Star Wars isn’t done with its promotional partner marketing yet. It was announced today that Disney/Lucasfilm is working with Giphy, the popular GIF repository, on making Star Wars animations available through the GiphyCam app. That app lets you overlay animations onto existing photos and save/share them as GIFs on other networks. This partnership adds Stormtrooper helmets, the Millennium Falcon and other custom graphics to the available options.
The reason this seems notable to me is that it’s very similar to what Snapchat has been trying to do with its branded filters, an ad product it sells and which other studios have used in the last few months to promote movies like The Peanuts Movie and others. So this kind of partnership between a social tech company and a movie studio reads to me like Giphy is trying to horn in on Snapchat’s business.
There are some notable differences, of course, Snapchat is a self-contained network, with the tools and the network all being contained in one app. Giphy, on the other hand, is a tool that then depends on other networks for distribution of the content people produce there. But with Giphy’s integrations with apps like Facebook Messenger and others that differentiation diminishes to some extent.
What these kind of partnerships show, though, is that studios are increasingly embracing new tech, at least tentatively. And they’re doing so in a way that lends the execution on these partnerships to the app itself, though with creative input from the studio and other talent. Like I said, this looks to me like Giphy trying to snatch some business away from Snapchat, likely by making the case to studios that people’s creations play on many networks, not just on one as is the case with Snapchat. The war for branded animations has officially begun.