Doing your makeup on the subway is a time-honored, daily ritual for many women, and L'Oréal Paris will soon make the process a little bit easier for New York City commuters.
From Monday through the end of December, those passing through the 42nd Street/Bryant Park subway station will come across L'Oréal's "Intelligent Color Experience," an interactive vending machine system featuring a full-length mirror and a high-tech vending machine full of beauty products.
Step in front of the mirror, and digital animations featuring potential makeup combinations will pop up next to your image and offer products -- which you can buy on the spot -- that either "Match" or "Clash" with whatever you're wearing. The machines feature various eye, lip, and nail products from L'Oréal's Colour Riche collection as well as the brand's newly launched Voluminous Butterfly mascara.
While we've seen beauty product vending systems popping up with greater frequency in airports thanks to tightened TSA regulations--Benefit, 3FLOZ, and Sephora all offer this service in various airports around the country--this marks the first time, to our knowledge, that a beauty brand is making a foray into the depths of a U.S. subway.
This morning Coco Rocha, a model well known for her love of technology, was present at the Bryant Park subway station for the ribbon-cutting ceremony and to introduce a group of beauty editors to the concept. (Sadly, newly-minted L'Oréal spokesperson Blake Lively was a no-show.) The Bryant Park stop was chosen because of its proximity to Fifth Avenue and tourist traffic as well as its history as a host for New York Fashion Week, according to representatives for the company. Should the machine prove popular, the MTA and L'Oréal may extend the initiative to 2014, possibly to other subway stops. (Sorry, old-fashioned newsstands.)
"The MTA is very pleased to see a brand like L'Oréal Paris out in front of emerging virtual shopping trends that promise to blur the lines between traditional outdoor advertising, traditional brick and mortar retail and e-tailing," Jeffrey Rosen, the MTA Director of Real Estate, said in a statement. "The MTA and our advertising contractor, CBS Outdoor, will be watching this program closely to see if it can be replicated and scaled up within the MTA network. As the advertising industry continues to test and demonstrate new ways to reach consumers in high traffic environments, we're happy to facilitate such experimentation within our system."
Other countries have experimented with beauty product vending machine technology, so it's not surprising that it's gaining more interest stateside, especially as consumers (seemingly) feel more and more rushed. Harvey Nicols-branded BeautyMart machines launched earlier this year in the UK, and Seoul train stations have hosted virtual Tesco grocery stores.
We've been caught without mascara on more than one occasion after rushing to catch a train, so we'll be watching this concept develop with interest.