Categories
Campaigns product Retail technology

Nars launches immersive ‘playground’ pop-up in London

Nars Cosmetic celebrated the 20th birthday of its iconic “orgasm” products with an interactive pop-up experience in London this weekend meant to evoke female pleasure in a fun playground environment.

Dubbed ‘The O by Nars’, the pop-up featured five pink rooms, each of which tapped into a different sense – touch, smell, sound, taste and sight. The result connected to the idea of pleasure in a subtle and somewhat abstract manner.

The Taste Me Room, which contained candy floss and edible bubbles, and the Touch Me Room, which featured 120 latex spheres, were most directly linked to their relative sense, while other rooms were less so. The See Me Room, for instance, featured a merry-go-round, while the Smell Me Room hosted indoor swings and clouds. The Hear Me Room meanwhile contained a content orb.

Nars’ ‘See Me Room’ featured a merry-go round

The cosmetics brand also engaged technology to enable customers to capture and share their experiences via social media. When entering the experience, visitors were given an RFID (radio-frequency identification) key-card, which could be activated by touching a specific area. It then captured images and videos of participants, which were sent via email to users.

This is not the first time Nars has created an immersive pop-up experience. Previously, in September 2018, the make-up brand launched its House of Climax pop-up in New York, which supported the launch of a new mascara.

“We drew from our key learnings and successes surrounding the ‘House of Climax’,” Barbara Calcagni, president of Nars Cosmetics and Shiseido’s Makeup Center of Excellence told Glossy. “Among the most compelling learnings [was that] each guest was spending, on average, nearly 30 minutes within the experience, which was more than we had expected. Knowing our consumers’ appetites, we wanted to further expand and deepen the consumer journey.”

Like its previous pop-up experience, “The O by Nars” pop-up was ticketed, but free of charge. The focus was to immerse customers in the brand’s identity, rather than push product sales. On this occasion, the event also allowed customers to purchase a blush at the end.

How are you thinking about immersive experiences? Want to learn more about how we worked with Google? The Current Global is a consultancy transforming how fashion and consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to hear more.

Categories
Retail technology

MAC targets Chinese Gen Z with interactive store concept

 

MAC Cosmetics is targeting Gen Z consumers in Shanghai, China with the Experience Center, an interactive store that aims to bridge the gap between physical and digital with a host of interactive experiences.

According to the Estée Lauder-owned brand, the store is a result of six months of consumer behavior research into the MAC consumer, including cognitive walkthroughs, focus groups and exit interviews with customers. Results then helped shape the design and experience of the store, including all tech elements that give visitors a more personalized experience.

For example at the store’s entrance, stationary digital screens invite customers to scan their phones to check into MAC’s WeChat mini-program. The program then triggers a variety of functions during the experience, such as instant checkout and product pick up.

Meanwhile in the lipstick section, a smart mirror enables customers to virtually try on 18 different shades in under 30 seconds through augmented reality. Customers can also choose from six eye shadow palettes and customize it to their tastes through the WeChat platform, which is then 3D printed for them. Lastly, an infrared touchscreen interface can scan a shopper’s face and recommend a foundation shade.

Beauty companies are leading the conversation in creating retail concepts where tech plays a major role in allowing consumers an increasingly personalized experience. Last year, brands from Bourjois to CoverGirl unveiled concepts where the try-on experience was further enhanced by tech fixtures, while Sephora often experiments with such features in its many store concepts across the globe.

How are you thinking about retail innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. Current Global is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to learn more. 

Categories
Campaigns film social media

CoverGirl credits 1,000 women with inclusive foundation film

CoverGirl "By The Infinite"
CoverGirl “By The Infinite”

CoverGirl has launched an online video that celebrates the women who have inspired its new TrueBlend foundation, which boasts over 40 shades.

To truly do so, the brand has created a credits section to the spot that rolls for a full 13 minutes and 40 seconds, thanking all of the 1,000 women involved.

Alongside those featured in the spot, the brand has also enlisted brand ambassadors such as HBO series Insecure’s star, Issa Rae, 70-year-old model Maye Musk, and motorcycle racer Shelina Moreda, further emphasizing the diversity of both the shades of foundation and the women who will wear it.

The short film was directed by Australian director Kim Gehrig and features an array of beautiful women of all ethnicities and skin colors dancing on and off the screen in a whirlwind, with the last few seconds bringing all of them together in a staircase frame.

Written over this powerful image are the words “A foundation inspired by the infinite, made for you.”

Fenty Beauty by Rihanna arguably kickstarted the 40-shade foundation hype and led beauty giants such as L’Oreal, Coverfix, and MakeUpForever to launch or expand into new shades. CoverGirl emphasizes however that its TrueBlend foundation was not created as a reaction to a trend, but rather inspired by listening to the needs of its consumers and developing the shades and formula through their feedback.

The spot is part of CoverGirl’s overarching new approach titled “I Am What I Make Up”, which officially substituted its famous “Easy, Breezy, Beautiful” tagline in 2017. The brand has since invested in a series of campaigns where it hopes to show a more mature and inclusive identity.

Highlights of this new approach include enlisting Amy Deanna as a spokesperson, who became the brand’s first model with vitiligo.  In May this year, fitness trainer and influencer Massy Arias also showcased the brand’s mascara while doing a workout, in a message of the importance of making time for one’s self.

CoverGirl "By The Infinite"
CoverGirl “By The Infinite”

Categories
e-commerce Retail technology

Target introduces AR and text-to-chat beauty concierge service

Beauty Concierge at Target

Target is upping its beauty game with a focus on personalized experiences through a series of digitally-enabled features both in-store and at the customer’s home.

The so-called Target Beauty Studio is a partnership between the US retailer and Perfect Corp.’s YouCam Makeup software, which allows users to virtually try on hundreds of makeup items using augmented reality on Target.com (desktop and mobile).

Meanwhile, the experience is also being trialled at 10 select stores across the country, with further roll out plans later this year. The feature is reminiscent of what many beauty brands such as Sephora and Bourjois have been doing in the try-on space in a bid to offer shopper more tools for discoverability and decision-making both on and offline.

Target virtual try-on powered by YouCam
Target virtual try-on powered by YouCam

“When it comes to shopping beauty, our guests love to explore,” said Christina Hennington, senior vice president of beauty and essentials at Target. “With the introduction of these new initiatives, which blend physical and digital to create an enhanced experience, we’re giving Target’s guests even more convenient options to find the perfect beauty items for their unique needs.”

Tapping into its younger consumer’s peer-to-peer messaging behaviour, Target is also introducing a text-to-get beauty advice service that will enable consumers to chat to Beauty Concierge representatives both on Target.com and via SMS. On the website users can click a ‘chat’ icon to type their questions and receive answers in real time, while on mobile users can text “BeautyChat” to a dedicated number to receive a response.

Categories
Editor's pick Retail technology

Bourjois unveils virtual try-on triggered by physical products

Bourjois Magic Mirror
Bourjois Magic Mirror

Coty-owned makeup brand Bourjois has unveiled a new smart mirror experience that enables shoppers to virtually try on make-up simply by picking up a cosmetic product in store.

Available at the brand’s newly relaunched boutique in Paris, the blended reality mirror is said to be an industry first as it integrates physical product – in this case makeup – with the augmented reality experience happening on the screen.

Shoppers can, for instance, pick up a lipstick and the chosen colour will instantly appear on their lips via the smart screen. The connected screen currently features the ‘pick up’ experience with the Rouge Velvet lipstick collection, and shoppers can then complete the digital look via onscreen eye make-up and blush, which is matched to their individual skin tones.

“As part of our desire to reinvent the retail experience through purposeful and personalized innovation, the Bourjois Magic Mirror represents the most extensive integration of physical products and digital content in the beauty industry,” said Elodie Levy, Coty’s global digital innovation senior director.

“Most women intuitively prefer to play with a lipstick rather than touch a screen, as there is an inherent sensual aspect in cosmetics packaging that no technology can replace, and our new Magic Mirror provides this desired experience to shoppers.”

Coty’s innovation comes from research that shows that 72% of consumers want an in-store beauty experience to be a mixture of both physical and digital elements in order to feel more ‘believable’. Moreover, the company believes virtual product try-on solves other retail-related issues such as testers not being available, as well as general hygiene concerns.

To create this experience, Coty worked with London-based digital studio Holition and retail marketing experts Perch. Holition is also responsible for Charlotte Tilbury’s in-store smart mirror, as well as Rimmel London’s makeup filters on Facebook Stories, but what differs in the Bourjois experience from other mirrors, however, is that it is customizable by product, as opposed to previous mirrors that focus on looks. Holition’s FACE software also allows skin tones to be analysed, thus providing a more personalized experience.

The experience is complemented by NY-based Perch’s expertise in the mirror’s form and function, where the smart camera monitors a defined area for activity, and automatically triggers visual content.

On the future of in-store marketing, Perch Interactive CEO Trevor Sumner says it is about blending digital experiences naturally into the shopper journey. “The Bourjois Magic Mirror uses computer vision to sense the most important indication of interest in physical retail – when a shopper touches a product – unlocking an experience that encourages natural pathways of discovery, education and engagement.”

Tapping into the digitally-connected beauty shopper’s need for peer engagement, the mirror also offers three playful filters and a feature that takes selfies, which can either be printed in-store or sent to the customer via email, which links to purchase all trialled items at Bourjois’ online channel.

Categories
Editor's pick Podcast technology

L’Oréal on creating personalized touchpoints through beauty tech

L'Oréal's Guive Balooch and Rachel Arthur
L’Oréal’s Guive Balooch and Rachel Arthur

L’Oréal is on a mission to marry technology and beauty in order to enhance their customer’s lives, says Guive Balooch, global vice president of L’Oréal’s Tech Incubator on the latest episode of TheCurrent Innovators podcast, hosted at SXSW 2018.

At the core of that purpose is the team Balooch runs, which works as an R&D lab for beauty tech. “When we started about five years ago, our goal was to make sure we could find the link between personalization and technology and find a way to get consumers the right product for them,” he explains.

Listen here: Apple Podcasts | Android | Google Play | Stitcher | RSS

Since its inception, the team has developed products such as a connected hairbrush, a UV sensor worn on the nail, the first example of an augmented reality make-up app, and most recently, an on-demand system called Custom D.O.S.E. for SkinCeuticals, which dispenses serum personalized to the customer’s skin needs in under a few minutes.

Technologies such as AI and machine learning have conditioned consumers to become more demanding than ever in finding products and experiences that are relevant to them on a granular level, Balooch explains. But if you look at the beauty market today, off the shelf products simply cannot respond to the plethora of demands that individuals have, he suggests, especially when looking at skintones. This is where a product like Lancôme’s Le Teint Particulier comes in, in which consumers have a consultation that includes a skintone scan before generating a tailor made foundation for them.

L'Oréal's My UV Patch
L’Oréal’s My UV Patch

That’s something consumers have been demanding for some time, but the tech and science until recently has just not been possible, Balooch explains. Today we’re at a real inflection point however, meaning customization is only going to get better.

As is the case with all of L’Oréal’s beauty tech launches, the goal is to enable brands under the group’s umbrella to target consumers at a one-to-one level, removing any frustrations that arise during the shopping experience, while allowing beauty associates to focus on the human side of the interaction. For Balooch, this innovation mindset will push new or long-established beauty products to start adapting to change, thus becoming smarter over time. This means evolving the experience they offer the customer by leveraging more individual data, encouraging co-creation, and even coaching consumers themselves to become smarter about how to use their products.

“In 10 years time there’s no question to me that every person will have the ability to have the perfect product for them. I think that there will be much more co-creation – that we’re moving towards an era where the people are becoming the companies,” he notes.

Beyond developing a made-for-me final product, attributes of efficacy and seamlessness are always top of mind when launching new connected technologies, from the production process to the design of the hardware and software itself, Balooch says. When partaking in the D.O.S.E experience with SkinCeuticals, for instance, consumers are able to watch as the machine prepares their personalized serum from beginning to end. This not only helps create an emotional experience for the recipient, but does a good job at communicating the process in a transparent way.

For L’Oréal, that marriage between design and technology is key for customer-facing experiences. “Design is not just a secondary piece of what we do today with technology. [It] can actually fuel the tech itself,” says Balooch, who believes for an integrated experience, technology needs to be both beautiful and warm. The future, he believes, is a balance between such creative and engineering teams.

Catch up with all of our episodes of TheCurrent Innovators here. The series is a weekly conversation with visionaries, executives and entrepreneurs. It’s backed by TheCurrent, a consultancy transforming how consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to learn more.

Categories
Editor's pick technology

At CES 2018, beauty tech ruled the scene

Foreo's UFO - CES
Foreo’s UFO

CES might have been heavily about automated vehicles and voice technology, but beauty also played a big role in 2018. From skin analysis gadgets to smart mirrors and even a miniature custom laboratory, here is our pick of the best new tech straight from Las Vegas. Note the key theme of personalization throughout.

Neutrogena’s SkinScanner

Neutrogena's Skin Scanner - CES
Neutrogena’s SkinScanner

Neutrogena unveiled a device called SkinScanner – a small gadget that attaches to your iPhone and uses sensors to analyse your skin. All users do is press it right onto their faces to capture a series of images. In an app called Skin360, they are then able to see the health of their skin over time, analyzing moisture levels, wrinkles, and pore size.

Created with a New York-based company called Fitskin, the device uses 12 LED lights and a 30x magnification lens to capture incredibly close-up images. The app meanwhile uses machine learning to compare skin health with others in the same age range. For poor skin health, users are directed to the Neutrogena store.

L'Oréal's UV Sense
L’Oréal’s UV Sense

L’Oréal’s UV Sense

L’Oréal unveiled a battery-free wearable electronic that provides consumers with individual information of their ultraviolet (UV) exposure through a small design worn on the nail. UV Sense, as it’s called, will launch for dermatological skincare brand La Roche-Posay this summer.

The launch follows the first stretchable skin sensor measuring UV exposure from the group unveiled at CES in 2016, called My UV Patch. This new one is less than two millimeters thick, nine millimeters in diameter and designed to be worn for up to two weeks on the thumbnail. It can also store up to three months of data.

Foreo’s UFO

Foreo's UFO - CES
Foreo’s UFO

Swedish brand Foreo launched its UFO smart mask, an at-home treatment device combining LED light therapy with cryo-therapy, thermo-therapy and T-Sonic pulsations, all activated via your smartphone in 90-seconds. This comes off the back of “face masks”being the number one searched term within the beauty category on Google in 2017.

The device has been in development for four years and is now available to pre-order in partnership with crowdfunding platform Kickstarter.

HiMirror

Beauty tech brand HiMirror released its voice-interactive smart mirror, for which it was named a CES 2018 Innovation Awards Honoree. The HiMirror Mini offers in-depth, personalized skincare analysis based on the evolving conditions of the skin, local weather conditions and more. As with the Neutrogena SkinScanner, it records the user’s skin overtime, tracking goals and the results of products used.

It is equipped with Amazon Alexa-enabled features, as well as facial and voice recognition account access. It even reminds users of product expirations and features an entertainment center consisting of current news stories, music, ambient make-up lighting, video tutorials and a virtual make-up feature. It will be available in the US in late summer 2018.

Kohler’s Verdera Voice Lighted Mirror

Another voice-activated mirror came from Kohler. The Verdera Voice Lighted Mirror, which retails for $999, is equipped with Amazon Alexa to allow users to control light setting to give them a better make-up application or grooming experience. In fact, you get all of the functionality of Alexa, including weather updates, shopping, playing music, receiving traffic alerts and more.

The device also works as a motion-activated night light, meaning it automatically brightens to a comfortable level for hand washing.

Romy Paris’ Miniaturized Laboratory

Romy Paris’ Miniaturized Laboratory - CES
Romy Paris’ Miniaturized Laboratory

Romy Paris introduced a “miniaturized laboratory” that creates a personalized skincare serum for users every day. The cosmetic formulator uses technology similar to the cold exaction used in a juicer, reportedly, to create the right combination of ingredients for your skin. 

A beauty coaching app meanwhile takes the users’ environment, activities and sleep habits into consideration. The idea is that just as you don’t eat the same food every day, your skin needs different nutrients dependent to best suit its condition and surrounds. A multi-user mode makes the $800 device able to create custom serums for different people in the household.

Schwarzkopf Professional SalonLab Analyzer

Schwarzkopf launched a handheld device that measures hair condition as well as hair color to provide hyper-personalized recommendations on products and services.

The SalonLab Analyzer uses near infrared spectroscopy and a multi-channel color scanner to read the hair. The system is also accompanied by an augmented reality app that enables users to then try on different hair colors.

Categories
e-commerce mobile social media technology

You can now get beauty tips from Amazon Alexa, thanks to Wunder2

The Beauty Tips skill on Amazon Alexa from Wunder2
The Beauty Tips skill on Amazon Alexa from Wunder2

Wunder2, the cosmetics company behind viral eyebrow product, WunderBrow, has launched an Amazon Alexa skill to provide voice-based beauty tips to consumers.

The initiative offers users access to current beauty trends, insights on great make-up hacks and details on products to buy.

To activate it, consumers ask Alexa what the “beauty tip of the day” is. The artificial intelligence platform will then respond with tips from make-up artists such as how to create flawless brows or how to get a holiday party look. The tips update daily.

“Our decision to develop on Alexa goes back to our roots as founders – which are within digital advertising and tech,” says CEO and co-founder Michael Malinsky.

“We are amazed by the way voice technology can add convenience and seamlessly improve daily tasks, routines and decisions. We have made a meaningful impact in the colour cosmetic space by introducing products that are innovative and technologically advanced, and feel that what we’ve learned about our products, and about using them, can and should be shared conveniently.”

Soon Alexa will also send videos that correspond to the tips so users can see them visually on their phones, computer screens, or even TV, the team added.

Users can also conveniently choose and buy Wunder2 products, which are top sellers on Amazon, just by continuing to chat with Alexa.

Categories
e-commerce Editor's pick technology

Estée Lauder launches personalised voice experience on Google Home

The Google Home device
The Google Home device

Estée Lauder has launched a beauty-focused app for Google Assistant on the Google Home device that focuses on personalisation.

The Estée Lauder Nighttime Expert, as the in-home experience is called, offers personalised skincare solutions through voice activation. To try it, users say: “Ok Google, can I talk to the Estée Lauder Nighttime Expert.”

The chat experience then offers them their own nighttime skincare routine and application techniques through a series of questions and answers.

“We are thrilled to collaborate with Google to be at the forefront of creating personalised consumer beauty experiences via the emerging world of voice activation,” said Stephane de La Faverie, global brand president of Estée Lauder. “Combining our beauty expertise with Google’s technology allows us to build on our digital evolution and offer the latest innovation to further enhance our consumer experience.”

Tricia Nichols, VP of global consumer engagement at the brand, further noted the experience as an expansion of Estée Lauder’s omnichannel efforts, taking them beyond stores and online into the home and into the moment. “Adding voice experiences will unlock the next level of personalisation and help us reach a new generation of consumers,” she said.

The experience at this point ends by encouraging users to try out Estée Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II serum for free at an Estée Lauder counter, thus driving consumers back to store.

The Nighttime Expert is the first voice app to launch from the brand and is expected in December. Further future experiences will then follow in early 2018. They will be available through the Google Assistant on mobile, in ad units on the Google Display Network and on Esteelauder.com. Supporting media will include YouTube, programmatic and search.

Categories
social media

L’Oréal celebrates National Lipstick Day with #ReadMyLips social campaign

L'Oréal Paris' #ReadMyLips social campaign
L’Oréal Paris’ #ReadMyLips social campaign

L’Oréal Paris celebrated National Lipstick Day and the launch of its new Colour Rich Matte Lipstick this past weekend with a social media campaign focused on being bold.

#ReadMyLips invited fans to show off both a bold lipstick hue and some bold words alongside, whether helping to advance an important message, championing a cause or sharing an inspirational quote. Multiple big name ambassadors took part including actress Andie MacDowell, who said: “In a world where we all expect to be some idealized idea of perfect we all need to see, being yourself is enough.”

The aim was to bring to life the brand’s Because You’re Worth It tagline and its longstanding belief that all people have something worthy to say.

“Conversations around National Lipstick Day have traditionally been focused on best-sellers and general lipstick facts,” says Anne Marie Nelson-Bogle, SVP of marketing at L’Oréal Paris USA. “As a brand that has supported the individual beauty and intrinsic worth of all people for over 40 years, we wanted to participate in and elevate the conversation by not only celebrating our newest Colour Riche lip launch but even more importantly, people’s powerful words.”