Colbert Endorses Himself -- And Snapchat's Sponsored Lenses

On Wednesday night, Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel appeared on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert."  Spiegel didn’t say much. He just giggled a lot, and let Colbert do his thing.

The height of the interview came when Colbert -- who clearly loves no image more than his own -- showed off Snapchat’s “Puking Rainbows” lens. (If you’re not familiar, the popular lens takes a selfie, dilates your eyes to the size of large saucers, and then spews glittery rainbow vomit from your mouth.)

Colbert squealed with joy at the sight of his augmented self, and his millions of mainstream viewers got their first taste of the magic that is Snapchat. 

All this came just in time. Coordinated or not, the appearance coincides with Snapchat’s plan to begin selling sponsored lenses.

As sources tell the Financial Times, the social sensation could soon charge up to $750,000 for a brand to reach its entire audience of roughly 100 million users on a “peak day” like Halloween or the Super Bowl, and closer to $450,000 on average days.

Soon, the NFL, say, (which is already a Snapchat partner) could offer users a lens that puts their home team’s helmet on their virtual heads, or Captain Morgan could put piratey mustaches on everybody (just so they’re 21, of course).

Snapchat could use the money. The messaging startup reportedly lost $128 million on about $3 million in revenue last year. Not quite starving for cash, however, the company that popularized disappearing messages appears to have stockpiled roughly $320 million.

Snapchat recently raised an additional $537 million in new funding, which valued the company at $16 billion -- prompting renewed scrutiny of its business model and potential profitability, but also plenty of giggles from Spiegel on Wednesday night.

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