IT’S A SNAP: Hearst is in the process of developing a new product with Snapchat, WWD has learned.

Luke Crisell, who was hired by Hearst’s digital arm about six month ago to work on special projects, heads up the project. Crisell, a former editor in chief of fashion company Aritzia, is said to bring an e-commerce element to the Hearst/ Snapchat product, sources say. The new special projects guru has been interviewing fashion market editors to join his team, adding to the e-commerce speculation.

Hearst declined to provide color on its partnership with Snapchat.

But if there is any question about the publishing company’s interest in the social media firm, one need look no further than Cannes Lions when Cosmopolitan editor in chief Joanna Coles interviewed Snapchat co-founder and chief executive Evan Spiegel in Cannes, France, in June.

Coles spoke to Spiegel about Snapchat’s alluring properties to the advertisers’ target audience: Millennials.

“Do you think the relationship between the user—and especially the young Millennials in Snapchat who have wised up to the fact that their data is being sold from other social media—do you think that they have a different relationship with Snapchat because of that? Do you think they trust you more is what I’m asking?” Coles said.

“We definitely like to think so. We try to make it very clear, what value you get when you give us a piece of information,” Spiegel said, explaining that Snapchat launched a geo-filers element. By allowing Snapchat to see where you are, you get a new filter, and that content isn’t stored. Geo-tagging could prove helpful for targeting shopping opportunities. Fashion brands have been buzzing around the mobile video messaging service for more than a year.

Snapchat, which is valued at a hefty $19 billion, shuns targeted advertising based on algorithms and instead prefers to use human editors.

“One of the things we said that was really different was, we said that editors are really important,” Spiegel said. “We’ve seen channels with really strong editors outperform other channels.”

Currently, Snapchat has partnered with media outlets through its Discover platform. Media properties with channels in Discover include Vice Media, Cosmopolitan, CNN, People, The Daily Mail, National Geographic, Comedy Central and Food Network and ESPN. Buzzfeed and iHEartRadio were recently added, and according to reports, Vox.com will join the group later this summer.

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