On Sunday, Vertical Networks will debut a new Snapchat original series call “Styled by Science.” The four- to five-minute long program can be viewed on the Snapchat app. Its premise is simple: Instead of being at the mercy of whims and subjective opinions, the creators will rely on research findings and scientific journals from sources like the National Center for Biotechnology Information and the National Institute of Health to inform the transformations.
That might sound dry and clinical — or like an intensely geeky affair — but to hear Chris Paschall, senior producer, describe the series, it’s anything but. For him, the makeovers aren’t just superficial fare. In casting, the team searched for candidates with certain goals, both male and female, and looked for objective ways to help achieve them.
For instance, take people who want to make the best first impression. According to the company, there’s scientific research suggesting that people can accurately peg income and age based on a subject’s shoes. Those sorts of choices might matter for people who are interviewing for jobs or looking for long-term relationships.
In another example, Paschall brought up a tomboy who wanted to look more feminine. “There was a study conducted about that,” he told WWD. “You can look at [two images of] a face, and if there’s more contrast in one, it instantly looks more feminine. It’s pretty striking, because it’s the same face. But you look at one and you see a man, and you look at another and you see a woman. It’s the exact same face, except it’s darker around the eyes and the mouth.”
This purpose-driven approach, he added, “is not just about wanting to look better. It’s about trying to be a better version of themselves and where the data aligns really well with it.” In effect, science is driving the tips stylists will use to craft the makeup and apparel looks for a variety of scenarios.
“We had a sword swallower, and she didn’t just want to look more attractive,” he said. She didn’t feel that her look — a blend of young professional and self-described girl-next-door heading out to Sunday school — suited her or her line of work. “So our goal was then to make her look like someone edgy who could capture people’s attention better.”
The first episode will feature Cecilia, a woman with a shy, reserved look who wants to seem more approachable. The segment will appear Sunday in Snapchat Discover.
The series is a Snap Original from Vertical Networks, Elizabeth Murdoch’s mobile-focused studio perhaps best known for “Brother,” a Snapchat lifestyle channel geared toward Millennial men. The company recently welcomed Jesús Chavez, formerly of mitú and Univision, as its chief executive officer.
His priority as ceo is Vertical’s growth, expansion and monetization. With “Styled by Science,” the company has a built-in opportunity to integrate with the brands and retailers that appear on the series. “Naturally, we’re talking about makeovers,” Chavez said, “so it could be from hair to products to clothing….Really for us, it’s a starting point.”