Coca Cola & their use of augmented reality in marketing

Coca-Cola is a long-term partner of the FIFA World Cup . The marketing mavens at The Coca Cola Company have created a number of memorable FIFA related marketing campaigns, appearing at stadium events since 1950. In 2018, in keeping with their strategy to appeal to a younger demographic, The Coca Cola Company decided to leverage augmented reality in their 2018 FIFA marketing campaign.

The brand celebrated the start of the 2018 World Cup with a football-themed augmented reality experience outside of Zurich’s main train station in Switzerland.

A unique augmented reality experience was created for Zurich Central Station. It gave passers-by the chance to demonstrate their football skills, using augmented reality to make participants feel like they were playing alongside Xherdan Shaqiri. Shaqiri’s footage was taken in front of a green screen and adapted to allow participants to play alongside him.

Participants watched a show of skill from Shaqiri before he ‘gestured’ to the participant to play a few shots against him. At the end of the experience, the user was prompted to take a picture. The Coca Cola Company then collected their details so participants could receive a copy of the photo and a chance to win a FIFA World Cup official match ball.

By creating a fully-immersive experience in a location with a lot of foot traffic and involving a high-profile and timely event, Coca-Cola ensured passers-by would want to participate, paving the way for social media amplification.

While the campaign itself was not large scale, the experience was set up outside Zurich’s main train station and was only on for 2 days, the campaign was so popular they had more than 1000 passers by stop and engage.

Why is this relevant now?

We have been writing about the current consumer mindset and what to expect in the next few months given the economic uncertainty. Experiential and augmented reality marketing campaigns like this have the potential to generate sales on a much larger scale today. As consumers are having to make choices between major spend buckets, including living expenses, entertainment and travel, an experiential marketing campaign is far more likely to engage your consumer and increase sales as compared to more traditional advertising.

L’Oreal & Modiface: no more messy in-store trials

On 16 March 2018, L’Oreal announced their acquisition of ModiFace, an Augmented Reality (AR) company known as the leading provider of AR technology for the beauty sector. L’Oreal had been working with ModiFace on a project basis for 7 years before this announcement was made.

Early months

A year into the acquisition, by early 2019, they had developed several hundreds of solutions, nearly one project a day, according to an interview by The Drum, of Lubomira Rochet, the Global Chief Digital Officer. According to Lubomira, they had launched 120 of those projects by the end of the first 12 months as they had observed that engagement times double and conversion rates triple with the AR feature on their website/app.

Amongst these solutions were a diagnostic tool capable of predicting and addressing visual signs of ageing to make product recommendations and a virtual shade selector tool to make hair colour recommendations. They were also testing the technology for consumers to virtually try out cosmetics from the comfort of their homes in early 2019.

Just in time for the chaos 2020 brought the beauty sector.

Lockdowns & L’Oreal

L’Oreal went into partnership with Google. Consumers seeking lipstick or eyeshadow brands by L’Oreal could use the ModiFace solution to try on any shade virtually before they bought the shade they wanted.

Through a similar partnership with Facebook, they saw a five fold increase in usage of their virtual make-up tools and the conversion rate from ad to sales was three times higher with the virtual try on tool. It was particularly effective for hair colour, due to salon closures during the pandemic.

202o results

When the results for financial year ended 31 December 2020 were announced, Jean Paul Agon, L’Oreal’s then CEO, said, ‘….sales achieved in e-commerce rose sharply by +62%, across all Divisions and all regions, reaching the record level of 26.6% of the total Group’s sales for the year.

Despite declines in sales of Professional, Luxe and Consumer product ranges, sales of their Active range grew by 13% that year. Also, there was a remarkable difference in sales across regions. Asia Pacific, which has always been a technology friendly region with high adoption rates for new tech, saw an increase in sales of 1.5%, despite the pandemic.

Beyond 2020

In 2021, L’Oreal recorded a sales increase vs 2020 of 16%, with e-commerce claiming nearly 30% of sales. By this time, L’Oreal revenues had recovered to nearly the same revenues as 2019… due to their almost prescient investment in technology.