In just about every speaking gig I do, I work in the importance of strategy, and encourage both sellers and buyers to ask a big, simple question: Why?
I don’t have a solid answer to why for this loopy thing: a four-screen robotic ad machine that in theory would slowly roll along the concourses of shopping malls, airports and convention centers.
It is from a company in Dubai, of course, where some moneyed and bored emirati would have thought this was the coolest idea ever, and thrown money at it.
Says the company website in this buzzword bingo marketing statement:
RoboAds provide robots as a service (RaaS) that can be deployed in any exhibition, mall or event. We utilize the latest trends in AI, machine learning, analytics and online merge offline data (OMO), to provide our clients with an exceptional cloud computing platform. Our robots are designed for advertising and marketing purposes, promising a memorable experience when promoting products and services.
They forgot bitcoin and blockchain.
This is, I suppose, the no-staff-to-pay but waaaaaaaaay higher upkeep version of that company that hires people to walk around trade shows and busy high streets (when all that still happened) with battery-powered screens that loomed over their heads.
Ask yourself this simple question: Will consumers who see this be taking the screens in and recalling the placed ads on the screen, or looking down at the rolling treads and either saying “Wow!” or some version of “What The F*ck?”
It would, I will admit, attract initial attention, and as robots go at trade shows, makes more sense than the robot doing pole dancing at an ISE booth back in February.
I could be wrong. RoboAds could be the next big thing. But …
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for some 14 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He’s based near Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Canada’s east coast.