Losing a pet is difficult. For many people, including me, it's like losing a family member. Grief makes people do funny things. I get it. So I somehow understand what this crazy, almost 9-minute video byis trying to do. Still, it's just one of the most bizarre, saddest, and sincere attempts at marketing I've ever seen.
Based on a true story, this video appears to be trying to show you how Nomi –(who looks like a bullet on your dashboard with little cat ears) listens and adjusts Your habits to make your life more enjoyable. Instead, it plunges to the bottom of the eerie valley by giving condolences to these poor, surviving cat parents after their beloved cat with special needs has passed away.
I am particularly sensitive and may have a small hair trigger (there is a reason why I blocked The Dodo on every social media platform), so I showed this ad to several friends and colleagues.
"I actually made [significant other] look at it. She said that if her car ordered her a condolence gift she would make me take it back and shoot her," a colleague told me. "If Siri pulled on it [expletive] I would throw my cell phone into the fire and live off the power grid," another told me. "Didn't anyone understand how sad and creepy this whole scenario was before they spent (probably a lot) of money on it?" a relative answered. Even my wife interfered: "It feels a lot worse than if they had Tupac hologram in Coachella. If I were this cat, I would pursue these people and not in a nice way."
There are a few things that are left unclear in the video. First, how did the AI cat know that the real cat had died? Was it because the man shook his phone angrily? Did the AI cat use the surviving cat parents' credit card to buy them this terrible condolence gift? How did it come about or did it act independently? After all, how would Nio expect the US market to respond to this? (Spoiler: probably not good.)
Nios representatives did not immediately respond to my request for comment.
Of course, it is quite possible that something significant will be lost in translation or that the transition from one culture to another is not really appropriate. Maybe it's really super cute and heartwarming in China. But for me, if this is the future of in-car technology, I will live in a cave.