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100,000 Google searches following bizarre ‘Persona Synthetics’ ad – turns out it’s a promo for new Channel 4 drama

A strange, futuristic advert for Persona Synthetics – a brand of highly developed robotic servants – appeared last week, directing people to a website and a shop on Regent Street where they could find out more.

To date, there have been 100,000 searches for the brand on Google while the website has received 423,000 visits.

Turns out, it was all part of a campaign from Channel 4 for its new drama Humans.

Channel 4’s head of marketing James Walker said: “The world of Humans is perhaps closer than we think. This campaign seeks to engage viewers in a mischievous way with the questions the series raises about artificial intelligence; How will artificial intelligence affect our relationship with technology and each other? Would you buy a Synth [robot] to be a part of your family?”

As well as the TV promo and shop front, there are also social accounts for the brand and an eBay store, featuring a mock auction inviting visitors to the site to bid on a robot. Over 200,000 people viewed the auction in its first 72 hours.

Meanwhile, within the Regent Street store, two interactive screens showcase two metre tall robot models that have used Microsoft Kinect technology to track and interact with visitors, mimicking and reacting to their movements.

The technology can sense up to six people at a time, tracking even the smallest details of their facial expressions.

Channel 4 Marketing,the broadcaster's in-house agency 4Creative and media agency OMD UK developed the campaign.

The series, starring William Hurt, Colin Morgan, Gemma Chan, Katherine Parkinson and Tom Goodman-Hill is set in a parallel present where the latest must-have gadget for any busy family is a ‘Synth’ – manufactured by fictional company Persona Synthetics. It is set to run later this year.

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Jennifer Faull

Jen Faull is deputy news editor at The Drum with a remit to cover the latest developments in the retail and FMCG sectors. Based in London, she has interviewed major business figures including top marketers from Mondelez, Unilever, Tesco, and Lidl.

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