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Snapchat stages a viral hashtag takeover on rival Instagram

Key Points
  • Snap on Tuesday launched a global ad campaign called "Real Friends." 
  • As part of the ad campaign, the company staged a "hashtag takeover" on rival social media platform Instagram. 
  • The campaign aims to highlight how users can connect with their close friends on Snapchat. 
Examples of Snap's new "Real Friends" campaign.

Snap is taking a subtle dig at rival social media platform Instagram in its first global advertising campaign launched on Tuesday.

The campaign, called "Real Friends," aims to highlight how users can connect with their close friends on the company's app, Snapchat. As part of the launch, Snap staged a "hashtag takeover" on Facebook-owned Instagram, filling the #realfriends and #friendshipquotes pages with quotes from notable figures about friendship.

Snap said it partnered with "Quotefluencer" accounts on Instagram to post the ads. The ads are distinguished by Snap's signature yellow and ghost logo, nicknamed Ghostface Chillah.

"Snapchat is for real friends, so today we're launching a celebration of the friends who share, laugh, love and connect with each other using our platform," Chief Marketing Officer Kenny Mitchell, who joined Snap in April, told CNBC. "Featuring more than 70 Snapchatters from 12 different countries, 'Real friends' shares the stories behind real friendships around the world."

In a blog post, the company said the campaign underscores its mission of letting friends "express themselves" and share how they feel "in the moment."

Examples of Snap's new "Real Friends" campaign.

Snap also posted a series of short videos featuring Snapchat users talking about their friendships, alongside footage from the app.

In addition to the social media campaign, Snap said it will run ads through cinema, broadcast, print and digital channels in the US, India and Australia, as well as in Europe this fall.

The campaign comes after Snap last week posted better-than-expected results for the second quarter. Snap's user base grew to 203 million daily active users, representing the second quarter in a row of growth for the company.

It's not the first time Snap and Instagram have engaged in a bit of friendly fire. Facebook attracted attention when it copied several popular features from Snapchat, most notably its ephemeral Stories feature and augmented reality camera effects. In response, Snap CEO Evan Spiegel, quipped that he wished Facebook would copy Snap's "data protection practices," not just its product, and criticized Facebook as being a place for "shallow friendships."

Facebook was not immediately available to comment on the campaign.

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