Picture this. You’re at a Gourmerican burger joint chomping a cheeseburger, when an outspoken vegan friend starts preaching that you’re killing the planet. Last week, that same vegan downed a pricey glass of pinot before their flight to a far-flung destination, armed with their strongest mossie repellant and first aid kit. Anything amiss?
Japanese retailer, UNIQLO, has rolled out its first-ever neuroscience fashion campaign that matches clothing selection to consumer’s moods.
The wearable technology, UMood, is placed on the forehead of customers, who are then shown a series of still images and videos. Their neurological reactions provide a brainwave reading, allowing UNIQLO to score this against an algorithm that will then suggest a t-shirt from the retailer’s range to match the consumer’s state of mind. These include feeling ‘adventurous’, ‘calm’ or ‘stressed.’
Consumer neuroscientist at Nuro and Honorary Fellow from the University of Melbourne, Dr Phil Harris, said the campaign reflects a growing trend for brands to turn to neuroscience technology to give them an edge with consumers.
“We’ve seen neuroscience infiltrate the way our advertisements are put together and which advertisements make it onto TV, so it was really only a matter of time before leading brands, like UNIQLO, built this into their in-store experience,” he said. “This is just the tip of the iceberg, and showcases how neuroscience is influencing how major brands now operate and market themselves.”
Harris agreed this new technology is set to revolutionise the fashion and retail industry moving forward, especially with regard to tailoring consumer choice.
“We’ve found when consumers have a lot of choice, they have a lot of trouble making decisions,” he said. “I see a tool that helps narrow the range of options for someone that supports that choice, and there are so many industries that can benefit from that, so it has lots of potential.”
UNIQLO’s marketing director, Tracey Lang, forecast the campaign will appeal to most demographics. However, the campaign does not involve capturing consumer data while using the headset and is purely a strategy to drive engagement at this stage.
“We’ve designed this to be a fun and engaging experience for the consumer,” she said. “It’s not about consumer research by any means, but we do have some great ideas to think about in the future.”
While UNIQLO is well-known for its innovative fabric and garment technology globally, the UMood launch comes as part of the retailer’s ongoing commitment to enhance product experience for customers, Lang said.
“Clothing is one of our greatest forms of expression, and every day we express our mood through what we wear,” she said. “We’re excited to be the first retail brand in Australia to experiment with this kind of technology and enable a new shopping experience for our customers.”
The UNIQLO UMood campaign has first rolled out at Pitt Street Mall in Sydney, before going on a road to the store’s metropolitan branches.
“After that, we’re not sure what we’re going to do with it,” Lang said. “It depends on how much engagement and how much fun consumers are having with it.”