L'Oreal is shifting the focus of its advertising budgets to developing digital utilities for consumers – such as its Make Up Genius app that is launching to the Australian market today (24 march)
Make Up Genius uses the same facial recognition technology that was used in the making of the Hollywood film The Curious case of Benjamin Button. It uses facial mapping technology to turn the front-facing phone camera into a virtual mirror that allows consumers to try on products, and make up styles in real-time.
While numerous apps already exist that use static photos to show product demonstrations, L'Oreal says its facial recognition app is “game changing”.
The app means that women can virtually try products in-store on their phones.
It captures 64 facial data points and 100 different facial expressions, making it intuitive enough to recoginise movement so that the make up being 'tried' moves a the user moves.
Down the line L'Oreal is expecting to partner with retailers to create bespoke in-store activations using the technology as well as an e-commerce function that will allow people to buy products fro the app.
It is understood to be in negotiations with Priceline and Target.
“L'Oreal has been good at doing product advertising, and got really got at doing brand advertising but now we need to offer a service,” L'Oreal head of digital Christophe Eymery told AdNews ahead of the launch.
The brand will also invest as much advertising the app as it would advertising a new brand or product launch. The Australian launch is being backed by L'Oreal's Australian ambassador Megan Gale and global ambassador Barbara Palvin.
“We have been a product manufacturer and marketing has always been product centric. We're launching make up genius as if it is a new product or brand but now we're moving into a new territory of marketing services. This is the first tine we will allocate the same kind of budget as if we are launching a new product or brand. It might sound easy but for us it's a massive cultural change,” Eymery said.
Make Up Genius was born out of L’Oréal USA’s Connected Beauty Incubator, in New York.
The free app is being launched to the market today (24 March). The app has previously lacunhed in the US and France, but the Australian version has a number of updates and is available on Android for the first time.
For more on L'Oreal's evolving marketing strategy, check out The Marketer in the coming issue of AdNews out 3 April.
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