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Coty partners with Playboy for mobile image recognition campaign

Coty Inc. is running an ad campaign in Playboy magazine?s January issue featuring mobile image recognition to promote its Fragrance for Men by Coty Beauty.

Playboy tapped Mobius to let Coty and other advertisers use image recognition technology for mobile devices to enhance their print campaigns and make them actionable and measurable. Mobile image recognition is an alternative to 2D bar codes that seems to be a growing trend.

?The ad creates a multimedia experience that is a natural user experience for young men who do not sit in front of computers while reading magazines, but certainly have a mobile device in their pocket when they do so,? said John Lumpkin, senior vice president of integrated sales at Playboy Enterprises Inc., New York.

?Playboy and the beauty industry have long resisted the bar code tags that sully ad creative and editorial layouts in search for an elegant solution that will stand the test of time,? he said. 

?Playboy selected the January issue for this first test, as it is an annual best seller on the newsstand that showcases the Playmate Review and gives users get the chance to vote on the new Playmate of the Year.?

Coty specializes in global beauty products, with annual net sales of nearly $4 billion.

Playboy Enterprises Inc. is a media and lifestyle company that markets the brand through a wide range of media properties and licensing initiatives.

CompEx Inc., the parent company of Mobius, provides integrated Web services.

Delighting mobile men
Mobile users who take a photo of any of the twelve 2010 Playboy Playmates featured in the Coty ad and send it via email to will receive access to exclusive premium images and videos.

In addition, users will be able to make secure mobile purchases of Coty?s line of Playboy Fragrance for Men using their handsets.

Mobius claims that its mobile image recognition technology has several features which make it well suited for the Playboy Fragrance for Men by Coty ad campaign.

The mobile image recognition technology lets users capture and retain an actual image of their favorite Playmates, as opposed to capturing a bar code or abstracted graphic as required by other mobile image recognition service providers.

Because of this, Mobius claims that it does not interfere or restrict creative services for ad design, as the consumers interacts with a shareable branded image, rather than an abstract bar code.

The mobile promotion is an opportunity for Coty to directly target its core audience of young, trendy men and make an impression on tech-savvy consumers.

?The target demographic is tech-savvy men ages 18-34 who are fans of the Playboy brand and knowledgeable of its key franchises,? Mr. Lumpkin said. ?Playboy has an app that gives fans of the magazine a preview of the latest issue, along with exclusive content such as free Rabbit Head and Playmate wallpapers, and a Playmate video clip.

?Additionally, Playboy does have a dedicated WAP site,? he said. ?However the goal of the program was not to drive traffic to WAP sites, but rather reward the reader by creating something that truly comes to life with sight, sound and motion.?

The Playboy Fragrance for Men portfolio, carried at roughly 15,000 stores in the U.S., features five different varieties?New York Playboy, Hollywood Playboy, Malibu Playboy, Miami Playboy and Vegas Playboy.

The Mobius self-learning mobile image recognition system determines the capabilities of the mobile device that has sent the image and returns content that is best suited for that particular device.

For example, a smartphone user receives access to high-quality optimized video and still images, whereas a regular mobile phone receives video and images at file sizes and resolutions that are in line with its capabilities.

Ads drive mobile commerce
Mobius also provides a mobile commerce platform in support of the ad campaign, which lets users buy any of Coty?s line of Playboy Fragrance for Men using their mobile phones.

Users who register with Mobius will also have the ability to make future purchases using Mobius? ?quick purchase? feature, which requests a unique image from the user to initiate and confirm a secure online transaction without the need to send credit card information over the air.

The Mobius commerce platform also has a reverse lookup feature, which lets users populate a registration form by entering their phone number.

Mobius claims that its image recognition service is free to registered members, works internationally and across all mobile devices and service providers worldwide.

Users pay only the charges associated with their mobile phone service contract.

The call-to-action is a text message asking the viewer to press play in order to view a short Coty video advertisement.

After the ad is viewed, a link is provided to a mobile-optimized site, where the fragrance can be purchased.

By choosing to make a purchase, the Mobius mobiPay mobile commerce site is designed to reduce the number of keystrokes required to fill out bill to and ship to information, which can be cumbersome and time-consuming on mobile phones.

For those who still have land lines, mobiPay performs a reverse lookup of their home address and automatically populates the ship-to address, only asking that the shopper validate the information for correctness.

The commerce site also includes several mobile commerce safety features, which require the buyer to validate their mobile number at the time of purchase.  

Mobius is also developing a full mobile ommerce platform that will let users buy goods from mobile phones visually.

?Mobius provides a revolutionary unobstructed image recognition technology for brands and agencies without taking focus away from the brand,? said Aram Kovach, president and CEO of Mobius International Inc., Columbus, OH.

?In the case of Playboy and Coty, Mobius eliminates the need for a bar code or QR code, which can take attention away from the Playmates and fragrance details featured in the ad,? he said. ?Unlike a bar code or QR code, Mobius focuses the reader's attention on the Playmate which additionally results in the image being saved on their phone after they interact with the ad.

?The key difference between Mobius and other technologies is that every phone globally works without the need for an app download.?

Final Take
Mr. Kovach