The Pokémon Go hype may have died down since the debut of the AR game in 2016, but its concept continues to be borrowed by brands to drive consumers to their retail stores.
Using the Alibaba Cloud image search service, cosmetics brand Lancôme launched an AR game last week that let participants capture images of its Genifique product and the 'flying pigs', in conjunction with the coming Year of the Pig, in order to redeem free gifts at the brand’s pop-up store at Harbour City, Hong Kong. Participants first had to upload images of Lancôme products on a Chinese New Year-themed Lancôme microsite before they could play the game.
Rick Ying, associate director, connection planning, Mindshare, which is handling the digital planning and media buying, said the campaign was the brand’s first collaboration with Alibaba Cloud. YSL, also a brand owned by L’oréal, had worked with Tencent Cloud to launch a similar campaign at the same location last year.
“We have seen an increasing number of beauty brands such as Lancôme striving to be ‘beauty tech’ by utilising AI and AR in their digital campaigns on top of the usual social media channels used,” said Ying. The Lancôme campaign was however complemented by digital banner ads on Alipay and geolocation push notifications for China Mobile users.
The approach was necessary given that mainland tourists were the target audience of the campaign. It was also no coincidence that the AR game ended in Harbour City as the shopping mall typically draws in a high number of mainland visitors to Hong Kong.
Lancôme suffered a backlash from Hong Kong consumers in 2016 after the brand withdrew its invitation to pro-democracy singer Denise Ho to perform at its concert. A YouGov study carried out to track consumer sentiments after the controversy, however, found that the issue did not affect mainland consumers.