How people don’t talk and never will

22 Feb 2011 2

I’ve just sat through one of the most unintentionally hilarious and hateful two-minutes of film I’ve ever watched.

It’s called We are the Future, and it has been produced by a media agency called Phd to show off their thinking. It consists of a bunch of photogenic multi-ethnic kids earnestly spouting scripted lines about what marketing and advertising will be like in 2021. I can’t put into words how horrid it is, but I can’t bring myself to embed it here either so if you want to see it click here.

There’s plenty of comment about various aspects of the video (and the social media car crash that it kicked off) elsewhere on the intertubes – what interests me is its use of language.

The language that young people use is fascinating, rich and fast-changing. I’d be interested to hear thoughts on how it might change in the next ten years. But Phd don’t have any. Instead, they’ve taken the most nauseating examples of current marketing claptrap and put them into the mouths of teenagers. It’s almost like they’ve lifted lines from this blog and made people read them out. The kids have clearly been told to deliver this horseshit as if it were extremely serious and important, and unfortunately, they’re pretty good actors.

I noted down some of the phrases they’ve been made to say:

“In just ten years from now, we’ll be buying and influencing buying in ways that will confound you.”

“We’ll expect smart tailored content based on our social graphs.”

“You’d better embed everything with e-commerce functionality.”

“AR apps will almost function like special skills to help us navigate reality more effectively.”

If you work anywhere near the world of marketing, you can get desensitised to this kind of guff and forget that nobody in the real world speaks like this. For the record: nobody in the real world speaks like this.


2 thoughts on “How people don’t talk and never will”

  • 1
    Alison on 22 Feb 2011

    I am just astounded at the agency being surprised at getting negative comments on Youtube. And Posterous.

    Don’t get me wrong, I think they’d have got negative feedback anywhere, but on Youtube in particular, you are going to have loads of kids (like the ones acting in the video) taking a look at their own ad-portrayal and possibly not liking it. And so it goes viral, negatively.

    It feels to me like a framework error, as though it was intended for investors and corporate media buyers, and it accidentally got shown to teenagers. You have to hope that this educates them.

  • 2
    Robert on 23 Feb 2011

    Very true, mind you an awful lot of the negative comments are clearly from people that work in advertising, and either just found the thing revolting, or actually feel that to put stuff like that out is damaging to their industry. 39,000 views and counting…

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