Location: New York Festivals 2015
Photographer: GoSee EVENT
Yuya Furukawa is the Chief Creative Officer of the largest independent advertising agency of the world, Dentsu. And with his humble, most academic manner, he is a real relief in this hectic world of advertising together with his definition of an advertising agency: “A company that can solve any problem in the world by any means possible.” What does that lead to? Meet the robots on GoSee!
Let’s start at the beginning – Yuya flew to the Cannes Lions for four seminars. In his carry-on baggage: Matsuko. The Japanese would know what we are talking about, maybe even laugh out loud. Matsuko is an enormously overweight Japanese cross-dressing TV celebrity, who is famous for her humour – and obesity. No problem, the traveling Matsuko is her Android alter ego, a robot created by Dentsu, which has received its own TV show this season as a Matsuko lookalike. Properly disassembled into parts by the Japanese delegation, it was smuggled through French customs, to appear later reassembled on stage in Cannes as the star of the show and for the delegates to enjoy.
Happiness is the key word for the second seminar – also completely robotic. It's where you meet PEPPER, the robot that doesn’t merely respect your feelings. Yuya verbatim to GoSee: "The 21st century is one of sorrow. Loneliness is a problem worldwide. We created Pepper to help ease sorrow with technology. Up until now, robots have been used to perform dangerous tasks or act as extensions of computers, merely replacements for human labor."
Not Pepper – he-she-it was developed to change your – as we all know – miserable and envious, constant bad mood into something positive over time. Yuya explains: "We aimed to create a "communication partner"... to make Pepper a communication partner, we needed not only hardware and software development, but to combine advanced communication technology with a human-like personality. We set out to make the world's first robot that can understand emotions and grow autonomously. We developed an emotion recognition engine that identifies user emotions and learns. Connecting Peppers around the world through cloud AI, we collect huge volumes of data.
Humans forget conversations from one hour ago, but Pepper can recall data from several years ago. This data is used for accelerated learning and increased communication accuracy. Communication was developed using the skills of the creative team. Pepper is unbound by human manners, and its frank communication combined with data helps bridge the gap with humans. We opened up the development platform to the public, making it possible for anyone to get involved."
Welcome to the brave new world. If think this is a dream of the future, it is actually one that has been a reality for quite some time, maybe just not where you are. Its first day on the market, PEPPER was immediately sold out – 300 people immediately had a new best friend. Did they all come from the advertising business? Or from show bizz? People, who don’t have a know-it-all partner at home? I suppose.
The happy little robot has not only embarked on a career for use at home. "People need partners who know them well. Pepper puts its great communication skills to work at Softbank stores in Japan. Customer visits increased by 250%. Pepper got job offers from over 100 companies. Some were for sales staff of coffee machine, educator and voice actor. With ever-increasing popularity, Pepper is now a regular on three TV shows. Pepper's skills are being utilized in various areas. Technology makes sense when it makes people happy. Pepper is the first robot to teach us that."
Have we become more careful during this discussion? Have we started to secretly analyze Yuya’s every movement? Were his eye movements perhaps a slight bit delayed? Did they occur at regular intervals? How quickly did he answer? Did we feel better after speaking with him, and was it a mind-blowing experience? Definitely yes! And the same goes for the last question. Did it make us think? Do Robots know whether they are robots? Everyone who wants to find out for themselves should definitely visit the two DENTSU seminars in Cannes, which are held by advertising star Yuya Furukawa.
You can find out how DENTSU did at NEW YORK FESTIVALS here. And here is a schedule of DENTSU seminars during the advertising festival CANNES LIONS in June, 2015:
CREATIVITY IN THE AGE OF DATA
Monday 22 June 2:00 pm - 2:45 pm – Kaoru Sugano and Daito Manabe are involved.
COMMUNICATION ROBOTS AS A CREATIVE PLATFORM
Thursday 25 June 5:05 pm - 5:50 pm – Inspiration Stage
MATSUKO-ROID DISRUPTS TV AND AD AGENCIES
Saturday 27 June 2:00 pm – 2:30 pm – Debussy
Yuya Furukawa, Chief Creative Officer, Dentsu Inc. Japan, started out years ago at Dentsu as a TV writer, when advertising life was much simpler.Today, he mainly oversees the Communication Design Center, a department that cannot be defined in terms of familiar advertising fields. Under his leadership, his teams work on projects ranging from product development, branded content creation, pure content creation, including TV programs and movies, content export, space planning and design, digital platform development, business strategy and consulting, and PR to traditional advertising. Yuya himself is also involved in government projects such as the Olympic Games and the National Stadium.
The vast range of work produced by diverse talent in Dentsu helped make the agency achieve Agency of Year at Clio, Digital Agency of the Year at D&AD, Design Firm of the Year at ADC of New York, among others.
Personal international accolades for Yuya include metals of all colours at Cannes, D&AD, One Show and Spikes, among others, as well as Grand Prix at Adfest. In 2005, he won the Creative Person of the Year award of the Japan Advertising Agencies Association. He is also a familiar face as a judge at international awards, including Cannes, D&AD, Clio, Spikes and Adfest, and as a speaker at various conferences. Besides his work as Chief Creative Officer at Dentsu, Yuya is also known for writing scenarios for TV and radio programs, lyrics for pop songs, and a column for a major national newspaper. He also lectures at Nihon University College of Art.