Humans - Joi Polloi

Blurring the lines between sci-fi and reality in this BAFTA Award winning website for the global hit show.

Channel 4’s sci-fi drama Humans is set in an alternative version of the present, where robotics and artificial intelligence have become so advanced that synthetic humans (or “synths”) carry out all humankind’s menial tasks, from household chores to farming.

As part of the show’s launch, we worked with the 4Creative team to develop a website which sat between the fictional universe and the real world. The campaign set up the premise that it was now possible to go to a Persona Synthetics (the robot-manufacturers in the story) store and buy an actual human-like robot for your home. TV ads, an eBay store and a fake storefront on Regent Street helped convince the public. The website had to act as the big reveal that it was in fact promoting the TV show with a trailer and link through to the main Channel 4 website.

We took our knowledge and experience from creating real-world corporate sites, then skewed it and sprinkled it with dramatic cues to create a believable and captivating site for this fictional company. For Series 2, we added an Uber-style van tracker for return collections of faulty synths and a chatbot (that actually linked out to Facebook Messenger) to talk with Persona Synthetic employees.

Nearly a million people visited the website in the course of a week, thousands tweeted about the campaign, and the opening episode of the programme went on to have the largest audience for an original Channel 4 drama in nearly 25 years. Humans Season 1 also won a BAFTA for Digital Creativity.

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