L’Oreal brings ModiFace to TIFF

The brand saw more traffic and engagement at the film festival as a result of the virtual make-up assistant.

This week, beauty brand L’Oreal Paris Canada used the 43rd Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) as a launch-pad to get consumers to experience an AR app created by recently acquired startup ModiFace.

L’Oreal has been the official beauty sponsor of TIFF for seven years, but this is the first time it used the virtual reality make-up assistant by Toronto-based ModiFace to engage with film-goers and fans.

The 3D app consists of iconic looks from film eras ranging between the 50s and the 90s. An “Iconic Beauty Bar” was set up on the festival street, allowing customers to try the different looks before selecting the one they like most. Once visitors choose their favourite application, the image is e-mailed to them with a video tutorial on how to recreate the same look  as well as a list of L’Oréal Paris products needed to achieve it.

“The acquisition of ModiFace happened around the time when we were planning for TIFF and we saw this as an amazing opportunity to engage with our customers,” says L’Oreal Canada communications manager Jessica Zagari. “We did the shoots for the content, that is, the looks from the different eras and integrated them into ModiFace quite quickly.”

She says the brand spent a lot of time troubleshooting the app for glitches to ensure there was a seamless integration of the looks on ModiFace.

“As a brand we are not just thinking about beauty but we are also thinking about technology and experiences for consumers,” says Zagari.

According to the brand, there was an increased amount of traffic and customer engagement due to the interactive experience they were able to deliver via the app. “We had a consumer-facing set-up last year where the line-ups were long, and the venue wasn’t easy for traffic,” says Zagari. And instead of virtually trying on several looks, they typically only had one chance to pick out a lipstick and have the on-site make-up artist apply it for them. “But this year, much more people had the chance to come through than before, [because of the] technology involved.”

The brand saw 7,800 consumer interactions at the Iconic Beauty Bar over the four days on-site.

L’Oreal experimenting with AR is not new. Since the launch of its “Makeup Genius” app, which was an early entry into the augmented reality world, it has been giving access to customers to try its products digitally. ModiFace provides research into using artificial intelligence in beauty by creating over 300 custom AR apps for beauty brands, including those owned by Unilever and Allergen. The acquisition of ModiFace signals L’Oreal’s strategic shift to widen its R&D and keep up with the changing times.

“Make-up is impulsive but also very experiential,” adds Zagari. “People want to play with it, try it and it is hard to shop for it online. Technology is helping us bridge that gap, to reach more consumers in their own spaces.”