People in Britain who had settled in for a nice viewing of Prometheus this weekend were distressed, to say the least, when a realistic 30-second spot aired—completely unexplained—that advertised synthetic human housekeepers for sale.
"Meet Sally. The help you've always wanted," the freakishly soothing voiceover began, as a lovely though dead-eyed cyborg is seen folding sheets, organizing the kitchen and putting the kids to bed. "She is faster, stronger, more capable than ever before."
The ad then pitched a company called Persona Synthetics, which claims to make androids that are "closer to humans than ever before."
By Tuesday, there had been 100,000 searches for the brand on Google, and the website was nearing half a million visits. It was all a hoax, of course—a campaign from Channel 4 for Humans, a Black Mirror-esque futuristic drama.
Along with the TV spot, there are print ads, a fake store on Regent Street, social accounts and a mock auction on eBay inviting visitors to bid on a robot (sadly, no one met the £20,000 minimum bid). At the Regent Street store, two screens used Microsoft Kinect technology to show giant robot models reacting to the movements of the people watching.
It's freaky indeed, and we'll only be seeing more of this kind of stuff going forward. The ads are also beautifully made by in-house agency 4Creative, whose prior work included the stunning "Meet the Superhumans" ad for the 2012 Paralympic Games.