Virtual Reality

P&G: BeautySPHERE Is Just the Beginning

Lisa Johnston
a person smiling for the camera

Although CES 2022 has ended, Procter & Gamble’s metaverse experiment will continue to expand.  

BeautySPHERE, a virtual experience enabling consumers to interact with brands via simulated and gamified content, is just the beginning of P&G Beauty’s presence in the metaverse, Alexis Schrimpf, VP of design, global skin and personal care, P&G Beauty, tells CGT.  

In addition to keeping the content open, the company will launch new educational and brand-building experiences over time. It will also bring new brands into the fold and continue to shape the experience to be more relevant and meaningful.

[See also: Coca-Cola & Campbell's Join Brands Experimenting With NFTs and the Metaverse]

Introduced last week during the annual consumer tech trade show and available through a desktop browser, users can explore content in BeautySPHERE that showcases the company’s principles and commitment to inspiring and advancing positive change around the world, including sustainability, product design safety, and inclusive beauty.  

And while this as the first virtual experience created by the P&G Beauty business unit, it’s hardly P&G’s first foray into immersive digital experiences. Its Venus grooming brand developed avatar designs for the Animal Crossing video game in 2020, while the SK-II skincare brand, which is also featured prominently in this new experience, married social commerce and gamification at a pop-up retail store in China last year.  

“Regardless of the execution or which brand is engaging in the metaverse, P&G brands are always guided by their consumers, who tells us what type of digital experiences and content are most meaningful for them,” says Schrimpf. “This in turn informs different executions for different brands. In beauty specifically, consumers are interested in digital worlds as a source for knowledge, transparency and ways to learn that are engaging and experiential. This inspired the creation of BeautySPHERE.”

In addition to leveraging BeautySPHERE as a way to connect with consumers — Schrimpf says their consumers are interested in brand and product stories and values shared in easy-to-understand, experiential ways — it will also serve as a testing ground for the company.  

“BeautySPHERE is a space for experimentation and learning for us, too,” she notes. “We’re excited to learn from consumers as they explore BeautySPHERE, especially to hear from them on what they’d like to see next through immersive digital worlds. We’ll use these learnings to inform how BeautySPHERE expands and grows over time.”

As part of BeautySPHERE, users can explore an interactive maze to learn how P&G partners with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew organization to verify the botanicals used in Herbal Essences Bio:renew products. Pantene ambassador Katie Piper, an author and philanthropist who raises awareness of survivors of acid attacks, educates visitors about the plants in the setting, and users can “authenticate” their own botanical ingredients.

Every participant who completes the virtual Herbal Essences journey results in the planting of a tree in Veracruz, Mexico, according to P&G, to support the region’s restoration of native forest ecosystems.

P&G Innovation Challenge

The No. 2 consumer goods company shifted to a virtual-only presence at this year’s consumer technology trade show, hosting the P&G LifeLab digital experience for both CES attendees and non-registrants to learn about its products and initiatives; livestreaming panels in BeautySPHERE; and holding its Innovation Challenge, the annual contest held by startup studio P&G Ventures, completely virtually.  

This year’s winner of the Innovation Challenge was Lady Patch, a drug-free feminine patch that’s designed to prevent bladder leaks and the frequent urge to urinate. Founded by Cindy Santa Cruz and headquartered in El Segundo, CA, the company seeks to help the one in every three women in the world who suffer from incontinence.

[See also: P&G Co-develops Skincare Brand With Retailer for First Time]

Lady Patch receives the $10,000 grand prize and an opportunity to partner with P&G Ventures to continue developing their product.  Three finalists — Cybele Microbiome, Kushae Naturals, and Ryp Labs — were also awarded $5,000 in recognition of their products, which is a first for the Challenge, now in its fourth year.

This year’s Innovation Challenge was staged virtually within the P&G Ventures LifeLab digital experience at the show. All four companies pitched their ideas to a panel of judges that included Victor Aguilar, P&G chief R&D and innovation officer, Guy Persaud, P&G president of new business; Saeed Amidi, Plug and Play Tech Center founder and CEO; Sarah Anderson, Vault Fund founding partner; and Lee Henderson, Americas EY private leader and executive sponsor, EY Entrepreneurs Access Network.

“We thought this product offered an innovative solution to a problem that affects so many,” noted Persaud in a statement, “and we're very excited about the potential positive impact the product could have on the lives of women around the world.”

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