Embrace the blur_Wolff Olins_Creative Review

Why we need to embrace the blur

Unpredictable times can create a desire for control and order, but this results in blandness when it comes to design and advertising, says Wolff Olins’ Wayne Deakin. Instead we need to engage with the chaos

An orange, walkie-talkie-style gadget called the R1 caused a bit of a stir at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas (CES) recently, and it is a timely reminder for brand owners and agencies weighing the opportunities and challenges that will shape 2024. Built by technology start-up Rabbit, the R1 is the latest entrant in the race to build the iPhone of artificial intelligence – a next generation piece of hardware that will enable its users to access and deploy AI agents to carry out a range of different tasks.

It is primarily a voice-activated universal controller for apps powered by a Large Action Model, in theory making it versatile and adaptable as it does not depend on a special interface. It also has a training mode, meaning users can teach it to perform special actions. An exciting prospect; let’s hope it lives up to expectations as it rolls out to market.

At first glance, the R1 offers brand owners a snapshot of a world beyond smartphones and a tantalising prompt for all the possibilities AI-powered brand interactions and experiences will enable. Stop and think about its boxy rabbit icon, bright orange casing, and norm-busting promise – it’s category-defining branding and design. In fact, the R1’s stand-out look and ground-breaking proposition sum up what’s lacking in much brand design today.