Listerine's vibrating app helps the blind to 'see' a smile

Listerine is going for an emotive approach with its latest campaign, unveiling a new app that helps blind people 'see' someone smiling at them.

Listerine: moving towards more emotive ads
Listerine: moving towards more emotive ads

The mouthwash brand has released an online film showing several blind and partially sighted consumers explain the social difficulty of not being able to read another’s expression.

They explain that to experience smiles (and other facial expressions), they will usually have to touch a person’s face.

The app, built by J Walter Thompson and approved by the RNIB, uses a smartphone’s camera and facial recognition to identify when someone might be smiling.

The phone will vibrate on detecting a smile, acting as a simple social signal. A blind person using the app can hold up their smartphone and detect a smile up to five metres away.

The ad, shot by filmmaker Lucy Walker, marks a notable departure from the usual ‘white lab coat’ style of advertising beloved of FMCG brands.

Brand: Listerine

Agency: J Walter Thompson