July 5, 2017
The Lewis Team (from left to right): Marco Patanella (Polytechnique Montréal), Umberto Najar et Nicolas Fisch (HEC Montréal).
The team of two BBA students from HEC Montréal and one student from Polytechnique Montréal, who won the Canadian and pan-American finals of the L’Oréal Brandstorm competition, took 2nd place in the world finals in Paris, on June 15. Nicolas Fisch, Umberto Najar and Marco Patanella once again wowed the jury in the TECH round, thanks to their “intelligent” gadget dubbed Lewis. This year’s Brandstorm competition was held in co-operation with the L’Oréal Men Expert brand for men, whose ambassador is racing car driver Lewis Hamilton.
Our team’s “Lewis” is a tiny 6 cm x 6 cm, water-resistant item fitted with a suction cup, designed to be installed in a bathroom. Lewis’ artificial intelligence technology lets it recognize the human voice and, using Facebook and the Messenger application and an algorithm, answer its user’s questions and offer suggestions on using personal care products. For instance, the user can simply ask Lewis to order a new bottle of shampoo and have it delivered, suggest new products, or offer personal care tips for men.
The project, created especially for Brandstorm by the three competitors, uses technological innovation and marketing to respond to the challenges posed by male consumers of its creators’ generation. “Millennials are always in a hurry. You have to reach them directly in the bathroom,” explains Nicolas Fisch.
The project had to meet specific criteria for the competition: it had to be innovative, useful, scalable and feasible. Lewis’ creators obviously hope that their idea will eventually be manufactured and commercialized. L’Oréal may well pursue the project, but no decision has been made as yet. In the meantime, the French company offered the three students summer internships at its Montréal office.