VENICE, CA: Film studios are to the fore among advertisers that are spending up to three quarters of a million dollars to use Snapchat's sponsored lenses ad product to reach millennial consumers.

"Snapchat is a very shiny object right now," said Craig Atkinson, chief investment officer at PHD, adding that sponsored lenses are "probably the white-hot center of their shiny object for a marketer."

According to Adweek, 14 brands have run sponsored lenses during a four week period in June and July, including six film studios promoting summer blockbusters.

Three beauty brands – L'Oréal Paris, Urban Decay and Benefit Cosmetics – have also created campaigns that applied makeup filters to selfies.

For Wende Zomnir, Urban Decay's founding partner, the expense involved is worth it because "it was us taking something that people are already engaging with and creating a more playful way to execute it".

And users certainly do engage with it. When the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) came up with a lens that applied a pair of sunglasses to users' faces to make it look like they were at a pool party – complete with beach balls and inflatable toys – the ad was reportedly viewed 41m times in one day and played with by 29m users.

But the real value, said Elias Plishner, EVP/digital marketing for Sony Pictures Entertainment, "is not the number of times it's being used, but the number of people who view content created by Snapchat users with the lens, which could be in the tens of millions."

Industry sources told Adweek that a one-day takeover – which can take six weeks to create – now costs around $600,000, more during major holidays or events. "Premium would be a significant understatement," observed Atkinson.

Snapchat's argument, however, is that as more people use the lenses, the cost-per-user comes down.

Warc is running a webinar on using Snapchat on July 21. Readers can sign up here: How to build brand trust with Snapchat. A Warc Guide to advertising on Snapchat is also available.

Data sourced from Adweek; additional content by Warc staff