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Listerine app helps blind people see smiles

01 September 2015
Listerine app helps blind people see smiles

Johnson & Johnson brand Listerine has developed a new app to help blind people know when people are smiling at them.

The launch of the app, which combines facial recognition technology with a phone’s camera to detect smiles up to five metres away, is part of a wider campaign by ad agency J. Walter Thompson to unveil Listerine’s Advance White mouthwash.

Johnson & Johnson commissioned the project to demonstrate the brand’s belief that many people have forgotten how powerful a smile can be.

“The campaign champions the power of a smile and the idea that smiles really do have an effect on those around you,” said UK and Ireland Listerine brand manager Alice Lovell. “We wanted to take that belief and use it to have a positive impact on people’s lives.”

As part of the launch in UK, Ireland, South Africa, the Netherlands and Germany on 31 August, Oscar nominated director Lucy Walker has made a short film, ‘Feel Every Smile’, which explores what experiencing smiles means to four blind interviewees.

“It is fascinating to ask blind people how they experience smiling, if not by sight,” Lucy Walker said. “Even if they can’t see a face, blind people are very aware of the ‘feeling’ that smiling gives them, and they are often able to pick up when someone is smiling by listening to the quality of their voice.

“But there are some situations in which vocal quality is not enough and in which blind people would love to be able to detect when someone is smiling at them.”

Anna Dobbie, London


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