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Technology & InternetI Didn't Know I Wasn't Human
Skype's $12 million new ad campaign boldly claims: WELCOME BACK TO HUMANITY. While its fierce message undoubtedly serves as an attention grabber - is it just too much?
When did LOL replace real laughter? When did it become OK to text mum Happy Birthday? Humans were made to look, listen and feel. 140 characters doesn't equal staying in touch. Your one-way ticket back to humanity. Upgrade from a wallpost to a first class conversation.
I admire and reject this campaign equally.
From a marketing standpoint, it is a complete success: the message is clear, the images are clean, and regardless of whether or not you agree with the statement - its poignant claim gets you to think about how Skype is different from all of our other social media obsessions. It is a tool that let's us share "real" moments with people whom we cannot immediately share physical space. It helps close the gap that is created by vast lands, oceans and time zones.
But, are they serious? I would like to believe that my most "human" moments have nothing to do with modern technology. Skype doesn't allow me to hug my parents after months of living on different continents; it doesn't let me smell the flowers my best friend has brought to pick me up from the airport. Skype fails to capture the feeling that arises from the intimate touch of a loved one, or the experience of sharing dinner with family while exchanging outrageous stories and becoming overwhelmed with laughter, delicious food and the smells of childhood.
While technology is often a convenient substitute, it adheres to only two of our senses. We see and we hear; we cannot touch or be touched, we cannot taste nor smell.
If part of the joy of being human is to activate each of these sensations, Skype certainly falls short. In my own experience, Skype has in fact intensified my longing for the person on the other end because it lacks necessary components of human interact that it will never be able to fulfill.
However, the moxie of this campaign was enough to elicit a strong enough response within me to share it with friends, engage in discussion, and write this piece.
You certainly don't restore my human capabilities, Skype, but your campaign achieves what it set out to accomplish: scrutiny.
Well played, marketing team. Well played.