How USAA used Snapchat’s AR Lens to engage the public for Memorial Day

When COVID-19 disrupted its annual Poppy Wall display, the company deployed the technology to create a virtual experience to honor the fallen.

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COVID-19 has disrupted many plans for live events in 2020—including USAA’s annual Poppy Wall installation to commemorate Memorial Day.

The exhibit, set up every year in Washington, D.C., usually draws thousands of visitors and is intended to honor the nation’s 645,000 fallen service members. This year, team members did what many organizations have done in response to COVID-19: pivot to digital.

They set up a site and worked with Snapchat to create a virtual experience for visitors. The collaboration reveals what is possible with technology and what changes we might see incorporated into future campaigns.

Chris Talley, USAA senior vice president and chief communications officer, explained the thought behind the campaign:

“The coronavirus pandemic forced virtually all Memorial Day ceremonies to re-envision plans, including USAA’s Poppy Wall of Honor on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. With so many experiences shifting to digital, we were able to work with Snapchat to offer a digital-only continuation of the Poppy Wall of Honor, allowing Americans to come together to honor fallen military members.”

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