In 2019, Ads24 invited top media industry leaders and thinkers to attend the 3rd annual Food for Thought event in Johannesburg and Durban, South Africa.
The point behind Food for Thought is to get people thinking and debating so that the decision makers in positions of leadership can come up with new concepts and solutions to the challenges they face.
Our invitation and RSVP process combined the human touch with the power of AI. We incorporated digital save-the-dates and reminders with a physical invitation, and data from RSVP algorithms were used to determine each invitee’s personal interests.
The event was designed from start to finish to engage every sense and challenge thinking. Every aspect was designed to juxtapose the human touch with robotic interpretations.
The starting point was a taste bud hack. Each person was invited to take a pill made from the ‘miracle berry’, synsepalum dulcificum. A glass of freshly squeezed lemon juice was then offered. The pill has the ability to mask taste and instead of eye-watering, tart lemon, each person experienced a sweet orange juice flavour.
This served as a metaphor on how we consume news and how easy we are fooled to digest fake news – the very opposite of what Media24 prides itself on – the facts, the news and the search for truth.
Each food experience contrasted artisanal, handmade delights with a robotic version of the same. So, fresh flapjacks topped with creamy mascarpone cheese and rich berry jam were paired with 3D-printed mascarpone cheese on spirulina-infused flapjacks with pipettes of berry compote. The delicious aroma of fresh-pressed coffee was served side-by-side with coffee cubes.
Each table setting was designed to represent robots or humans and each attendee was assigned one or the other version of the main meal. Although the outcome of the meal was the same, each component was created by hand or by machine. This created an exciting atmosphere of curiosity and experimentation, culminating in drone-delivered desserts.
The event solidified Ads24 as a thought leader among influential media partners and as a competitive media owner in a dynamic and constantly evolving industry.