Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Mr. Roboto

Let's go back to the future, shall we? It's 1989. A company called SynPet introduces Newton, a robot who was supposed to revolutionize the way our home lives were run. Looking like a cylinder-shaped panda bear with the voice of Stephen Hawkins, Newton was a security system, babysitter, and professor all rolled into one. He retailed for the bargain basement price of $7,000.

But as with any new product, good marketing is essential. The acting (and hairstyles) in this video promo is really something, making those after school specials of the 70s and 80s look like Masterpiece Theater productions. But wait! A beacon of hope...is that Mary Steenbergen towards the end exclaiming "You're alright, Newton!"??? Nah, more likely a SynPet employee...or one of their helpless relatives who jumped at the chance to be featured in a promotional corporate video.

No wonder it never took off. That, and the fact that owners of Newton kissed their $7,000 goodbye once they remembered that their house had stairs.

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