Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.

Patents

  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS20030222096 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/395,524
Publication dateDec 4, 2003
Filing dateMar 24, 2003
Priority dateJun 4, 2002
Publication number10395524, 395524, US 2003/0222096 A1, US 2003/222096 A1, US 20030222096 A1, US 20030222096A1, US 2003222096 A1, US 2003222096A1, US-A1-20030222096, US-A1-2003222096, US2003/0222096A1, US2003/222096A1, US20030222096 A1, US20030222096A1, US2003222096 A1, US2003222096A1
InventorsChristine Kennedy, Joan Capaldi, Gail Gibford
Original AssigneeKennedy Christine Elizabeth, Capaldi Joan Wiley, Gibford Gail Eileen
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Cosmetic article selection device and related method
US 20030222096 A1
Abstract
A cosmetic article selection device and method is provided including a storage mechanism for holding at least one coupon and a dispensing mechanism for delivering the coupon to a consumer. The coupon includes either a physical test requiring contact with a body part or a plurality of questions. Results from the test or from the questions provide an output which may be correlated with a most suitable product from a plurality of similar type products. The coupon will also contain a discount offer on purchase of the most suitable product.
Images(3)
Previous page
Next page
Claims(5)
What is claimed is:
1. A cosmetic article selection device comprising:
(a) a storage means for holding at least one coupon, the coupon comprising a contact test with a consumer's body or a plurality of questions and a suggested product list correlating from a plurality of similar products a most suitable product identified by output from the test or from answers to the questions; and
(b) a dispensing means for delivery to a consumer of a coupon in paper format, the coupon including an in-store discount offer on purchase of the most suitable product.
2. The article according to claim 1 wherein the test measures body properties selected from the group consisting of pH, oiliness, moisture, skin dryness, temperature and combinations thereof.
3. The article according to claim 1 wherein the storage and dispensing means is an instant coupon machine which is a device storing the at least one coupon in a compartment with a slot through which coupons are removable, and an attachment device whereby the machine is attachable to a store shelf.
4. The article according to claim 1 wherein the storage and dispensing means is a newspaper or magazine having the coupon printed therein with a border of solid or dashed line indicating a cut-out direction.
5. A method for selecting a product more suitable for a consumer from among possible variants, the method comprising:
(i) obtaining a coupon from a coupon dispensing device, the device comprising:
(a) a storage means for holding at least one coupon, the coupon comprising a contact test with a consumer's body or a plurality of questions and a suggested product list correlating from a plurality of similar products a most suitable product identified by output from the test or from answers to the questions; and
(b) a dispensing means for delivery to a consumer of the at least one coupon in paper format, the coupon including a discount offer on purchase of the most suitable product;
(ii) employing the test against an appropriate body part or answering the plurality of questions to collect the output, correlating the output with the suggested product list to identify the most suitable product; and
(iii) purchasing the identified most suitable product.
Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] The invention concerns a cosmetic article selection device allowing a consumer to identify a product best correlated to needs of that consumer.

[0003] 2. The Related Art

[0004] Consumers are presented with a bewildering variety of same purpose products. Not all same purpose products are equally effective for any single consumer. Differences in genetics, age and psychological needs may render one variant more purpose effective than another.

[0005] Past attempts to assist consumers in the selection process have been relatively crude and ineffective. Only by the inefficient process of trial and error can consumers finally arrive at the best choice. Over time, that best choice may even fluctuate.

[0006] A number of publications have disclosed test methods for the lay person to self-diagnose their body. An appropriate product can then be selected based on the diagnosis. Skin testing has been particularly active. For instance, CuDerm Corporation has developed a simple diagnostic test to determine the degree of skin dryness. CuDerm utilizes adhesive discs (D-Squame®) capable of removing a small section of squameous cells (skin cells) and compares the results against a chart. The disc is a transparent plastic with adhesive on one side. The test involves placing the adhesive surface of the disc against a user's forehead, peeling off the disc and placing same on a dark background card. Flakes from the skin stick to the adhesive surface and are visualized against the dark background. The greater the number of loose flakes, the dryer is the skin.

[0007] D-Squame® adhesive disks have been used in conjunction with Oil of Olay® and Dove® products to demonstrate before and after product use improvement against dry skin.

[0008] Considerable technology has also been developed with respect to measuring sebum concentrations. CuDerm Corporation markets a product branded Sebutape® for visualizing oiliness. U.S. Pat. No. 4,532,937, U.S. Pat. No. 5,088,502 and U.S. Pat. No. 5,119,828, all to Miller describe the Sebutape® product. It is structured as a microporous, hydrophobic polymeric film formed with pores and opaque to light. The pores are filled with gaseous material. When sebum fills those pores, the film turns from opaque to substantially translucent. The film is mounted to a substrate which includes a light absorbing area for enhancing visualization of the film pores when filled with sebum. Other sebum test devices are disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,433,214 (Brehm et al.),

[0009] U.S. Pat. No. 4,981,145 (Goldstein), U.S. Pat. No. 5,094,248 (Kawam) and U.S. Pat. No. 3,906,933 (Tur et al.).

[0010] Even with availability of some testing devices, these must be conveniently provided to a consumer, especially at or close to a point-of-sale decision. Distribution is a key concern in advancing a solution for the problem of correlating the most suitable product to a particular consumer.

[0011] In-store devices are well known for influencing purchase. Retailers promote their goods by offering coupons. In the store, coupons may be dispensed from pads and refillable dispensers. Coupons are often turned in at a check-out counter to enable the purchaser to obtain a reduced price for the goods. Convenient devices have been created for their dissemination. For instance, U.S. Pat. No. 4,420,082 (Bernie) discloses a device holding a pad of advertising materials for dispensing and presentation on a one-by-one basis and a hanger mechanism for supporting sheets of advertising material. More sophisticated devices are found in U.S. Pat. No. 5,289,652 (Kringel et al.) and U.S. Pat. No. 6,233,102 B1 (Hogan, Jr.) describing an advertising display mounting device for promotionals or other objects through a price channel mounted on the edge of a grocery or other retail store shelf. Common to all the aforementioned devices is lack of any assistance given a consumer in matching the advertised product to those consumers most benefited by this particular variant of the product.

[0012] Accordingly, it is an advantage of the present invention to provide a product selection device and method which provides direction to a consumer for selecting from a plurality of similar products a most suitable one, preferably at or close to a point-of-sale.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0013] A cosmetic article selection device is provided which includes:

[0014] (a) a storage means for holding at least one coupon, the coupon including a contact test with a consumer's body or a plurality of questions and a suggested product list correlating from a plurality of similar products a most suitable product identified by output from the test or from answers to the questions; and

[0015] (b) a dispensing means for delivery to a consumer of the at least one coupon in paper format, the coupon including a discount offer on purchase of the most suitable product.

[0016] Furthermore, there is provided a method for selecting a product most suitable for a consumer from among possible variants, the method including:

[0017] (i) obtaining a coupon from a coupon dispensing device, the device including:

[0018] (a) a storage means for holding at least one coupon, the coupon including a contact test with a consumer's body or a plurality of questions and a suggested product list correlating from a plurality of similar products a most suitable product identified by output from the test or from answers to the questions; and

[0019] (b) a dispensing means for delivery to a consumer of the at least one coupon in paper format, the coupon including a discount offer on purchase of the most suitable product;

[0020] (ii) employing the test against an appropriate body part or answering the plurality of questions to collect the output, correlating the output with the suggested product list to identify the most suitable product; and

[0021] (iii) purchasing the identified most suitable product.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING

[0022] Further advantages and features of the present invention will become more readily apparent from consideration of the drawing in which:

[0023]FIG. 1 is a first embodiment of a coupon according to the present invention;

[0024]FIG. 2 is a second embodiment of a coupon according to the present invention; and

[0025]FIG. 3 is an in-store point-of-sale dispenser storing coupons for removal by consumers.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0026] Now there has been found a selection device and method allowing a consumer to self-evaluate a product from among possible variants that may be most suitable for the characteristics of that consumer. The vehicle for this evaluation is a coupon having three indispensable elements. First, the coupon presents the consumer with a discount offer on purchase of the eventually selected product. Secondly, the coupon delivers either a contact with the body test or a plurality of questions for eliciting a best possible match with one of a plurality of similar type products. A third element found on the coupon is a list of functionally related products from which a most suitable one can be chosen based upon correlation with the output from the second element.

[0027] By the term coupon is meant a tangible cellulosic or plastic substance, preferably in sheet form with a total area of a major surface ranging from about 10 to about 20,000 cm2, preferably from about 60 to about 10,000 cm2, optimally from about 300 to about 800 cm2.

[0028] Discount offers are printed onto the coupon. These are usually denoted in local currency redeemable at face value or some stated multiple thereof by an issuing company. Normally printing of the coupon discount value is on both major surfaces of the coupon. Other items of information besides the redemption office name and address, is a barcode for scanning and possibly an expiration date after which the discount offer is void.

[0029] Personal care products are particularly suitable for correlations used in the present invention. By the term “personal care product” is meant any product intended for contact with the body. These might include skin creams/lotions, oral care (toothpaste, toothbrushes and mouthwash), hair care (shampoos, conditioners, mousses, hair colorants and hairspray), depilatories, body cleansers (e.g. shower gels and toilet bars) and underarm care (e.g. deodorants and antiperspirants).

[0030] Possible test devices can be based on measurement of various properties of the skin. For instance, differences in pH can be utilized. A litmus or other pH sensitive paper or plastic coated with a pH indicator is placed on the coupon. This area of the coupon can then be contacted against a part of the skin such as the face. The pH produces a color change at point of skin contact. Color can be correlated with a particular skin type and this can be matched to a particular product effective for that manner of skin.

[0031] Sebum production or skin oiliness can also be measured by a test placed upon a coupon. Sebum sensitive film is available from the 3M Corporation. Low levels of mineral oil are dispersed on the film resulting in saturation whenever sebum is absorbed.

[0032] Moisture is another characteristic measurable by a test strip. For instance, the strip can be impregnated with a water activatable reagent causing a color change. Typical chemicals which can react with water to elicit change are lactones, or anhydrides opening to carboxylic acids, electrolytes activated by water dissolution closing an electric circuit or simply dissolution of water-soluble salts leaving an image or color change. Selection of underarm products (e.g. antiperspirants) may be particularly correlated with a moisture sensitive test strip delivered by a coupon.

[0033] Temperature is a further property which can reflect the differences in consumer skin types and provide correlation to particular products. A strip can be coated with a cholesteric crystal (liquid crystal) material which upon slight change of temperature caused by contact with skin can indicate something about the consumer's body type. This may also be correlated with a particular product.

[0034] A less expensive but effective procedure alternate to that of an actual test, is presentation to the consumer of a question set. These may probe personal characteristics such as ethnic group, oiliness, perspiration activity, natural hair color, allergies, degree of hair loss, condition of oral gums and teeth and any combination thereof. For instance, the following questions may be asked: (1) Are you dark complexioned? (2) Is your skin oily? (3) Are you allergic to fragrances? (4) Do you perspire frequently? (5) Is your skin itchy? (6) Is your hair thin? (7) Is your hair greasy?

[0035] Questions can be in a true or false, yes or no answer format. The answer code will correlate the given answers with a particular product from within a group of similar possible products. For instance, the product category may be a skin lotion. Certain variants will be directed at dry skin. These may be formulated with high levels of alpha-hydroxy acids and glycerin. On the other hand, elicitation through the questioning or from a test that the consumer's skin is oily will lead to a different skin lotion. This lotion may be more heavily formulated with sebum suppressing actives. These may be tridecylsalicylate or tridecyl alcohol.

[0036] Those with allergies may be directed toward fragrance free products.

[0037] Those who answer that their work is often outdoors may be directed toward a skin lotion having high levels of sunscreen. Consumers living in areas of high pollution such as cities may be provided with extra antioxidants (e.g. higher levels of Vitamin C or catechins). People with particularly sensitive skin will not be provided with low pH formulations. By contrast, low pH formulations with alpha-hydroxy acid may be much more effective at controlling dry skin than would normally be recommended to those that suffer from this condition, except for the fact of their skin sensitivity.

[0038] A variety of storage means and dispensing means may be utilized in the context of the present invention. A particularly preferred system is the use of an Instant Coupon Machine. These devices are well known to consumers frequenting large retailers such as supermarkets. Essentially these devices are mounted on store shelves with an attachment bracket and have a rectangular shaped compartment panel jutting perpendicular to the shelf into the aisle. Several tens to several hundreds of paper coupons are stored within the panel. These are individually removable by a customer, often with a pop-up mechanism pushing a subsequent coupon through a slot once the previous one has been removed. The common nature of Instant Coupon Machines renders it unnecessary for further description here. However, typical machines are described in U.S. Pat. No. 4,420,082, U.S. Pat. No. 5,289,652 and U.S. Pat. No. 6,267,263 B1, all incorporated herein by reference.

[0039] Although the Instant Coupon Machine is preferred, there are alternate storage and dispensing means encompassed within the present invention.

[0040] One of these alternates are newspapers and magazines which serve as a storage means for holding at least one coupon. In this embodiment, the dispensing means is the solid or dotted line indicating a tear border by which a consumer may cut out, such as with a scissor, the coupon from the newspaper or magazine.

[0041] A third embodiment for a storage and dispensing means is that of a coupon in electronic form downloaded from an internet site. Here the storage means is the hosting website upon which the coupon appears. The dispensing means is a printer connected to a computer which is used to locate the coupon storing website. Printout of the coupon from the website constitutes a dispensing mechanism.

[0042]FIG. 1 illustrates a coupon 2 which includes a skin dryness test device 4. This consists of a transparent strip 6 attached to a release backing 8 and having a tab 10. The tab serves as a gripping structure. Separation of the strip 6 from the release backing 8 is facilitated by initiating removal at the tab. The opaque, preferably black or white coloration of the tab, in contrast to the transparency of the strip, signals to a user the difference of this area and cues the user to start lifting at that point.

[0043] In the procedure for testing skin, the strip is removed from its release backing. Thereupon it is placed along an area of the skin which is to be measured for dryness. Facial areas are primarily evaluated, and more particularly areas around the cheek. Subsequently, the strip is removed and re-affixed to backing 8 on the coupon. The dark, preferably black background of backing 8 highlights the imprint of dead skin cells while the transparent strip allows viewing of that imprint. The more flecks of removed skin on the imprint, the greater the degree of dry skin condition. The test image may be compared with a series of standards 12 correlating to different strength lotions A through E. By correlation of the test image to the pictorial standards 12, an appropriate selection can be made for a suitable product.

[0044] Other markings may be found on the coupon. A barcode 14 is particularly suitable.

[0045]FIG. 2 illustrates use of a question series 104 placed upon coupon 102. An answer key 108 correlates answers to the questions with particular product variants 112 which may be depicted in their packaging on the face of the coupon. A barcode 114 may be provided for the retailer's and coupon issuer's redemption processing convenience. Furthermore, the coupon may become associated with a particular consumer through the particular barcode. Indeed, a place on the coupon may be provided to receive the consumer's name and address for further contact.

[0046]FIG. 3 illustrates a typical instant coupon dispensing machine 1. This machine has a clamp 3 by which it attaches to a store shelf. A coupon 2 protrudes from the machine for easy removal by a consumer.

[0047] The term “comprising” is meant not to be limiting to any subsequently stated elements but rather to encompass non-specified elements of major or minor functional importance. In other words the listed steps, elements or options need not be exhaustive. Whenever the words “including” or “having” are used, these terms are meant to be equivalent to “comprising” as defined above.

[0048] Except in the operating and comparative examples, or where otherwise explicitly indicated, all numbers in this description indicating amounts of material ought to be understood as modified by the word “about”.

[0049] The foregoing description and examples illustrate selected embodiments of the present invention. In light thereof variations and modifications will be suggested to one skilled in the art, all of which are within the spirit and purview of this invention.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7104800 *Jan 7, 2003Sep 12, 2006Unilever Home & Personal Care Usa, Division Of Conopco, Inc.Article and method for selection of individualized personal care products
US8065240Oct 31, 2007Nov 22, 2011The Invention Science Fund IComputational user-health testing responsive to a user interaction with advertiser-configured content
US20090119154 *Nov 7, 2007May 7, 2009Searete Llc, A Limited Liability Corporation Of The State Of DelawareDetermining a demographic characteristic based on computational user-health testing of a user interaction with advertiser-specified content
Classifications
U.S. Classification221/197
International ClassificationB42D15/00, G06Q30/00
Cooperative ClassificationG06Q30/02, B42D15/0053
European ClassificationG06Q30/02, B42D15/00F
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jun 24, 2003ASAssignment
Owner name: UNILEVER HOME & PERSONAL CARE USA DIVISION OF CONO
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:KENNEDY, CHRISTINE ELIZABETH;CAPALDI, JOAN WILEY;GIBFORD, GAIL EILEEN;REEL/FRAME:013755/0430;SIGNING DATES FROM 20030224 TO 20030318