- BET partnered with WP Narrative_ to create a campaign merging augmented reality (AR) with out-of-home (OOH) to promote the season two premiere of the network's TV show "The Quad," according to Adweek. The effort included a pop-up salon in New York City on Jan. 22 and will continue this week at select salon locations in Chicago and Atlanta.
- The salons feature a modified hair dryer, branded with BET and "The Quad" logos, and a visor that holds an iPhone X for users to view while they sit in the drying chair. Users can choose from three experiences related to the show, including viewing the full season two premiere, a recap of the first season or an overview of the second season. Each experience is crafted to match the amount of time someone might need to spend under a hair dryer for their desired style. The iPhone's camera also offers a real-time view of the rest of salon, as to not blind the user.
- About 20 people went through the full experience, having their hair washed, dried and styled using the special dryer on the first day of the pop-up in New York, per Adweek. Another 150 used the dryers for the AR experience.
BET's AR hair dryer presents a creative use of the mobile technology and demonstrates how categories beyond gaming can apply it to enhance the customer experience at brick-and-mortar locations. Choosing a salon as an activation point is fairly novel — AR is usually applied to demoing furniture or other retail products — and gives BET a direct route to connecting with "The Quad's" target audience of predominantly black women, Adweek said.
Carefully picking relevant locations for OOH activations and also blending in more digital elements is a strategy brands are taking note of as the demand for experiential marketing grows. The AR hair dryer offers a memorable and shareable experience for salon-goers and could drive interest to "The Quad" from both existing fans and newcomers. It could also bolster more traffic and appointments to the salons teasing the season two premiere. Fashion brand Kate Spade New York similarly launched an AR app for its first brick-and-mortar store in Paris last year, taking users around the city on a sight-seeing tour that ended at the retail location.
Many beauty brands have tapped into AR technology in recent months: L'Oreal Professionnel recently added AR to its "Style My Hair" app for hairdressers to show customers what to expect from new color treatments. Estée Lauder also has an AR-powered tool to train its 17,000 beauty advisers, while the Sephora Virtual Artist app lets consumers virtually try on different looks.