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Coty launches hair color app for Google Assistant

Coty’s Clairol brand has launched a new app for the Google Assistant platform that talks consumers through the entire at-home hair dyeing process – from finding the right shade to aftercare.

The ‘Clairol Color Expert’ is triggered when the user says “Hey Google, talk to Clairol”. From then on the app (or Action, as it is called on the Google Assistant platform), talks users through finding the ride dye shade to suit their needs, how to apply the color, re-apply, and take care of their hair at home, with no professional help.

“In beauty, service is the new product, and for consumers, the real value of a product is not just what’s in the box, but the expertise and service that comes with it,” says Fred Gerantabee, Coty’s VP of digital innovation. “We worked with Google, who helped us identify insights around known category challenges combined with how (and where) beauty consumers are using voice assistants. By delivering Clairol expertise through the unique Google Assistant ecosystem we are able to transform the at home hair color experience and truly help Clairol consumers feel confident that they will get better results with a lifeline and expert at every step of their journey.”

For the beauty group, the Google Assistant, which is currently available on 500 million devices from Google Home speakers to smart TVs, is the ideal platform for its target audience of women aged 18 to 34, who buy at home color. Being able to access it through a myriad of different devices completely hands-free is an important tool to help women overcome the challenges of coloring their own hair, says the brand, which is often the reason why they choose to go to professional salons instead.

Although it is still lagging behind the Amazon Alexa ecosystem in terms of consumer adoption, the Google Assistant has been gaining traction with more and more brands and retailers creating Actions for the platform, such as Nike and Sephora.

Meanwhile earlier this year, Coty also announced the introduction of a beauty skill for the Amazon Alexa Echo platform, which features a screen, allowing users to get beauty tutorials from brands across its portfolio.  

Seemingly the initiative wasn’t just a marketing exercise but an opportunity for both customer acquisition and conversion. According to the brand, 95% of users interacting with the experience were pleased with the result, with 80% of them new customers to Coty’s brands. The skill also resulted in 7.5x higher click through rate than an average Amazon media campaign. 

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Clarins leverages make-up tutorial trend in interactive paid digital campaign


Beauty vloggers (video bloggers) have been using YouTube to publish tutorials about how to apply make-up for many years now, but the trend seems to have hit the mainstream recently in a big way.

Michelle Phan has accumulated over 6.8 million subscribers on her YouTube channel since its launch in 2007. Earlier this year she was one of a number chosen to star in a campaign for the platform promoting its ‘creators’. It’s not just passionate fans watching her ‘how-to’ videos; in a study released last October, Google found over half (55%) of beauty shoppers watch online videos while researching beauty purchases. Moreover, 50% of Millennials, specifically, watch beauty videos on YouTube.

Needless to say, brands have been working out how to get involved. Originally, they tried to gain exposure through these vloggers by sending them free merchandise to test, resulting in ‘hauls’ featuring multiple products reviewed in one video. This is not unique to the beauty industry; it’s also common practice for fashion and health vloggers.

Beyond gifting product, beauty brands have since found multiple other and more creative ways of leveraging this trend. Last August, L’Oréal launched a make-up line designed by Phan (view the video about her product here). Last month, Too Faced cosmetics announced Dulce Candy Tejeda, another highly popular vlogger, as brand ambassador for its Better Than Sex Mascara. The recent Daisy Dream campaign from Marc Jacobs also saw numerous vloggers enlisted to share their dreams with followers also via YouTube.

Now Clarins UK is approaching the tutorial trend by creating three of its own how-to videos. Named “You, only better. Instantly”, the clips are part of a paid advertising campaign that’s featured on key digital media like Anchored by an interactive pop-up on such sites (as screengrabbed below), the videos offer the viewer the ability to “uplift your look” in either five, 10 or 15-minute increments.

A slider tool showcases the three different make-up looks first and foremost, with the videos explaining how to achieve them, and the products needed to do so, featured alongside. Digital advertising may often be regarded as intrusive, at its best only capturing attention for a limited period of time, but this campaign, not only for its visual impact but its interactive element, creates more of an engaging feel than regularly seen.

On the Clarins UK microsite, the 90-second videos are placed top, with a different slider underneath providing users with a before and after look at the model. The YouTube videos are also annotated with links to buy the product being used. The experience works on both desktops and mobile, making it ideal for on-the-go viewing, and for that digitally-native consumer Clarins is evidently targeting.