Flight Theme Adds Relatability to 'Human Network Effect'
You've probably seen ads for Cisco's "The Human Network" campaign, which tries making the possibilities of Web 2.0 seem accessible to ordinary business people. (What, there are still execs out there that don't video-conference?)
Phase two of the effort uses the banality of airline travel to demonstrate how the so-called "human network" makes it unnecessary to leap time zones for work. In "The Save More Travel Less Effect," an array of business people perform the airline safety procedure you hear every time you get on a plane. They do a nice job of seeming alternately bored, frustrated or severe.
In this spot, a deserted baggage belt rotates slowly as the frustrations of travel flash across the screen: jetlag, wake-up calls, expense reports, lost luggage, etc. As the words go by faster, the music picks up: this is a life you can leave behind!, the ad seems to shout. Three cheers for the human network!
I think this campaign sought to create a Minority Report feel (except cheerier) -- where things we think are innovative today become part of daily life in some none-too-distant flash-forward. But there's something imperfect about it.
Maybe it's this idea that the "human network" will make us happier people because far-flung friends and colleagues will always be a head-turn or a click away. What's so great about that? We're not even entirely there yet and we've already begun feeling a kind of jetlag we can never shake off.
I work from home. All my co-workers -- and most of my friends -- are available online, and the 'net has made it virtually unnecessary for me to leave the chair I'm sitting in. Is it better than office life and constant travel? In some ways, sure. But it's also lonely, mentally taxing and insanely high-pressure. (If you're "always on," as Cisco likes to say, it's harder to evade demands other people put on you.)
It's not a life I'd wish on most people.