Netflix has an exhibition presence at CES, an elaborate stunt showcasing their new tech-inspired futuristic show Altered Carbon. There were two lab-grown bodies inside glass pods on the outside of the booth asleep and held in icy stasis. The space is branded Psychasec, a Silicon Valley “company” that downloads human minds into new bodies. As you might expect the display attracted crowds of people all trying to figure out what this is all about not thinking that’s it’s actually a marketing stunt directed squarely at the tech crowd, the audience most likely to watch this show.
As part of the experience, visitors were ushered to the back of the showroom where they turned a corner and entered into a darkened space with black walls where a less glamorous looking “sleeve” (a body) lay in the fetal position inside a body bag that attendees could touch and take photos with. There, they could watch the trailer for “Altered Carbon,” and start to put the pieces together (if they hadn’t already) that this was no real technology after all.
To keep the storyline going, Netflix staged fake protests against Psychasec outside the convention center with hired improv actors. They handed out pamphlets, stickers and other materials on boycotting the “controversial” technology, driving the conversation to social media with hashtag #psychasec. To take it yet another step further, Netflix defaced its own booth as the protests carried on into the booth with anti-Psychasec posters plastered all over the walls, leaving CES attendees to question their reality for just a little while longer. Agency: Kamp Grizzly, Portland, OR.
The show is based on a novel by Richard K. Morgan, the show envisions a dystopian future (set 300 years from bow) where anyone can digitally transfer their mind into a new body. As a result, people can live forever, exchanging old bodies for new ones, even switching genders.