Coca-Cola is trying to get consumers thinking that its flagship soft drink has a twin in its sugar-free version, Coca-Cola Zero. So it has launched a Facebook app called Facial Profiler that tries to use Facebook user’s photos to match people with their look-alikes on the site.
This is a clever take on the sort of photo-matching analysis already used by everybody from law enforcement to a range of other Facebook photo-sorting apps.
Here’s how the app works — and how it promotes Coke’s campaign. You install the app, then it automatically detects a couple random photos of you from your profile and photo album. Note that this part of the app is automated, so you might find it scanning childhood photos you happen to have uploaded (in terms of identifying your face and finding the closest match, the app doesn’t necessarily start with a good data set).
Anyway, the next step in the app asks you to take a photo of yourself using your web or desktop camera for your computer. Once you have this photo in, you can make resize the image and manually adjust it to find your eyes. Then, in the third step, the app automatically filters through everyone on it to find your match. As you’re waiting for this process to finish, you see a random selection of other users and their matches.
Then, you get the results, along with a percentage score of how close the app thinks the match is. In our testing, the results weren’t astounding. But there are a few ways the app solves this. One is that you can go back and take another photo of yourself — again, it’d help if you could tell the app which Facebook photos to draw from in the first place. You can also see other user matches in a tab in the final step, and score them based on how accurate they are. As more people add the app and submit photos, the more likely it is the app will be able to find a good fit; and, the manual rankings provided by users should also help improve the accuracy. The app also looks at other features, like if you’re wearing glasses, your facial expression, stubble, etc.
If you’re amazing by your match, the app lets you contact. If you’re not amazed, you can retry and try to find a better fit.
Finally, in case you try the app and aren’t convinced by the results, you can also see its top matches. Of course, the number one top match is Coca Cola and Coca-Cola Zero. The rest of the app is likewise full of Coke promotions; when parts of it load, for example, you see graphics of digital bottles being analyzed.
And, unsurprisingly, the app is looking to grow by letting you share your results on Facebook and on Twitter; you can also grab a link to the result of the page via a shortened URL.
The app was built with the help of advertising firm Crispin Porter + Bogusky, a creative-minded outfit that also did Burger King’s controversial Whopper Sacrifice app earlier this year. So far, the Coke app has grown to more than 27,000 users.
Note: For those concerned about privacy, adding the app means you opt in to let the app show your image to other users, although there’s a button that lets you opt out.
All in all, this is a clever idea, and it seems to be working pretty well so far.