L’Oréal Paris is bringing 64 red carpet beauty looks from the Cannes Film Festival to life, through the YouCam Makeup app. Although similar campaigns have taken place at events like the Golden Globes and the Grammys, this marks a first for Cannes.
After browsing through images of attending celebrities’ beauty close-ups, users will be able to upload photos of themselves or take videos within the app, onto which they can then project the makeup looks using augmented reality technology. Today and tomorrow, the app will also share a livestream directly from the event, hosted by beauty blogger and L’Oréal Paris brand ambassador Liza Lash, who will be showcasing the looks and leading beauty tutorials.
Naturally, the 200 featured products (ranging from eyeshadow to lipstick) will be by L’Oréal. If clicked, users will be taken outside of the app, to the brand’s e-commerce site, where they can make a purchase.
The YouCam Makeup homepage featuring the Cannes beauty partnership
“This partnership brings to life our strategy to democratize the magic of beauty and cinema for all,” said Chris Chesebro, the vice president of L’Oréal’s global digital team. “In addition, live broadcasting from the festival is a great opportunity to engage with a captive audience of beauty enthusiasts.”
YouCam, which has over 110 global brand beauty partners, certainly has a large audience to work with. To date, the Makeup app has been downloaded 255 million times. “L’Oreal Paris has been a sponsor of the Cannes Film Festival for 20 years now, and they wanted to do something very new,” said Sylvain Delteil, YouCam maker Perfect Corp.’s director of business development in France.
Indeed, many brands itching for newness have looked to AR and VR technologies to do the trick — though it’s not always clear if the payoff is as big as the initial, headline-making splash. The real-time element of this endeavor, however, may add to its appeal. “Our experience is that delivering fresh, in-the-moment content has some of the highest engagement,” said Adam Gam, Perfect Corp’s U.S. vice president of marketing.
Beauty blogger and L’Oréal ambassador Liza Lash on the red carpet at Cannes
Industry experts seem to agree, arguing that, in this case at least, it’s more than just hype.
“Given the success the beauty industry has had with video on social media, this initiative feels like a great way to spread the L’Oréal brand onto yet another platform — and via one of the most glam events of the year, no less,” said Helene Heath, a senior editor at the visual intelligence platform Dash Hudson.
“Marrying the much-loved ‘how-to’ spirit of beauty tutorials with social media’s [ability] to capitalize on a timely, glitzy event [is] a no-brainer for an industry leader like L’Oréal — [and it doesn’t hurt that] these looks will appear on some of the most revered women in the world,” she said.
“This tactic is very smart,” said Jason Goldberg, the senior vice president of content and commerce at the interactive agency SapientRazorfish. “The beauty segment has been heavily disrupted by the shift to influencer marketing, and [sharing these] 64 looks from Cannes is a clever way to create influencer-style digital content without the expense of securing an endorsement.”
What’s more, he said, this content could seem more authentic than, say, an overtly sponsored post on Instagram.
An Elle Fanning beauty look featured in YouCam’s Cannes section
The livestream, however, may prove more buzz-worthy than anything. “The pool of shoppers who will install the app and commit the time to watch the event live is just too small,” said Goldberg. “The real value will be in the content that can influence shoppers and drive sales for the weeks and months to come.”
And that seems to be the goal. The Cannes feature will remain on the app indefinitely.