Hot off the collaboration with BAZAAR’s contributing editor Mohammed Sultan, we sit down with the woman behind the filter, Mina Litvinova, to delve deeper into the project.
BAZAAR: Upon conceptualising the idea, did you ever how successful the AR filter would be?
Mina Litvinova: I knew that filters are a powerful social media tool, but only in collaborating with Mohammed did I realise the magnitude of a true influencer working with filters. By true influencer, I mean a social media personality with such a strong network and not just millions of random followers who actually don't influence anything. Mohammed has a little over 100,000 followers, but his reach through his network turned out to be mindblowing.
HBA: Can you share with us the results of the first filter?
ML: In just two weeks "Summer Love Bite" reached over three million impressions, how does someone with 100 000 following get that reach? I’ll tell you how. Because his filters were shared by celebrities with millions of followers of their own. So the right tools in the right hands is always a winner!
HBA: Lets rewind, how did the collaboration come to fruition?
ML: I host quarterly business meetups in Dubai dedicated to technology and Mohammed came as a guest to my July event dedicated to AR and VR in marketing and e-commerce. As part of my presentation, I spoke about the social media filters, at that time on Instagram they were still in closed beta and only approved users could create filters. Mohammed not only heard, but really understood what I said in that presentation. That AR in general and AR filters are here to stay and that what is happening with AR right night will completely reinvent the way we use social media and whoever comes first to the ball will rule the ball. He went into action immediately, contacted me the very next day and we got him registered on the closed beta platform and started working on the first filter "summer love bite".
HBA: It’s hard to find a harmonious working partnership. Why you think you two worked so well?
ML: So we are a perfect fit because we have the same mindset - we both think and act fast, while everyone else is doubting we are already creating and trying and testing and tweaking and moving forward. It also turned out that we also have a very similar taste is so many things, I have been in the region for 10 years now and I very well understand the local style and market, so the creative process between Mohammed and my team goes very smoothly. We started working together and along the way found that we are indeed a perfect fit.
HBA: Do you think the region is lacking digitally forward thinking figures? in terms of AR/VR development
ML: Absolutely. It actually stuns me how difficult it is to get anyone's attention when it comes to these technologies in the region. Just think about it for a second, the region with the highest smartphone penetration in the world and such little AR awareness and use is just a paradox. If anything the Middle East and definitely Dubai are in a position to pioneer use cases of AR! The cameras in our smartphones have become a door between a real-world and a digital world and still insist on using our smartphones for texting and selfies! This just doesn't make any sense!
Have you used Mohammed’s filter? We want to see! Drop us a DM on Instagram with your photo.