Frozen-yogurt brand 16 Handles is hoping the results it’s seen from its latest promotion aren’t here today and gone tomorrow—or in 10 seconds, rather.

The New York–based chain kicked off its marketing efforts this year using an up-and-coming mobile app, SnapChat, to offer customers discounted yogurt.

SnapChat allows users to snap and share a photo with “friends,” but with one caveat—it disappears after up to 10 seconds. And from January 1–4 and 7–11, 16 Handles offered guests at participating units a chance to get 16, 50, or 100 percent off their yogurt purchase, simply by sending 16 Handles a SnapChat photo of themselves with their yogurt treats.

The chain came up with the idea to use SnapChat while designing a similar promo for Twitter, says Adam Britten, 16 Handles’ community manager.

“But it’s so much easier for a customer to steal a coupon that wasn’t necessarily intended for them, or for a customer to share it with their other friends on Twitter, because the images there last forever, whereas SnapChat is more instant,” he says. “It’s intended for that one person, and then also, we are the only person to see the customers photos.”

Not only did the promotion get guests talking about the brand, but the buzz also got 16 Handles some attention on other social media channels.

“We had our strongest week on Twitter ever during our SnapChat campaign,” Britten says. “We got way more Facebook likes in a day than we usually do, because we were putting ourselves out there in a new way in the social media space, and people took notice elsewhere.”

Britten says because the brand has a “young, socially active consumer base,” it wants to be an innovator on social-media platforms. And though he says there’s always a risk with employing new marketing platforms, the brand ultimately had little to lose.

“There wasn’t a lot of cost; we just had to make sure that our store employees were aware of what was going on and knew how to handle the promotion, and then it just involved our time monitoring it,” he says. “It wasn’t like we were building anything out that was too overly complicated or would absorb too much of our resources, so it was like, why not?”

While the brand originally ran the promotion in only six of its units, Britten says the positive results likely mean it will run systemwide in the future.

He also says he expects to see more brands in the quick-service world employing the new platform. ““I’d be surprised if at least a few other brands didn’t experiment with it,” he adds.

But the brand isn’t worried about the extra competition.

“SnapChat wasn’t really built for marketers in the same sense [as Facebook], so there’s not as much competition because it’s private,” Britten says. “It’s one brand and one person … just having a private conversation that’s not broadcasted for everyone to see, and everyone to observe and criticize and critique and compare.”

By Mary Avant

Desserts, Marketing & Promotions, News, 16 Handles