Black Mirror and the tech next door

One of the most talked about shows right now is Black Mirror, not only for the straightforward relationship it poses of how we relate to technology but also for the world of innovation.

The show focuses on using existing technologies of our time and extrapolates them to a near future where the technology itself is more advanced – but not so advanced that we can’t relate to it, as it can be seen here and here – and widespread enough so it becomes part of our lives. Each episode depicts a not too distant reality often dark with a familiar flavour to the viewers. In addition, Black Mirror is also great in telling stories of the impact of innovation, which is conveyed through technology.

Much has been written about innovation, different sorts of innovation, how to promote it, the impacts of it, the nature of it and many other ways to think about it. Nonetheless, one inherent aspect of innovation it is its ability to generate some degree of change, whether it is incremental, modular or radical. In the show, we can observe the impact of those innovative technologies in character’s everyday life, which is brilliantly shown in every episode.

A great way to look at this is to observe how each bit of technology in the show alters people’s behaviour. AdWeek recently explored the changes in our behaviour whilst technology was transforming, from people gathering around the Radio to the TV and finally to the multiple ways we consume content nowadays. Who would think 15 years ago that people would be watching TV with multiple screens opened at the same time?

Technology has shaped the way people interact with brands, from the exclusive usage of traditional media to an unrestricted multiplicity of disciplines. These changes generated a new landscape for brands to act in and, more importantly, a sweet spot for innovation. Many things observed in Black Mirror are a reflection of our own reality, and upon a closer look, we can see many modern trends present such as augmented reality, big data, hyper-personalisation, automation, data-driven products and services, just to name a few. Let’s do an exercise here, choosing one of the show’s episode to unveil the trend behind the technology and see how the same trend is generating innovation in the real world:

Taking a closer look at Gatorade’s new product, it is possible to observe how powerful this innovation is, enabling consumers to have an incredible degree of personalisation never before seen in this industry. However, there’s much more to it than just personalisation, it is also possible to spot the influence of many other trends mentioned. Gatorade’s innovation is a game changer in how sports practitioners will hydrate themselves, and more importantly, a possibility to generate a totally new business model for the company.

 

From all this, a provocative scenario is presented and the question is inevitable: What is your brand going to do about it? The answer does not let these opportunities slip by. There is an immense space for innovation, as the way we relate to technology, media, content, products, services and therefore brands are changing dramatically. This will ultimately make us rethink throughout the consumer-brand funnel relationship in order to deliver outstanding experiences to consumers, from products to services.

Black Mirror does a great job in detecting and depicting the changes of our time, but the most interesting thing brands can capture from the show is the sense that the change is right next door. No matter what industry you’re in, the change in the technological landscape for brands gives a crucial opportunity not only to innovate their products but to shake up the ways in which people consume them.

 


 

Sources:

Accenture Report: 87% of Consumers Use Second Screen Device While Watching TV – AdWeek, 2015 –  http://www.adweek.com/lostremote/accenture-report-87-of-consumers-use-second-screen-device-while-watching-tv/51698

Black Mirror, 2011 – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Mirror

Xavi Cortadellas, Global Innovation & Design Sr Dir, Gatorade + Tucker Fort, Partner & Expertise Lead, Smart Design – PSFK, 2016 – https://vimeo.com/168214527

Mad Men Is About People Working in an Office. Black Mirror Is About Advertising – AdWeek, 2015 – http://www.adweek.com/news/television/mad-men-about-people-working-office-black-mirror-about-advertising-164752

Managing Change, Creativity and Innovation – Patrick Dawson and Constantine Andriopoulos, 2014.

Days Of Future Past: 6 Times ‘Black Mirror’ Predicted The Future We Live In – Movie Pilot, 2016 –  http://moviepilot.com/p/how-black-mirror-predicted-our-future/4128904

White Christmas – Black Mirror, 2014 – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Christmas_(Black_Mirror)#Part_II

Why we should all be afraid of Black Mirror – BBC, 2016 – http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcthree/item/5c0ce0ab-c88f-45be-b44d-59841e5f9e64

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