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L’Oréal Professionnel gets voluminous with new metaverse hairstyle drop

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By Webb Wright, NY Reporter

April 24, 2023 | 5 min read

The brand’s new ‘Gravitas’ campaign, developed in partnership with Wunderman Thompson, is being deployed across Ready Player Me, Roblox and Zepeto.

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L’Oréal Professionnel’s ‘Gravitas’ campaign includes some gravity-defying hairdos. / L’Oréal Professionnel

L’Oréal Professionnel – the beauty giant’s hair care and hair styling subsidiary – has launched five virtual hairstyles that can be accessed across three major platforms: Roblox, Ready Player Me and Zepeto.

Collectively dubbed ‘Gravitas,‘ the new virtual hairstyles “offer more opportunities for metaverse gamers to fully express themselves,” L’Oréal Professionnel writes in a press release. As befitting the name of the new campaign (“gravitas” is a Latin word that translates into “heaviness” or “weight”), each of the new virtual hairstyles are shaped in a manner that seem to defy the laws of physics. And that seems to be precisely the point – after all, physical laws need not apply in the metaverse.

The ‘Gravitas’ campaign was developed in partnership with Wunderman Thompson, an agency that has long been bullish on the metaverse.

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This isn’t L’Oréal’s first virtual rodeo. In November, L’Oréal Group – parent company to L’Oréal Professionnel – announced that it had launched five virtual hairstyles on Ready Player Me, a virtual avatar creation platform whose title is a play on the novel-turned-film Ready Player One. The results from the November campaign have apparently been promising enough to warrant the brand investing more heavily into its metaverse efforts. “Thanks to the success of this first launch,” L’Oréal Professionnel wrote in the press release, “the [‘Gravitas’] launch will go one step further, making [L’Oréal Professionnel] the first brand to launch virtual products across multiple virtual marketplaces at the same time.”

That cross-platform detail is significant. Though the word isn’t explicitly used in the press release, the ‘Gravitas’ virtual hairstyles appear to have been launched with an eye towards interoperability, or the capability for virtual identities to remain consistent across multiple platforms. Long held up as an ideal of metaverse true believers, interoperability has nonetheless proven so far to be an obstinate technical problem, mainly due to the huge amount of computing power that’s required.

Ready Player Me allows users to “explore virtual worlds with one consistent identity,” according to its website. The brand’s LinkedIn profile claims that its avatars can be used across more than 6,000 “compatible apps and games,” making it an influential force in the broader effort to build interoperability into the metaverse.

The Gravitas campaign was created in collaboration with digital artist Evan Rochette (who also contributed to L’Oréal Professionnel’s previous virtual hairstyle launch) and French hairstylist Charlie Le Mindu.

“We are very excited to drop these cutting-edge hairstyles as this is another milestone in our journey to crack the new codes of hair beauty and provide limitless forms of virtual self-expression,” Anne Machet, international general manager at L’Oréal Professionnel, said in a statement. “As the brand leader, we are in a unique position to elevate the professional industry, [digital] artists and consumers to bring more value and augmented experiences.”

According to the press release, the launch of Gravitas across Ready Player Me, Roblox (a popular online gaming platform) and Zepeto (a South Korean mobile app) will make the five new virtual hairstyles accessible to around 234m players and across more than 40m virtual games.

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