L'Oréal Group's Lancôme worked with Alibaba’s cloud computing unit to unveil a Chinese New Year campaign that includes an augmented reality game, as well as a pop-up store in Harbour City, Hong Kong in celebration of the Year of the Pig, according to an Alibaba Cloud press release.
The AR game is played by smartphone, and allows users to hunt for and capture AR images of Lancôme's signature beauty product Genifiques, and in the process send their new year wishes for a chance to win prizes, the release stated.
The announcement came the same week that Alibaba reported strong earnings highlighted by 84% year-over-year revenue growth in its cloud computing business.
Lancôme bought into augmented reality at a time when many in the sector — specifically in the home decor and beauty segments — were just starting to explore what could be done with the technology in the form of mobile apps.
Specifically, during the fall of 2017, many brands launched mobile AR app features that either allowed users to see furniture in different virtual room settings, or allowed them to virtually try-on outfits or makeup. Lancôme itself launched a makeup try-on feature that leveraged AR. Even then it was trying to push the limits of what it could do by using the tech both as a simulation tool and as a channel through which brand experts could live stream to help customers.
Now, almost a year and a half later, many of the earliest brands to launch such apps have not done much to expand their use of AR. The new game from Lancôme shows that the company is still thinking about ways AR can engage customers.
Meanwhile, Alibaba Cloud, like Amazon Web Services, continues to be a fast-growing star for the company. Its cloud computing platform features the Alibaba Operating System, which serves as a foundation for the digital transformations of companies in a variety of industries. Unlike Amazon Web Services, however, it appears to be engaging more brands with the value of its capabilities, rather than losing them to competition fears.