Shiseido's Rouge Rouge Kiss Me lets two people create a virtual kiss GIF and image.

Shiseido today launched its most kitschy — and ambitious — digital marketing play to date.

Shiseido’s new digital experience, Rouge Rouge Kiss Me, which corresponds with the global launch of its 16-color Rouge Rouge lipstick collection coming out Friday, stemmed from the desire to humanize technology and create an interactive moment between two people — in real-time.

Ruba Abu-Nimah, global creative director of Shiseido, explained to WWD that the campaign encourages two people — who might be anywhere from different rooms to on different continents — to kiss their smartphone screens simultaneously to create a virtual kiss. Created in partnership with Tokyo-based creative firm TeamLab, the first person who wants to kiss someone visits and enters their name so a personalized link is generated for them to send to whomever they wish to kiss. From here, the receiver gets the link via text or e-mail, clicks it and once both people arrive at the site, they pick the shade of Rouge Rouge they want their kiss to appear in and a countdown will begin. Once both people “kiss” each other, the two lipstick marks are captured on-screen together and creators can design and personalize a “Kiss Monster” GIF to share over a text, e-mail or the social media platform of their choice.

“To share the moment is the point, and social media is getting faster and faster so we thought it should be in real-time,” she explained.

If Rouge Rouge Kiss Me sounds similar to Burberry Kisses — the technology created by Burberry and Google three years ago that lets people send virtual kisses — it is. Burberry Kisses allowed a person to send a digital kiss, but Abu-Nimah wants two people to kiss their smartphones at the exact same time and turn their unique kiss prints into fun, animated art (when asked, Abu-Nimah said he was unfamiliar with Burberry Kisses, while Daisuke Sakai, cofounder of TeamLab, said he had heard of it, but never tried it out).

Kiss Me takes Burberry’s notion of a “virtual kiss” a step further, which is unusual for a brand not known for its digital prowess. But Abu-Nimah, who joined Shiseido in the top creative spot almost a year ago, wants to change that. Rouge Rouge is the first big initiative, especially from a digital perspective, that the brand has executed under her tenure.

“We were approached by our marketing team when we were planning this launch for the lipsticks and they asked us for the usual fare. They wanted a microsite that they can patch onto existing sites that would give info about lipstick and the science and tech behind it,” Abu-Nimah said. After reviewing the request with the creative and public relations teams, she realized this was something that wasn’t going to resonate with anyone. The company could no longer be passive and just disseminate information.

“Consumers don’t go to web sites to learn about lipsticks,” she said with a laugh, adding that developing a digital experience that was more in line with the way people connect with their smartphones and friends — with a lipstick tie-in — was the solution.

The idea is to make this a long-term promotion (and hopefully evolve the technology to work with other products), Abu-Nimah noted, as well as extend the launch of the Rouge Rouge line into New York Fashion Week with corresponding offline and continued online initiatives.

Kiss Me goes live today in Japanese, Chinese, English and French.

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