The Emo­tional Route

A tear­jerker of an ad for Bixby Voice As­sis­tant.

The Brand Reporter - - FRONT PAGE - su­

You’ll un­doubt­edly re­call Sam­sung In­dia’s long-for­mat, rather en­chant­ing ad film for #Sam­sungSer­vice (2016) that show­cased just how far its staff would go to help con­sumers. The home ap­pli­ance maker had launched the cam­paign as part of its ini­tia­tive to take cus­tomer ser­vice to the con­sumer’s doorstep - in both ur­ban and ru­ral In­dia. Once again, Sam­sung has dared to take an un­con­ven­tional step and tug at the emo­tional heart­strings of view­ers in its lat­est ad - Sam­sung Bixby ‘#VoiceFor­ever’.

Con­cep­tu­alised by Cheil WW In­dia and pro­duced by Crazy Few Films, the ad has been di­rected by Anu­pam Mishra. The cam­paign is in­spired by a real-life story show­cas­ing the use of tech­nol­ogy in help­ing a daugh­ter pre­serve her mother’s voice as she suf­fers from Mo­tor Neu­ron Dis­ease (MND) which slowly takes away a per­son’s abil­ity to speak and move.

Sam­sung and Asha Ek Hope foun­da­tion, an NGO sup­port­ing peo­ple with MND, are de­vel­op­ing the first per­son­alised AI Voice As­sis­tant for the lit­tle girl so that her mother’s voice can live on for­ever.

While dis­cussing the cam­paign, Josh Seokjin, se­nior art di­rec­tor and Al­berto Ro­driguez, se­nior copy­writer from Cheil HQ Global Creative Di­vi­sion, say, “In­spired by our first pa­tient, the Cheil team set out to present a sim­ple yet mov­ing story show­cas­ing the end­less pos­si­bil­i­ties that a per­son­alised AI like Bixby can bring to a fam­ily cop­ing with this un­for­tu­nate con­di­tion. We are de­lighted to see the heart-warm­ing re­sponse that the film is get­ting and we are look­ing for­ward to per­fect­ing the tech­nol­ogy and in­spir­ing many oth­ers.”

It is not the first time that a brand has fo­cussed on voice­based in­ter­ac­tive AI tech­nol­ogy and cre­ated a con­ver­sa­tional bot - a soft­ware de­signed to sim­u­late con­ver­sa­tion with hu­man users for the same. Re­cently, Re­liance’s Jio used AI to cre­ate chat­bots for the pro­mo­tion of ‘102 Not Out’, a film fea­tur­ing Amitabh Bachchan and Rishi Kapoor. Bachchan’s bot was later fol­lowed by Baba Ramdev for day-to-day yoga tips. While JioIn­ter­act is a patented AI-based brand en­gage­ment plat­form and the Video Call Bot mim­ics a hu­man by cre­at­ing vo­calised re­sponses, Sam­sung’s Bixby is a per­son­alised AI voice as­sis­tant, like Siri or Cor­tana, with a dif­fer­ence, it seems.

Chat­bots are be­com­ing ap­pli­ca­ble to var­i­ous in­dus­tries and are ac­ces­si­ble to mil­lions of users across the globe, open­ing doors to end­less op­por­tu­ni­ties. In re­cent years, AI-pow­ered bots are be­ing in­te­grated into nu­mer­ous in­dus­tries such as pay­ments, bank­ing, cus­tomer ser­vice, and even per­sonal amuse­ment.

With the Sam­sung Bixby ‘#VoiceFor­ever’ cam­paign, the

Con­cep­tu­alised by Cheil WW In­dia, the ad has been Crazy Few Films.

“It is a chal­lenge to in­te­grate an AI-based fea­ture into an emo­tional story - and in this case, that has been fairly well met.”


prod­uct forms an in­trin­sic part of the story. While high-tech as­pects of smart­phone fea­tures, like this one, are usu­ally high­lighted, Sam­sung has cho­sen to ‘zag’ by tak­ing an emo­tional ap­proach. It is not an easy-tounder­stand fea­ture for the unini­ti­ated, but the ad has done a great good job of ‘ex­plain­ing’ it within the con­text of a true story. Also, the ex­e­cu­tion of the ‘#VoiceFor­ever’ cam­paign is in keep­ing with the tone that has been set in ads like that of the Sam­sung Ser­vice Van. Of course, that was more for the masses - both in prod­uct and ap­peal. Here, the ap­peal is a lit­tle more niche, but it feels au­then­tic and quite hu­man, none­the­less.


Ac­cord­ing to Bod­hisatwa Das­gupta, se­nior creative di­rec­tor, Happy mc­gar­ry­bowen, the busi­ness of death and ter­mi­nal ill­ness is un­set­tling. Even more un­set­tling is hear­ing some­one who’s passed on, talk to you through ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence.

“I lost my dad when I was quite young and hon­estly, I’m not sure how I’d re­act if I asked Alexa what the weather would be like to­day and his crisp ci­garette-stained voice filled the room say­ing - ‘Cloudy with a chance of dark fore­bod­ing’,” he says. Das­gupta adds, “But at other times, it’d be great if I could hear his voice again. So I’m not re­ally sure what my stand is on this, hon­estly. Are we do­ing all this to de­tach our­selves from the harsh re­al­ity of peo­ple leav­ing? Is that healthy?”

As far as prod­uct in­te­gra­tion goes, Das­gupta finds the ad to be tight and in­nocu­ous enough. “I’m sure peo­ple will re­mem­ber it was a Sam­sung com­mer­cial. But will it sell more phones? With the iPhone launch­ing fresh mod­els, that will have peo­ple like me queu­ing up out­side the Ap­ple store like zom­bies, it’s any­body’s guess,” he points out.

Sumanto Chattopadhyay, chair­man and chief creative of­fi­cer, Soho Square - The Ogilvy Group, In­dia, is of the opin­ion that just like with movies, ad­ver­tis­ing also uses emo­tion, and in this case ‘tears’, as one of the tools to en­gage an au­di­ence. He says, “We al­ways want to bring au­then­tic­ity to our sto­ry­telling. Yet, at times, mass au­di­ences like things to be a bit over­the-top; so, one has to tread a thin line. I think this ad is quite res­trained in the way it has han­dled the topic.”

Chattopadhyay adds, “I think the true story, on which this ad is based, brings to life the Bixby Voice As­sis­tant in an in­ter­est­ing way. I am not sure how ‘mass’ this prod­uct fea­ture is - it may not be avail­able in the more ba­sic Sam­sung phones, but the ad works for some­one like me.” ■

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