Snap’s ability to court a young demographic with its Snapchat app has been one of its defining characteristics and the pillar of its success. But its reliance on users younger than 25 also is one of its biggest liabilities.
“It’s the rocks many ships have crashed on,” said Erik Gordon, a professor at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, who has studied companies that staked their success on the loyalty of young customers.
“Think of all the teen retailers that were fabulously successful five to 10 years ago that are now in terrible shape. Look at Abercrombie and Fitch,” Gordon said.
At the Venice Whaler Bar & Grill about a mile south of Snap's main offices, about 250 people had gathered by Thursday afternoon. A bartender said they had begun arriving by mid-morning.
Wearing Spectacles, T-shirts decorated with Snap's ghost logo and name badges with bitmojis, they filled the upper level of the bar. They looked out on the boardwalk and sunny beach while soccer and college basketball games — as well as CNBC, which broadcast Snap’s stock price throughout the trading day — played on TV sets.
Some of them snapped photos using Snapchat lenses as they downed beers, margaritas and shots, periodically erupting in cheers.
Snap Inc. set up two food trucks Thursday near its offices on Market Street offering free cheeseburgers and ice cream to all comers. A taco truck arrived in time for the lunch hour.
A steady stream of people, mostly skateboarders, lined up for food. A few shouted anti-Snap comments as they waited for their meals.
Mike Lindley, a protestor and organizer with Veterans for Peace, was trying to encourage people to stay away from the trucks, which he saw as simply a way for the company to garner good publicity. Lindley said he moved to Venice in 1968 after serving in the Navy and now stays on a friend's couch because he can't afford rent.