What would you tell your future self?

If you were to meet your future self (say, from 2034) what would you tell her/him? Yes, I’m aware that almost every single movie on time travel tells you to stay away from your future or past self to avoid a ‘paradox’.

But, this ‘talking to your future self’ has been the creative device for quite a few ads over the years.

One of the earliest brands to use this theme was Lincoln Financial, in 2008, to explain the importance of seeking financial advice, and planning accordingly. The idea was remarkably simple – get people to talk to their future self to see the result of your decisions taken today! The agency was the Atlanta-based 22Squared.

Here are a couple of those ads.

These ads were so popular that they were parodied mercilessly on Saturday Night Live!

In 2014, Orange, the telecom brand, to celebrate their 20th anniversary, got the agency Publicis Conseil and digital agency Jam3 to create an interactive campaign that let anyone see and talk to their future (digital) self. Jam3 used motion capture, 3D rendering, aging simulation, Google’s speech API, and WebGL to simulate a version of your future self to chat via webcam! The site doesn’t exist anymore, but here’s the demo!

Then, in 2016, the agency Droga5 used the same idea for their client Nature’s Bounty, a vitamin and supplement brand.

The creative device was the same as Lincoln Financial – your future self will thank you for your decisions today!

In 2018, the agency BMB (United Kingdom) used the idea in the form of ‘Letter to your future self’. These ads did not literally show a future self talking to a present self but used it in a figurative way through the future self’s voice talking to the present-day self.

There seems to be a sudden spurt in this theme in 2021! Two agencies (both in the UK!) have used the same creative device for 2 financial services brands, much like Lincoln Financial!

The first is by McCann (United Kingdom), from February 2021, for their client Hargreaves Lansdown. The theme? “Invest today and you’ll thank yourself later”!

Then, in March 2021, the agency The&Partnership (United Kingdom) used the very same concept all over again for their client NatWest, again for financial services! The only difference here is that while all the other ads used just one future self, NatWest’s ad showcases multiple future selves and even a past self! But the basic idea is the same!

So, have you decided what you will tell your future self? 🙂

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