID-19 in Chicago, visit chicago.gov/coronavirus.

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