Tech in Action: Dior moves away from the AR sales pitch

A new filter is promoting the brand's holiday collection, but is more focused on expression than product trial.

Makeup and cosmetics brands were among the first to utilize AR, usually as a way for customers to trial products. But a new AR filter from Dior is less about trying a purchase before you buy and more about exploring new modes of creative expression.

The new AR lens, available through Instagram and created using Facebook’s Spark AR studio tools, makes rhinestones matching the company’s new holiday collection appear outside the eyes and along the contours of a user’s face, before glittering and floating upward.

The campaign launched on Dec. 13, and is being promoted through a targeted campaign with influencers in the beauty and makeup space. It was created by Paris-based agency MNSTR, along with Dior’s own creative and image director Peter Philips.

While the colours are meant to complement Dior’s makeup, it does not trigger the filter, and will work whether a user has it on or not. Unlike other AR activations in the cosmetics space, there is also not a direct link to a product page or ecommerce experience. However, Guillaume Carrère, director of strategic planning at MNSTR, says this is less of a sales play and more of a creative one, connecting Dior’s brand to new ways of expressing one’s self in a digital environment.

Lionel Curt, CEO of MNSTR, adds that there is an opportunity in “cryptographic objects” that are only available in digital formats – though typically associated with video games, there is also an opportunity when it comes to the beauty space. Online platforms, after all, are one of the most popular areas for people to express themselves with makeup, and digitized objects could remove some of the time and effort needed to apply certain elements in real life.