Do androids dream of electric SUVs?

—It’s marketing’s year of the robot, says Craig Redmond, and Skoda’s new bots just want to be loved (and build SUVs)—

“Robots need love too.” Prophetic lyrics from our treasured West Coast troubadour Dan Mangan, who was obviously way ahead of his time when he penned that poetry 10 years ago.

I don’t know what you’ve been told, but it seems to me like this has been marketing’s year of the robot.

First, we were introduced to Bubble, the adorable little WALL-E inspired bucket-of-bolts charged with charming wallets away from British bums in exchange for membership to his O2 mobile network (see it below).

Then IKEA enlisted its own endearingly fretful droid to help save the planet from environmental catastrophe. Only to remind us that we can all do our part by simply buying its mesh grocery bags (also below).

And now come Purr and Grrr, who dial up the robotic lovability factor to a whole new level. The baby bots, deposited at their human parents’ door, struggle to fit into their adopted, bot-bigoted world until finally finding their true calling—to build the new Skoda EV that purrs electric and “grrs” attitude.

I’m not sure what to make of all of this.

Is it an effort to make the machine thinking reality hurtling towards humanity seem a little less terrifying? 

Or perhaps it’s marketers trying to prove their brands are at the vanguard of technological dreamscaping. 

Or, God forbid, maybe it’s that all those predictions of AI-generated creative are finally coming true and the little Terminator bastards are casting themselves in their own ads.

Whatever it is, be forewarned: these robots just want to be loved by you.

Craig Redmond is a creative leader with Palmer Stamnes and Co, an independent family of marketing communication companies.