L’Oréal has partnered with Facebook to develop augmented reality experiences through Facebook Camera products. The effort will be driven by ModiFace, the beauty AR specialist that L’Oréal acquired in March.
Through direct, seamless connections between the two platforms, ModiFace and Facebook will let worldwide consumers “try on” cosmetics from L’Oréal brands including Maybelline, L’Oréal Paris, Lancôme, Giorgio Armani, Yves Saint Laurent, Urban Decay and Shu Uemura. The first experience will be launched by the NYX Professional brand at the end of August.
“Facebook and L’Oréal share the vision that AR is becoming key for product and brand discovery and purchase,” said Lubomira Rochet, chief digital officer at L’Oréal.“We’re at that magical moment when technologies have matured enough and consumer appetite is growing. One fascinating aspect of this partnership is that it keeps us innovating the beauty user experience. After having adapted our creatives and contents to a mobile-first world, it will be interesting to see how AR is going to change the creative playbook of our industry."
Will Platt-Higgins, vice president of global account partnerships at Facebook, said the pact offers consumers new and realistic ways to experience products. “Facebook’s AR platform can make that happen. By bringing AR into the mainstream, L’Oréal and Modiface are reshaping the beauty experience.”
Founded 11 years ago in Toronto, ModiFace has developed advanced technologies of 3D virtual makeup, color and skin diagnosis services using proprietary know-how that track facial features and color. Its tools have been used by nearly every major beauty company, including Sephora and Estée Lauder; it teamed with L'Oréal to create the successful "Style My Hair" app.
At the time of the acquisition, Modiface employed nearly 70 engineers, researchers and scientists who have submitted more than 200 scientific publications and registered over 30 patents. The unit is operating as part of L'Oréal's Digital Services Factory, a dedicated network for designing and developing cross-brand tools.
AR’s use in the consumer goods world has been steadily growing, allowing shoppers to test and experience merchandise in more realistic ways. Here are a few examples:
- Patron tequila takes consumers on a virtual tour of its distillery in Jalisco, Mexico.
- Last holiday season, Cadbury’s "Advent Heroes" event distributed special calendars that could be used in conjunction with an AR app (from Blippar) to deliver daily AR experiences.
- Ikea created a catalog app to help shoppers visualize how certain would fit and look in their homes.
- Converse created an AR-fueled "Sampler" app that let consumers choose a shoe from the product catalog, point a smartphone at their foot and see how it would look.
- Jewelry company De Beers launched an app that let shoppers try on items from the Forevermark collection through a webcam to see how pieces would look in certain lighting and against particular skin tones.