TECHNOLOGY

Beauty retailer takes real plunge into AR-enabled YouTube ads

BY Dan Berthiaume

MAC Cosmetics has officially launched an ad campaign based on the Google AR Beauty Try-On platform.

The company, which sells its cosmetics products through proprietary stores, an e-commerce site and retail partners, is enabling customers to virtually try on and shop new lipsticks from an augmented reality (AR)-enabled video featuring founder Roxette Arisa.

To interact with the video, customers need to view it through the latest version of the YouTube app on a mobile device. After tapping the “try on” button, the app launches the device camera. Leveraging augmented reality (AR) and machine learning technology, AR Beauty Try-On enables viewers to virtually try on makeup while following along with YouTube creators to get content such as tips and product reviews. The feature’s virtual product samples work on a full range of skin tones, and advertisers can measure results in real-time.

AR Beauty Try-On is available through FameBit by YouTube, Google’s in-house branded content platform. Following a pilot initially launched in June 2019, MAC Cosmetics is now putting its AR campaign into wide release.

“We’re so excited to see MAC’s artistry and innovation come to life in this uniquely digital way,” said Constantin Sklavenitis, senior VP/GM MAC Cosmetics North America. “Being able to bring our newest lip shades to consumers through FameBit’s AR Beauty Try-On is a pioneering step, fusing the experience of content viewing and shopping,”

Increasingly, retailers of beauty products are utilizing AR and virtual reality (VR) to provide customers a realistic digital view of how cosmetics products would look on them. Amazon is leveraging artificial intelligence (AI)-based AR technology from ModiFace to enable its first virtual cosmetic try-on experience. Amazon customers can use the front-facing camera on their mobile phone to digitally try on different shades of lipstick in a live video of themselves, or on a selfie. Meanwhile, Ulta Beauty offers GlamLab, an AR-based mobile app feature that enables customers to see how different beauty products would look on them. The retailer is also piloting an AR-based try-on service in its stores.

Meanwhile, Macy’s is also using Modiface technology to enable users of its consumer app, as well as in-store kiosks to virtually test single beauty products or entire looks, which they can also share on social media.

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