Snapchat Spectacles’ Spectacular PR-Stunt Launch

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Snap Inc.'s Spectacles, much discussed owing to their outré looks and their conceptual similarity to the aborted Google Glass, are now available to buy—from vending machines.

OK, that's simplifying what is really a fun and engaging PR stunt. The machines themselves—styled "Snapbots"—are distinctively bright yellow, with a smiling mouth and one big cartoonish eye, like a Minion without the blue overalls. Also, they are elusive: The Snapbots will only be in one place at a time, for one day only. As this is being written, there's one in Venice Beach. Tomorrow, who knows? And that's part of the fun. You can locate a bot through this map, and Snapchat reveals the next location 24 hours ahead of time. Exclusivity and the hunt: classic ways to drive consumers wild.

Of course, you can't try on vending-machine glasses before you buy, so how do you know if black, coral or teal is the right color for you? Snapbot has you covered: An integrated display shows you your reflection with the glasses superimposed, a la Snapchat lenses—a nice brand tie-in. Then just pay your $129 and use the Spectacles' built-in video camera to snap your view of the world.

Here's one Twitter user's video of the experience:

Thanks to Snap Inc. for wrenching us out of the election mindset with a good old-fashioned PR stunt. We can't wait to see how brands and other users put Spectacles to work.

To learn more about Snapchat and everything new about it, join us at the Snapchat Boot Camp in Washington, D.C. at the National Press Club, December 7.

Follow Ian on Twitter: @ianwright0101