Pepper the robot's first marketing campaign paves way for android invasion

Humanity is still unprepared for the arrival of robots (and the ensuing loss of jobs), but a new campaign from SoftBank Robotics wants to change this.

Pepper the robot: launching in the US and Europe later this year
Pepper the robot: launching in the US and Europe later this year

Pepper, SoftBank’s cutesy, humanoid robot, is getting its own online campaign ahead of a US and European launch, with the robotics firm hiring marketing agency Midnight Oil.

Pepper is already in place in hundreds of SoftBank stores in Japan where, famously, it was attacked by a drunk man last year.

The robot, powered by IBM’s Watson artificial intelligence, can respond to certain human emotions. It has been embraced by Japanese households, and is also used by Nescafe in Japan to sell coffee.

Midnight Oil, based in California, is tasked with the tough job of making Pepper appealing to US consumers, with the agency taking on market research, brand strategy and positioning, user acquisition and creative executions.

SoftBank has launched the first element of the campaign, a series of – admittedly corny – online films targeted at developers to demonstrate Pepper’s potential applications.