As the private domain becomes increasingly connected, marketers have a new canvas to work with: the home. What strategies will resonate with consumers? The new Home experience from ad tech company Unruly is designed to give marketers insight into today’s future-facing technologies.

A 2,000-square foot apartment complete with a living room, kitchen, bedroom, bathroom and children’s room has been built in Unruly’s London HQ, in partnership with brands including HTC, Amazon Launchpad, eBay and News Corp. Each room is packed with connected devices, all of which present different opportunities for brands. The living room houses Click & Grow’s self- watering garden and HTC Vive’s VR headset, while the kitchen features iKettle’s self- starting kettle and Samsung’s smart fridge.

“’Home’ is for marketers who care passionately about the consumer experience,” Simon Gosling, Unruly futurist and curator of the experience, tells JWT Intelligence. “It is designed to give marketers a synapse-tingling shot of the future, inspiring them to consider how they could use a new generation of tech to emotionally move people in a connected home.”

WEB Tech in the future home

In the living room, an augmented reality experience created by Octagon Studio brings the Sun newspaper to life. Artist David Hockney designed a masthead that, when viewed through the iPad camera, triggers animated holographic content. Film columnist Jamie East also comes to life in interactive holographic form, appearing in full 360-degree 3D and inviting the reader to click on thumbnails to view trailers for the films he reviewed that day. This interactive experience could easily translate into a brand ambassador inviting consumers to watch TV ads or exclusive content, presenting an interesting platform for in-home advertising.

WEB Unruly Home The Sun AR

According to Unruly’s Future Home Study, 84% of UK consumers are open to brands engaging with them in the connected home. Gosling commented that this would likely be through non-interruptive methods, such as a scanning system on a smart fridge. Items could be scanned in and out, prompting the system to re-add products to an online shopping basket.

WEB Unruly Home Samsung Smart Fridge 1
Samsung smart fridge.

Despite this apparent willingness to engage, brands must think carefully about how they come across. Burger King recently managed to irritate a host of Android and Google Home users by using an advert to activate the devices. Users also kicked up a fuss when Google Assistant reported that “Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast opens today” after it delivered the time, weather and travel update.

“People are really looking for trusted voices, and for brands that they can feel at home with,” explained panelist Anne Ashworth, property journalist at the Times, at the Home experience launch event. “What is housing? It’s your shelter, so anything that intrudes upon you in that space needs to do so in the most sensitive manner.”

The home is a new marketing frontier that demands a different level of engagement. For most, the home is a sanctuary. Brands must therefore create a trusted presence to not only be invited in, but be allowed to stay.

For more on the smart home, download The Innovation Group’s new trend report on voice technology, Speak Easy.

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