During the upcoming Oscars on March 27, Snap Inc will air its first-ever Oscars TV spots in honor of deaf and hard-of-hearing communities.
Two different ads will feature Snapchat’s augmented reality (AR) fingerspelling Lenses, which encourage users to learn American Sign Language (ASL) directly in the app.
Snap’s 15- and 30-second ad spots are timely, as this year, two Oscar-nominated films feature deaf actors and subject matter related to the deaf and hard-of-hearing communities.
“CODA,” the first motion picture starring a predominantly deaf cast in leading roles, has been nominated for Best Picture, and it features Troy Kotsur, the first deaf male actor to earn a Best Supporting Actor nomination. “Audible,” which follows the story of a deaf high-school football player, has been nominated for Best Documentary (Short Subject).
The Lenses featured in the ads teach users to fingerspell their names, along with common words like “hug,” “love,” and “smile.” They were originally launched as a series during last year’s International Week of The Deaf, which raises awareness for the world’s 400 million people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.
The Lenses were developed by “The Deafengers,” Snap’s internal employee group composed of deaf team members, who partnered with SignAll, a company that creates AI-driven technologies combining computer vision, machine learning, and natural-language processing algorithms to automatically translate sign language.
Snap’s Oscar spots, which were directed by “The Mercadantes” duo, one of whom –– Katina Mercadante –– is fluent in ASL, will highlight how this hand-tracking tech can help build bridges between deaf and hard-of-hearing and hearing communities, says a recent statement.
The 15-second spot will run on digital and social channels following the Oscars ceremony. Snap has also taken out print ads in the LA Times and Variety.
Snap says AR can be one of the primary ways to educate and inspire the Snapchat community. According to Snap’s internal data, over 200 million Snapchatters engage with AR every day, and on average, the platform sees over 6 billion daily AR Lens plays.
“For native signers, in a world where linguistic inequity is prevalent, we believe augmented reality can revolutionize the way people communicate with one another,” says Snap.