The U.K.’s Channel 4 has decided to advertise their upcoming TV show “Humans” by opening a fake storefront and creeping everyone out.
“Humans,” set to be released in 2015, is about a family which purchases a realistic synthetic human and the resulting events. So Channel 4 set up a fake storefront as a marketing scheme along London’s Regent Street.
The storefront, ostensibly owned by Persona Synthetics, caused many ordinary people to freak out on Twitter and wonder if it was real or not. The billboards displayed showed the synthetics which would be on sale. What is notable is that the eyes of these synthetics are wrong and thus produce a strong “uncanny valley” effect.
In addition to the billboards, Adweek noted that the storefront featured two interactive screens which used Microsoft Kinect technology to mimick the Synths reacting to curious individuals.
And Channel 4 was not done with the creepy advertisements. Over the weekend, the channel showed a 30-second ad for Persona Synthetics and the synthetic humans on its website offering SEO training.
The advertisement, called “The New Generation,” is at best strange and at worst terrifying. “Sally,” the personal synthetic who is the subject of this commercial, displays no emotion during the clip beyond an unnerving smile. The soothing music and the happy family which Sally joins makes the contrast even worse.
In addition to the storefront and the television advertisement, Channel 4 also set up a “Persona Synthetics” website which explains that the “PS LUNDSTROM S6-XI” model can help in cooking, childcare, and personal training.
Of course, these Persona Synthetics are not perfect. The fake company notes that “Persona Synthetics take no responsibility for the actions of synths that have not had the latest firmware updates” and that a factory reset “should only be carried out by Persona Synthetics Inc. staff.”
According to Adweek, over 100,000 people have searched Google for Persona Synthetics since this marketing campaign began. Advertising agency 4Creative, the designers of these realistic advertisements, should give themselves a pat on the back.
Just don’t celebrate by trying to purchase one of those weird robots.