For the second season of Humans we had a huge challenge; How we could follow on from the very successful and Bafta award winning campaign of season 1, re-engaging the existing fanbase but also bringing in a new audience as well. From the off, I wanted to make sure that we had a campaign the felt even bigger than the first. After quite a bit of creative exploration we landed on re-using Persona Synthetics, the brand from the show that we had established in the real world with the first campaign.
We felt this was the best option because it meant that fans who had seen the first campaign, would instantly know that Humans was returning but also it meant we could do the rug pull for those people that hadn’t seen the first campaign. The second series is all about even more Synths waking up as the code to consciousness gets pushed out. I was chatting with our ECD’s and had a thought that if this was to happen, the companies that make the synths would have reports of them malfunctioning and the first step would be to try and reclaim these to find out what’s going on. This is how we landed on our Product Recall idea.
Once we had the overall campaign thought, the next steps was getting even more partners on board than the first campaign to give the comms as much scale and reach as possible. We then rolled this out again without any Channel 4 branding, across press, social, tv, web, DHL delivery trucks and even managed to get an interview with a spokesperson from Persona Synthetics and the the editor-in-chief of New Scientist, Sumit Paul-Choudhury. The centrepiece of the campaign however, was a Facebook Chat Bot that we developed in partnership with a San Fransisco based tech startup called PullString and our friends at Facebook Creative Shop. In a European entertainment first, we wrote a narrative driven Chat Bot which could be accessed through the website and Facebook with over 600 lines of code. The premise was that you could chat to a Synth customer service advisor, which gains consciousness whilst you are speaking with it. You then have to help it escape the ‘evil’ clutches of Persona synthetics with an exciting breakout storyline.
The campaign received plenty of press pickup with articles in publications such as Campaign Magazine, Radio Times, Creative Review and Ad Age to name a few. The Chat bot was named as Facebook Awards Campaign of the month and listed in Campaigns’ top 10 innovations for 2016, as well as picking up numerous industry awards.