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Zealios Skin Care showcases ambient light advertising opportunities on mobile

Zealios Skin Care is offering a 50 percent discount on select sunscreen products to those who use their mobile device’s ambient light sensor to download the coupon.

The Web app, which does not need to be downloaded, uses an ambient light sensor found on the Android operating system to activate the offer when it senses a certain level of light. Running off a responsive design platform, the initiative shows how RWD is about more than just designing for different screen sizes.

“I think this development brings a new level of brand/customer interaction,” said Kevin fuller, Zealios co-founder.

“Being a sunscreen company, we rely on an interesting mix of product technology and how that interacts with our customers and being outside. The brilliant thing about this sun activated coupon is that it has the same mix of technology and the outdoor environment.

“Sometimes people need a nudge to get up from their desks and take a quick walk. This is a playful way to get them outside, educate them on the importance of sun safety, and reward them for doing so,” he said.

Catching rays
While responsive Web sign is mostly associated with write-once, deploy-anywhere Web site strategies, it is  also designing events that adapt for different devices based on an entire environment. It means ensuring that a click event translates well to a touch event and that information on a page is accessible by a screen reader. The design and implementation must be flexible enough to work in any unpredictable environment. To an end user, RWD should create a consistent interactive experience.

Ambient light sensors detect the presence and intensity of visible light. If used in the context of Open Web Apps, ambient light sensing optimizes visibility to improve readability or create special effects dependant on light conditions.

When the sensor is exposed to light above a certain level, the coupon is activated for a 3-oz. tube of Zealios Sun Barrier. Users without an Android device are still eligible to claim 20 percent off the same product. Also included in the Web app are health facts that raise awareness about suitable sun safety.

How it works

Although the ambient light sensor has existed for several years, it has typically been hard wired into the host device and not exposed to any level of developer programming. Therefore the Web app is currently only compatible with Android and Firefox smartphones and Mac desktops via the Firefox browser.

Part of the purpose of the campaign was to raise awareness of the capability of the ambient light feature. Zealios and its media arts partner TBWA\Toronto are hoping that technology on other phones will soon catch up so that a wider customer base can take advantage of this latent technology.

Boosting sales
Though its ad is fairly small scale, Zealios is not the only brand going high-tech in the sun.

Heritage brand Kiehl’s made the connection between outer space and its male-targeted product line by launching its Oil Eliminator into the stratosphere on a homemade mini-rocket. A two-and-a-half-minute video of the stunt, dubbed Put Space on Your Face (In Five Easy Steps), anchored a campaign that fanned out over Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Engaging a male audience

Nivea has also showcased several sun-related campaigns recently; one centered on a weather-themed Sun Alarm app that will wake consumers up only if it is a great beach day. Another is a print ad that doubles as a solar cellphone charger; a third is another print ad with a detachable bracelet that helps parents keep track of their kids at the beach.

With health-and-beauty brands seeking to reach a target audience of regular skincare and suntan lotion buyers, the Interactive Advertising Bureau released recent research that shows this coveted group is much more inclined to engage in online and mobile activities.

Skincare enthusiasts are heavier mobile app users than the typical population, with 76 percent purchasing apps versus 57 percent of the general population, and entertainment apps being the most popular (72 percent among frequent skincare buyers vs. 56 percent for average adults). One in four researches beauty products on a mobile connected device, while merely 8 percent do so within the general population.

Similarly, one in five have purchased beauty products on their mobile device, in sharp contrast to only 6 percent among average adults. Frequent Skincare Buyers’ purchase decisions are ‘greatly influenced’ by digital (50 percent vs. 27 percent) and mobile (32 percent vs. 11 percent) coupons and many use daily deal sites (71 percent vs. 52 percent).

“What makes this delivery method so great is that it taps into technology that is already there but uses it in a way that hasn’t been done before,” Mr. Fuller said.

Final Take
Michelle is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York