THE VIRTUAL FUTURE: Why our Cornflakes will talk to us
Do you worry about growing old alone? That you might outlive your beloved and the grand-kids won’t want to visit because… well because young people won’t visit no-one anymore in the future, not physically anyway. If you wanna see the kids you will need to wi-fi your brainwaves to the cloud! However, as you will be unwilling to risk your brain to hacking, because you are old fashioned like that, you find yourself cut off from the world, a world that sees you and your smartphone as old as the Dinosaurs that you surely once regularly saw roaming outside your front door when you were a child in the ancient days of the Noughties. You have good reason to fear you will see out your dotage all by your lonesome watching classic reruns of Friends for the billionth time. Well have those fears no more, because in the future your Cornflakes will keep you company, as too will your fridge, TV, wine bottle and all your favorite sweeties. You’ll be surrounded by friends! They will all want to hear your problems and all the other stories you wish to deluge them with. Why? Direct interactive marketing…..conducted with a friendly cartoon face.
Imagine Siri, Alexa, Cortana with as a cartoon embodiment. Perhaps a brand character from your cereal, a character you have known since you were a child. It’s friendly looking and only ever gives you warm feelings, due to its product delicious taste and the bright colours of its cartoonish design. People might not want to fill out surveys that they get bombarded with online, but if a cartoon character with a personality starts talking to you, well you will chat until the sun goes down and the moon comes up. We feel safe with cartoons. Cartoons are there to make us happy! In a future where smart devices are thin and flexible enough to be everywhere, and due to graphite advancements, cheap enough to put hi-spec disposable paper thin computer screens on any product you want, we will be surrounded by marketing disguised as your best and oldest friends. It sounds like I’m going all Black Mirror here and I’m going to deliver a bleak message but…I’m not. If these characters keep us company, then at least we have someone to talk to when the rest of the world are cyber zombies.
In all seriousness, I’m painting a picture of how technology is going, whether we like it or not, and no doubt the youngest generations will like it. When these products speak to us, they will get information that they can feedback to agencies who will make use of that data. In return the same characters will be able to let you cry onto their cornflake boxes and suggest movies, clothing and alcohol (for example) that could cheer you up, suggestions as sponsored by the highest bidder, and based on the information you have been feeding into its history banks.
I’m being over dramatic to get your attention but there is truth in the above. People won’t fill out forms. People are bombarded by adverts and will avoid them whenever possible. So what is the future? The future is virtual. By using characters, you will be able to connect with customers in a way that they WANT to talk to you. This is already happening today. Kids are flocking to youtube and are buying products their vlogging heroes are telling them are things that they need. I have young children, and I tried to explain what product placement was to them but my daughter was having none of it as there was no way her favorite tuber would deceive her. People trust those they like and who doesn’t like cartoons, they will be the ideal salesmen of the digital age. Well, the digital age is now! It’s dawn and that pixel sun is coming up. You can keep on spending fortunes on television adverts but who’s watching them. People want direct interaction. People complain that smart devices are making us isolated. People may look that way when we see millennial with their noses glued to their phone screens, ignoring actual humans around them, but they ARE socializing with more people than ever before. Over the internet they are keeping track of friends near and far via a wide range of social networks. If you have a brand, learn from the advertising masters of the 20th Century and trust in characters to deliver your messages. Using innovate new technology, you can now create animations in real time. You don’t have to wait weeks or months for a new 30 second advert, you can have your cartoon character delivering new messages all day, every day on all the platforms where there are audiences that number in the millions. With new augmented reality, the characters could even be sat next to you at home having a chat about why you need what they are selling. Today we can motion capture characters to talk to people one at a time, or talk to cyber crowds by those millions. In the future, as I mentioned above, with advance artificial technology, these characters will be the avatars of search engines and they could talk to everyone as individuals. That is the future, one where we tell our deepest secrets and seek advice from Cornflakes boxes.
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